April 30, 2013
Exploiting the unsubstantiated rumor that Syria has used chemicals weapons, senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham went on the Sunday news shows to push for military intervention in Syria.
Graham predicted Syria would “become a failed state by the end of the year” without military intervention. He said not intervening would result in a war with Iran “because Iran’s going to take our inaction in Syria as meaning we’re not serious about their nuclear weapons program.”
The South Carolina senator said the “whole region is going to fall into chaos” if the United States does not commit to attacking the al-Assad regime and its professional and well-equipped army numbering more than 500,000 soldiers.
“My biggest fear beyond an Iranian nuclear weapons capability is the chemical weapons in Syria falling in the hands of extremists and Americans need to lead on this issue. We need to come up with a plan to secure these weapons sites, either in conjunction with our partners [or] if nothing else by ourselves,” Graham told Foreign Policy last month.
In order to be successful, he said, “you’ve got to get on the ground” in Syria.
John McCain said “boots on the ground” would not be necessary to depose al-Assad. “The American people are weary. They don’t want boots on the ground. I don’t want boots on the ground,” he told NBC’s Meet the Press. “The worst thing the United States could do right now is put boots on the ground in Syria” because it would be unpopular with the American public.
McCain said the U.S. should arm and support the Syrian rebels, who are largely Islamic extremists.
On April 27, the establishment press in the United States admitted that the main constituency of the rebellion consists of Salafist militants. “Nowhere in rebel-controlled Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of,” the New York Times reported on April 27.
Earlier this year, we reported that then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted that al-Qaeda and other Salafist groups on the State Department’s terror list are supported by the United States.
In February, 2012, we cited an Arab League report stating that the armed opposition in Syria is trained and supported by MI6, the CIA, and British SAS and is comprised largely of militants from the Muslim Brotherhood, an asset of British intelligence.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, Britain’s most senior military officer, General Sir David Richards, warned prime minister David Cameron that an intervention in Syria would result in all-out war in the region. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, has warned that an intervention in Syria would be “unlikely to produce predictable outcomes.”
Recent developments reveal that the United States and its allies are ramping up a military response to the tenacity of the al-Assad regime and its resistance to the U.S. and British armed and trained opposition.
Earlier this month, the Obama administration signaled it may be ready to impose a no-fly zone over the county despite the fact this would come at significant cost to American forces, according to James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence.
“Doing a no-fly zone, even a partial one, is not a trivial undertaking,” Clapper told lawmakers.
Both Republicans and Democrats favor a no-fly zone over Syria. In March, the Democrat chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin, said he supports establishing a no-fly zone and attacking Syria’s air defenses.
Other Democrats support direct military intervention. “I don’t think you want to ever rule it out because I think this is, kind of, as — as [Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia] said, this thing has really deteriorated, and it’s not really at a tipping point,” said Missouri Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill on Sunday. “So I don’t think you ever want to say absolutely not. Obviously, we don’t want to do that unless it’s absolutely necessary.”
“Once you set up a military no-fly zone or safe zone, you’re on a slippery slope, mission creep and before you know it, you have boots on the ground,” Bruce Riedel, a former CIA analyst and Middle East expert at the Brookings Institution, told Reuters last week.
“Or you end up like Libya where you don’t really have a control mechanism for the end-game, should you end up with chaos.”