Ways the US may fall into Syria

2013-06-05 11:57
Senator John McCain, centre, accompanied by Moustafa, right, visits rebels in Syria. (Syrian Emergency Task Force, Mouaz Moustafa/ AP)

Senator John McCain, centre, accompanied by Moustafa, right, visits rebels in Syria. (Syrian Emergency Task Force, Mouaz Moustafa/ AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Chicago - If any conflict breaks out in the world you can be assured US Senator John McCain will be calling for the US to intervene. McCain has been calling for the USA to get directly involved in the conflict in Syria since the outbreak of fighting began in early 2011. Although he recently slipped up, in rather dramatic fashion, he may still get his wish for further US involvement.
 
McCain demonstrated the difficulties and nuances of the civil war with a secret trip to Syria last week, during which he went to visit the rebels, and enjoyed a few photographs with folks welcoming a senior US presence to the war effort. Yet he happened to be photographed with Mohamed Nour, one of the rebels, who the Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star refers to as "a known affiliate of the rebel group responsible for the kidnapping of 11 Lebanese Shiite pilgrims one year ago".

If foreign policy hawk John McCain, while in Syria, alongside what we can presume is a managed media effort, being guided by the leader of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army, can't tell when he is being pictured with a terrorist, then how realistic is the threat of rebel-bound weapons ending up in the wrong hands, should the US decide to arm the rebels?
 
McCain's anecdotal mistake isn't detracting from what seems to be the common wisdom as to what the international community's next action should be: Assisting the rebels, including with weaponry. Europe has already dropped its arms embargo on Syria – cheered on by US Secretary of State John Kerry – allowing it to legally move weaponry into the country. 
 
Barry Pavel, director of the Brent Scowcroft Centre on International Security at the Atlantic Council agrees this is also the USA's next likely move. He told News24 on Tuesday, "I think there is [a way to send weapons to the correct rebel forces]. If it's been two years, and the most capable intelligence agency in the world can't [identify which rebel groups should get weapons] then we have bigger problems to deal with. I think it's doable and I think that's the next step."
 
The potential for the US to become physically involved remains, however. The Syria-Turkey border is becoming a more and more active fighting zone. This is significant because it is where rebel forces regroup – as The Atlantic reports, "Over the past two years, the opposition has used Turkey to gather resources to aid its fight inside Syria. But the country no longer acts solely as a pipeline for money, aid, and weapons. It has become a home base for rebel soldiers to co-ordinate and heal before heading back to fight. It provides space for a complicated web of fractious groups that support various opposition forces in Syria."

Red line


The Syrian civil war is not limited to the borders of Syria. Pavel explained, "Things are spilling over much more intensively and much more broadly so you have lots of impact now on Lebanon, on Jordan, Israel, Iraq, Turkey.
 
"There is a very real chance that the fighting will spill over into Turkey due to Assad's pursuit of rebels, and involving Turkey will cause all sorts of complications due to its membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation [Nato]. The famed Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty – essentially declaring that an attack against one member is an attack against all. The treaty commits all members to the defence of the attacked member, "to restore and maintain the security".
 
"Turkey, several months ago," said Pavel, "asked for Nato assistance in accordance with the North Atlantic Treaty, which was what ultimately led Nato to deploy Patriot air defence units to help defend Turkey. I think those came from a few countries as I recall: Germany, the Netherlands, the US. You can certainly imagine more and perhaps different contingencies that might come up as a result of this. So it's certainly very plausible, unfortunately."
 
While Nato's Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has continually backed a political resolution to the Syrian conflict, he said to CNN on Friday, "As far as Nato is concerned we have one red line and that is the defence of our ally, Turkey."
 
And then there's the USA’s number one ally, Israel, which has already allegedly targeted specific Syrian sites with its air force. Hezbollah's dalliance with Assad forces means Israel is an interested party in the Syrian conflict. As Pavel explained, "One of the biggest trends we've seen in the last few weeks has been increasing  moves to protect Assad by Hezbollah, and by Iran, and to a degree by Russia, so when an avowed enemy of Israel says  'We're all in to defend Assad' you're going to see Israel get more active."

Preparing for all eventualities


Would an Israeli war with Syria force the USA to become involved? Pavel didn't buy it. "Israel is a very capable military power," he said, "I'm not convinced about that."  Although the Israeli military is indeed incredibly powerful, it is likely Obama would face huge pressure at home to help out the USA's closest ally.
 
Even though the USA's response to the Syrian conflict is to tread carefully, there are routes through which it may be forced in. And the US is at least preparing for all eventualities, which was exemplified in a Daily Beast report last week, which claimed the president was reviewing a Department of Defence plan for a no-fly zone.

Don't read too much into it though, says Pavel, "The Pentagon is constantly planning for various contingencies because they need to be ready if the president says 'tomorrow I'm deciding on this'. Just because they are developing plans doesn't mean automatically it's going to happen. It's pretty clear to me that the next move is going to be arming legitimate rebel groups. I would be very surprised if that didn't happen over the course of the [American] summer."
 
- News24
Read more on:    nato  |  john maccain  |  turkey  |  us  |  syria  |  syria conflict  |  uprisings
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
8 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Hilarious mortal kombat elevator prank!

How would you react if you had to share a lift with this guy?

 
 

Men24.com

This is how the Top Gear presenters spend their £55 million!
Thirty and still single? There’s hope!
SA’s Playboy Playmate of the year in action!
12 lies everyone accepts as fact

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

Good Morning, Mr Mandela by Zelda la Grange

Good Morning, Mr Mandela tells the extraordinary story of how a young woman had her life, beliefs, prejudices and everything she once believed in utterly transformed by the greatest man of her time. Now R221. Pre-order now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It may be hard to stay cool, calm and collected. Your emotions can get quite heated in the moment. You may benefit from finding a...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.