Anne-Marie Slaughter, doyen of the neoliberal “bomb for humanitarian reasons” set, has a plan for intervention in Syria that doesn’t require U.S. involvement. It’s not just a bad plan – it’s positively idiotic.
The Friends of Syria, some 70 countries scheduled to meet in Tunis today, should establish ”œno-kill zones” now to protect all Syrians regardless of creed, ethnicity or political allegiance. The Free Syrian Army, a growing force of defectors from the government’s army, would set up these no-kill zones near the Turkish, Lebanese and Jordanian borders. Each zone should be established as close to the border as possible to allow the creation of short humanitarian corridors for the Red Cross and other groups to bring food, water and medicine in and take wounded patients out. The zones would be managed by already active civilian committees.
Establishing these zones would require nations like Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Jordan to arm the opposition soldiers with anti-tank, countersniper and portable antiaircraft weapons. Special forces from countries like Qatar, Turkey and possibly Britain and France could offer tactical and strategic advice to the Free Syrian Army forces. Sending them in is logistically and politically feasible; some may be there already.
Yeah, let’s send portable anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles by the bushel load to a fracture-ridden bunch of militant fighters we know next to nothing about, except that Al Qaeda’s already infiltrated their ranks and called on fighters from other nations to go join them. What could possibly go wrong with that plan? And of course we can totally trust AQ to police any truces with the Syrian Army…
Crucially, these special forces would control the flow of intelligence regarding the government’s troop movements and lines of communication to allow opposition troops to cordon off population centers and rid them of snipers. Once Syrian government forces were killed, captured or allowed to defect without reprisal, attention would turn to defending and expanding the no-kill zones.
All while these SpecOps soldiers are wearing their underpants outside their tights! I thought Afghanistan would have gotten rid of any belief that SpecOps were superhuman, but apparently not.
This next step would require intelligence focused on tank and aircraft movements, the placement of artillery batteries and communications lines among Syrian government forces. The goal would be to weaken and isolate government units charged with attacking particular towns; this would allow opposition forces to negotiate directly with army officers on truces within each zone, which could then expand into a regional, and ultimately national, truce.
Ummm, all right. Has General Slaughter looked at the the Syrian order of Battle?
4,950 Main battle tanks (including 1,150 in storage)
1,125 Amphibious Armoured Scout Cars
2,950 Infantry fighting vehicles
1,860 Armoured personnel carriers
4,815+ Towed Artillery Pieces: 1,010+ Mortars
2,130+ Gun/Howitzers (400 in storage)
1,675+ Anti-aircraft guns (300+ in storage)
1,136 Self Propelled Artillery Pieces: 485 Self-propelled howitzers
650 Self-propelled anti-aircraft guns (240 in storage)
6,890+ Anti Tank Guided Weapon Launchers (4,290 in storage)
500+ Multiple Launch Rocket Systems
102+ Surface to Surface/Ship Missile Launchers: 86+ Tactical ballistic missile launchers
16+ Anti-ship missile launchers
4,235+ Surface to Air Missile Launchers: 4,000+ MANPADS
235 Self-propelled air-defence systems
Plus around 340 MiG and Sukhoi combat aircraft, around 85 Russian and French built attack copters, 2 missile figates, 10 fast missile boats, a whole bunch of Naval attack helicopters, air defense missiles galore and batteries of coastal defense missiles. Phew!
This lot is apparently going to be defeated by defectors with light anti-tank missiles and MANPADS, along with these magically awesome special forces and a few Turkish armed drones? I don’t see anywhere in Slaughter’s plan a mention of massive foreign airpower, tactically applied, so I guess so.
Umm, and a unicorn!