Here are what I hope are a fairly complete laundry list of the issues:
NATO member Greece has collapsed, triggering regional banking meltdown concerns
Banks of Cyprus collapsed, Russian offshore banking haven taken out by Greek troubles
Russian ally Assad’s Syria is failing, loss of Tartus would exclude them from the Med
Assad regime is the only Iran friendly outpost in the area
Syrian revolt is funded in part by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, other Sunni majority regimes
KSA & Qatar funds come /w Salafist radicalization built into the deal
NATO members Greece & Turkey are at odds over Cyprus partition
Syrian instability is spilling into Iraq, fueling Sunni/Shia violence, some refugees
Syrian instability is spilling into U.S. ally Jordan, many refugees
Syrian instability is spilling into NATO member Turkey, many refugees
Israel is concerned over weapons transport to Hezbollah in Lebanon
The Syrian civil war has been metastasizing into all of its immediate neighbors – Iraq, Turkey, and Lebanon have all seen violence precipitated by this festering conflict. Regional powers Iran and Russia have connections to the failing Assad regime and have taken indirect steps to protect the status quo. Regional Salafist funders Saudi Arabia and Qatar are funneling support and pushing ideology on Sunni Syrian rebels. I do not envy Israeli policy makers and the menu of unpleasant options that reality has provided them.
Russia has drawn a red line of their own – no NATO intervention in Syria. They’ve backed it up with a naval presence and the transfer of advance anti-aircraft systems to the Assad regime. The Syrian civil war is a multifaceted, multipolar regional issue and there are no soundbite sized prescriptions that will end it.
Phi Beta Iota: From where we sit, NATO and the US should be very very concerned about its launching points, fuel dumps, and rear area headquarters. Then of course there are the satellite ground terminals, and the potential for advanced electromagnetic pulse measures to force aircraft to abort shortly after takeoff. The Russians have certainly studied the Libyan operation in depth. The Iranians are fully aware of the implications of any US incursion into Syria…and the Syrian regime has its back to the wall. Yes, the US and NATO can cause the collapse of Syria. They can break Syria the way they broke Iraq and Afghanistan. Do we really want another “win” like the first two? We also consider all CIA personnel serving abroad — virtually all of them known because of their dependency on official cover — to be severely at risk if a regional confrontation breaks out. Thinking long-term, we would end on a cautionary note — those policy makers who might wish to see their grand-children 10, 15, 20 years from today, and not be in jail, should be most mindful of the strong trend toward holding CIA officials and White House officials accountable under international law. We anticipate the day when the case will be made to the US public so compellingly, that selected US officials will be surrendered for international justice. The days of imperial impunity are over.
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