Get PJ Media on your Apple

Drones: A Possible U.S. Policy for Syria?

Perhaps the best of our terrible options. Also read: U.S. Naval Forces Moving Toward Syria

by
Max Singer

Bio

August 24, 2013 - 12:16 am
Page 1 of 2  Next ->   View as Single Page

There is no good U.S. policy for the civil war taking place in Syria. The victory of either side would be bad for U.S. interests and values. And none of the contestants are likely to be good for the Syrian people. However, there is a lot of pressure on the U.S. to “do something” because of the number of people being killed. And the fall of the Assad government would deal a highly desirable blow to the revolutionary regime of Iran.

It is technically possible to use unmanned aircraft (drones) equipped with Hellfire missiles to largely prevent tanks or heavy artillery from being used in the conflict.

The big advantage of this possible policy is that it does not require supporting or interacting with any of the groups fighting the Syrian government (and in some cases each other). It is an action that weakens the Syrian government because it is the only combatant using tanks and heavy artillery, but it doesn’t strengthen any particular opposition force. Therefore the U.S. and its partners would have only limited or indirect responsibility for the crimes of groups that might gain power as a result of the weakening of Assad’s government.

Other countries could operate and control many of the drones, so that the program could be international rather than purely American.

The policy also has the advantage of not bringing any weapons into the country which could later be used in other conflicts, and it is not likely to cause substantial casualties to Americans or others who participate in the drone program to suppress tanks and artillery.

There are two ways such anti-armor drones could be protected from the Syrian air force. One possibility would be to warn the Syrians that if they try to shoot down the drones, their air force would be attacked and severely degraded. The other possibility would be to cripple the Syrian air force by attacks from the air.

The U.S. Defense Department has stated that the destruction of the Syrian air force or the enforcement of a complete no-fly zone would require a very large, expensive, and possibly dangerous military effort. However, a thoughtful, well-informed study by the Institute for the Study of War reviewed by retired General Jack Keane concluded as follows:

The Syrian air force (SAF) is highly vulnerable to a limited strike against bases and planes from the U.S. Navy and Air Force using precision-guided munitions (PGM). That limited strike would:

• Take place from beyond the effective range of the Syrian Integrated Air Defense System (IADS)

• Place no U.S. personnel at risk

• Be accomplished at very low cost

Such a limited strike would result in a significant reduction in the SAF ability to

• Conduct aerial bombardment of rebel forces, or to

• Receive aerial resupply from Russia and Iran, or to

• Conduct aerial resupply of Syrian Arab Army

Using drones against Syrian armor would be a weaker policy than the proposal to enforce a no-fly zone to protect the opposition from the Syrian air force. But it has the advantage of less cost and less risk to American lives. In other words, if the U.S. wants to act against the Assad regime with limited attachment to any opposition group, it can act either against his tanks and artillery, or against his air force, or against both.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
How about the best option being letting the fascists kill off the moon god worshipers and vice versa?
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
No, no, no, no and no. Did I mention that I'm TOTALLY AGAINST AMERICAN INTERVENTION ON ANY LEVEL in Syria? No drones, no U.S. combat aircraft, no nothing. Let the tragedy in Syria play out without American intervention; I'm sick and tired of Americans paying for wars in Muslim lands that lead us nowhere and do nothing except enrage the locals even more. Whatever happens in Syria will happen and the world will still go on; the sun will still shine, the moon will still wax and wane. I feel empathy for the helpless Syrian civilians caught up in this mess but we cannot help them. The Israeli's will endure come what may in Syria. And at this moment I'm not real sure that it was the Assad government that used chemical weapons. They are winning the war against the rebels and have nothing to gain by using chemical weapons; the rebels on the other had have to be hoping for Western intervention and what better way then to fire off a few chemical artillery rounds and blame the government. Keep the U.S. out of this mess.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
What is this lunatic obsession on the part of some to get our military, and our money which we don't have, just another charge on the grandkid's credit cards, into yet another war for Muslims? Oh I know, this time it will be done on the cheap and it will all work out oh so well with no surprises.

