Syria: News Update And Commentary

Syria Tuesday Update
Following reports by Russia that a radar had detected a missile launch toward the eastern Mediterranean, Israel confirmed it performed a joint launch with the US for “target practice.”

In other developing Syrian-related news, The Wall Street Journal reports that three months after the US promised to arm rebel forces, no assistance has been provided.

Threat Of Regional War Justifies Action In Syria
Ian Buruma, Professor of Democracy, Human Rights, and Journalism at Bard  College, contends moral outrage is not a sufficient justification to go to war. But, he says, its potential to explode the region might be.

“Syria, as many people have pointed out, is not Libya or Mali. Nor  is it a great power. But its civil war has already spread beyond its borders, implicating greater powers like Iran, Turkey, and Russia in the process. One  thing worse than the moral obscenities of a civil war would be a regional  conflagration.

“It is by  no means certain that US intervention would do anything to reduce the risk of a  wider war. In fact, certain advocates of US intervention – both neo-cons and  “liberal hawks” – seem to desire the opposite outcome; they want a war against Iran. And there is probably a clear link in Obama’s mind between the red line in  Syria and the one he has drawn for Iran, perhaps equally unwisely, to prevent it  from developing nuclear weapons.”

Former EU Official: Iranian Election Opens Window Of Opportunity
Javier Solana, the former EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy, Secretary-General of  NATO, and Foreign Minister of Spain, writes that the election of Hassan Rouhani opens up a window of opportunity that the West should exploit to achieve progress in the Middle East.

“Thus, two important steps have been taken: one by the people of Iran, who have shown that  they understand the challenges they face, and the other by their new president, who has assembled the best team available to undertake an enormously difficult program,” Solana suggests.

Syria Exposes Limitations Of The Use Of Drones
Audrey Kurth Cronin addresses the question of whether the US could have “deployed its drone fleet to destroy Syrian arsenals” to kill those planning attacks. The answer, in short, is no.

“Armed drones have serious limitations, and the situation in Syria lays them bare. They are only useful where the United States has unfettered access to airspace, a well-defined target, and a clear objective. In Syria, the United States lacks all three,” Cronin says in an article in Foreign Affairs.



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