US and international military leaders are currently discussing options for a final showdown with Syrian dictator Bashar Al-Assad and his thugs. According to some media reports this operation will be underway as soon as tomorrow and will include several other countries including US key partner United Kingdom. Well known fact around the world and in the United States is that US public strongly opposes any use of military personal on the ground, caused by failed tactics in Iraq in Afghanistan, so some sort of mystery is which strategy will be used by Obama and partners?
One simple word is enough to answer this question, that word is Kosovo. Powerful, tactically perfect and precise (in majority of cases) action by the NATO coalition in 1999 ended Serbia-Kosovo war in matter of days. Air strikes on major military facilities, institutions and strongholds of Al-Assad and his allies would be the perfect strategy for Obama. At this point beside enormous confidence in Gen. Martin Dempsey and his team I would invite on consultations former NATO commander 4-star Gen. Wesley Clark, mastermind behind Kosovo operation, and Gen. Eric Shinseki, also NATO commander in Balkans in 1990’s who serves in Obama’s Cabinet. Their knowledge of military actions like Kosovo one could be major and determining in overall course of action against Al-Assad.
Other element in this story should, and must be, use of powerful drones which decimated not only Al-Qaida but many other terrorist organizations all over the world. Use of drones would give Obama and his military leaders better targeting options, precise hits adding additional “eyes” on the ground. Despite great possibilities from air and intelligence gathering capabilities US and partners should start immediate rearmament of rebel forces. If rebels are not properly armed and able to defend their positions air military action would not help as it should. Also weak rebel forces would mean that at one point Obama and partners would need to discuss boots on the ground option which wouldn’t play in the favor, especially not for those who are facing elections later this year or next year as Cameron in UK is. In parallel process Syrian opposition should make a final frame of it’s governing bodies in effort to prepare themselves for transition from opposition to position. But that’s unlikely as we saw that in other Arab countries following previous episodes of the Arab Spring uprisings.
While Obama’s decision to join other international leaders, especially UK PM Cameron, to make a final move against Al-Assad regime, we must to not forget that Obama and whole international community failed rebels in Syria in so many occasions. More than a two years different UN special envoys, inspectors and other representatives went back and forth between the rest of the world and Syria while Al-Assad’s forces were slaughtering hundreds of innocent civilians. This is not the first time that international community is slow to react, only over the last 20 years we can count more than a dozen of similar cases. In some of these US was key force slowing a process, opposite them we had China and Russia as key protectors of dictatorship regimes, and in some cases UN was a victim of games between USA and China-Russia block. This part of the problem should be resolved as soon as possible, either through quick and effective diplomacy or through unilateral actions, but lives should be saved and protected.