Good God.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (27)
All Comments   (27)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
I doubt anybody will "oppress or kill" the Kurds. They have shown great ability to endure and even prosper in a tough neighborhood. Ever hear of the Peshmerga? The Kurds might even move one step closer to their goal, the nation of Kurdistan. And they like Americans and America! Not one American has been killed on Kurdish territory in a long time. The Kurdish controlled parts of Iraq and Syria might even be safer for Americans than parts of our own inner cities.

"As an ally of the US-led coalition, Peshmerga forces fought side by side with American troops in the 2003 Iraq War in Iraqi Kurdistan. Since that time the Peshmerga have assumed full responsibility for the security of the Kurdish areas of Northern Iraq.

Unlike the other militias, the Peshmerga were not prohibited by the transitional government; the Kurdish army has been formed out of the Peshmerga. They are usually armed with AKMs, RPKs (light Soviet machine guns) and DShKs (heavy Soviet machine guns). During the American-led invasion the Peshmerga captured the rest of the arms of the Iraqi forces, consisting of more than 2,000 armored vehicles (some hundred of them PT-76s and a smaller number of T-55s) and an unknown number of artillery pieces."

51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
It looks like more leading from behind for Obama as Britain's Cameron is out front, firing million dollar cruise missiles to hit a camel in the ass. What is this really going to accomplish? I think we should supply arms and support to the Kurds and the Lebanese Christians so that they can defend themselves, and let the Muslims fight out their differences.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
I can think of a very good policy for the US in Syria. Switch off the TV. To go to war because the voters watch TV is the depth of stupidity. We know that if it were not for TV this civil war would not be any problem for us. Assad's father got away with shocking crimes in a civil war and we were none the worse. That was before TV reached the scene of battle.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
We should demand that the UN conduct an exhaustive study to determine which side in this conflict used chemical weapons.

Then give the other side some.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Your appear to be advocating the use of US military power for what are essentially immoral purposes (prolonging a conflict in order to keep both sides fighting).

That is not a proper use of (overt) US military power. We should only intervene when US national interests are involved. Faciliatating conflict is not a US national interest. It may be desirable short-term. but long-term it's not in our national interest to suborn killing.

Rather, we should seek to empower those in Syria who seek Jeffersonian type democracy.

If it's a conflict between two barbaric sides (and it appears it is),

let God sort it out.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Muslims are after one one thing Domination of non-muslums,we should never get caught up in trying to help. Helping the allligator so he'll eat you last.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
You're not exactly a military expert, are you?
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Since either side winning would be unfavorable to the US how bout we do nothing. Or for those who insist "We've got to do something" this:Sat,Mon, Wed we bomb Assad' troops; Sun, Tues, Thur,we bomb "Brotherhood" and allies.ON FRIDAY, we bomb the mosques. A WIN, WIN, Win, situation.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
I know the President, Congress and their lackeys and minions want to feel like all the world's troubles are their problems to solve, all the world's wounds are theirs to heal. -It ain't so.

There is no benefit to the US by intervening in Syria, unless perhaps to take out both sides. We will not make friends. We will not gain allies. We will not gain any advantage. Stay out. Forget about it. Playing with s--- will only get you covered in s---. If we do nothing, we get a weaker Syria. A weaker Syria is a benefit to us and our allies. Do nothing.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
How about the best option being letting the fascists kill off the moon god worshipers and vice versa?
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Neutralization of mechanized ground armies with minimal force
is best carried out by disabling the tanks and artillery.
The _next_ generation of smart munitions will do this by entering the
muzzle of the cannon and detonating a small charge inside the barrel,
which will explosively weld a copper ring to the interior, thus 'spiking the gun'.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
Which has exactly NOTHING to do with this situation.
51 weeks ago
51 weeks ago Link To Comment
1 2 Next View All