United States Military Action in Syria. A Cocktail for Disaster? A Trap?
According to the New York Times, Obama senses the possibility of Syria firing on US planes as they conduct ISIS strikes in Syria. It is likely somebody will shoot at them, and it is likely that who did the shooting will be up for debate.
“He made clear the intricacy of the situation, though, as he contemplated the possibility that Mr. Assad might order his forces to fire at American planes entering Syrian airspace. If he dared to do that, Mr. Obama said he would order American forces to wipe out Syria’s air defense system, which he noted would be easier than striking ISIS because its locations are better known. He went on to say that such an action by Mr. Assad would lead to his overthrow, according to one account.”
Lest we forget, Syria is an ally of Russia. Syria is also an ally of Iran.
The “who shot whom” scenario, reminiscent of the downed passenger jet over Ukraine, seems to be where we are headed. Those who wish to inflame the conflict, to draw in several allies into a major conflict could accomplish such in easy fashion. Can we rule anything out with the likes of Assad or Putin?
ISIS is Sunni in conflict with Shia-friendly Syria. We thus find ourselves assisting Assad and his ally Shia-prominent Iran. By the same stroke, we are in conflict with anyone Sunni sympathetic. It gets complicated quickly.
Add in the potential for trickery and escalation, one must wonder where the upside to this engagement is for the United States.
We have entered into a religious war, one disguised as a conflict between nations and movements. The objective is unclear, once again. The risks have never been higher nor so poorly defined. A spontaneous combustion in which the players and the scorecards will reach a complexity reaching back to WWI is in the offing.
Putin plots while China observes and anticipates her opportunities.