Last month I wrote about “The Incredible Push for Intervention in Syria,” especially from very influential neoconservative Washington-insider groups like the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Foreign Policy Initiative (successor to New American Century), Foundation for the Defence of Democracies, etc. All of these groups have a significant revolving door aspect to them in which their members have been in and out of high government positions for many years. They’re very influential.
I noted there as well that it was back in June that I had first written about the increasingly real potential for a U.S. intervention in Syria, and also that a notable recognition of that in the mainstream had shown up with Josh Rogin’s piece in Foreign Policy explaining that the Obama administration instructed the National Security Council to begin considering options for U.S. intervention in Syria, including what they called the “unlikely” option of setting up a no-fly zone. Although it can’t yet be substantiated, its possible that the Obama administration has already covertly aided the opposition in Syria, but anyways that was really the first notice in officialdom that an intervention in Syria was being considered.
The calls for intervention are getting even more explicit. Unsurprisingly, Senator Joe Lieberman has beaten nearly everybody to the punch on this. On Sunday he said the U.S. should start supporting the Syrian Free Army soon:
“So we should begin thinking about what we can do, particularly with the Arab League,” he said. “I think it begins with support for the Syrian Free Army.”
The hawkish senator said a “range of support” could be given to the rebels, from medical supplies to intelligence and reconnaissance surveillance.
“And then ultimately it is providing them with weapons,” he said during a panel discussion on the Middle East.
Even though Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Saturday that military action in Syria “has been absolutely ruled out,” the behind-the-scenes push for intervention needs to be watched very closely. As I’ve noted, the U.S. and its Arab allies in the Gulf States who have been pushing for a UN resolution for Syria, would welcome the chance to remove Assad from power and perhaps replace the regime with a more Sunni-oriented, pro-Western dictatorship, especially since it would eliminate Iran’s primary ally in the region, thus isolating the regime in Tehran even more.
I talked here with Scott Horton about how disastrous a significant U.S. intervention would be.
Update: Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post writes that the fall of the Assad regime is a strategic imperative for the U.S., primarily because it would undercut Iran. The West should get rid of Assad, he argues:
How? First, a total boycott of Syria, beyond just oil and including a full arms embargo. Second, a flood of aid to the resistance (through Turkey, which harbors both rebel militias and the political opposition, or directly and clandestinely into Syria). Third, a Security Council resolution calling for the removal of the Assad regime.