Monday, November 28, 2011

Let It Ride?

Via Hot Air with a tip to Instapundit, there is a plan for a "no-fly zone" over Syria with Arab and possibly Turkish planes enforcing it, with American logistical support:

The sources told Kuwait's al Rai daily that the no fly ban will include a ban on the movement of Syrian military vehicles, including tanks, personnel carriers and artillery, adding that this move would aim at curbing the movement of Assad forces, and cripple their ability to bomb cities.

Jordan has been vocal against Assad lately, which I thought significant. And Jordan highlighted Syrian forces firing on a woman fleeing Syria for safety in Jordan. In case Jordan needs justification easily visualized.

You'd need Jordan and Turkey involved with this or you simply can't do it without our aircraft carriers. That's just geography. I can't imagine Jordan doing this alone. Even with some token support from the wider Arab world. This must be a Turkish mission with Arab presence for show mostly.

Turkey's role is all the more important if this is merely the step before sending Turkish troops into Syria to establish humanitarian safety zone enclaves. The Turkish military doesn't want to do this, the article states. But would they reject an order from the government? Are they just saying this to avoid telegraphing their intent? I don't know. Or do they just need the right document verifying Syrian human rights violations and a reason to implement "responsibility to protect?"

In Geneva, a United Nations commission of inquiry said Syrian military and security forces had committed crimes against humanity including murder, torture and rape, for which Assad and his government bore direct responsibility.

It demanded an end to "gross human rights violations" and the release of those rounded up in mass arrests since March by Syrian forces quashing pro-democracy demonstrations.

Over 3,500 people were killed in 8 months, the UN says.

Further, I have to protest that--like our "no-fly zone" over Libya--the proposal for Syria is not a no-fly zone. Even more so than in Libya, the Syrians aren't using their air force to bomb civilians. This is a proposal for a pure air campaign with a euphemism to conceal the fact under a more benign term. This is all the more reason to think that the Turks must be involved, because even in Libya, Arab air contributions were not involved in bombing missions.

Syria has more means to fight back than Libya had. I'm not sure what they can get in the air, but it will be more than Khaddafi managed. Ditto for air defense missiles. And Syria has chemical warheads for their ballistic missile arsenal. We were lucky to face such a weak enemy as Libya. And lucky that we ignored our mandate and pushed for regime change under the charade of "no-fly zones." But the allure of immaculate aerial interventions is strong. And really, what part of responsibility to protect is unclear?

Our "logistical" help better be just awesome, is all I'm saying.

UPDATE: Turkey isn't ruling out military options, according to the foreign minister:

Davutoglu said the possible scenarios included setting up a buffer zone to contain any mass influx of Syrian refugees.

"If tens, hundreds of thousands of people start advancing toward the Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey borders, not only Turkey but the international community may be required to take some steps such as buffer zone. We don't want that to happen but we must consider and work on that scenario," he said.

The Turkish army set up a security buffer zone inside northern Iraq during in 1991 and has maintained small detachments there ever since.

Russia opposes any UN authorization to anything, citing how UN humanitarian authorization was used for regime change in Libya.

Also, Turkey said it might reroute trade through Iraq to avoid Syria. That could make Iraq more comfortable with intervention, too, I'd think.