In an effort to punish Syria for a recent chemical weapons attack, the President has asked Congress to approve a limited strike against that country. President Obama has never explained why the chemical attacks against the villages of Daraya and Ateibeh earlier this year didn’t warrant retaliation. The President has also never explained why the ethnic cleansing along the Syrian Coast, where thousands of civilians were massacred, never warranted any action by the United States.
What does the President hope to accomplish by shooting missiles into Syria? Does he want to secure victory for the Syrian opposition, or just reduce air strikes against those forces? Perhaps he is hoping to eliminate the chemical weapons that Bashar al-Assad is using against the civilian population.
It is possible to degrade runways, command facilities and fuel supplies with missiles and aircraft, but in order to degrade or destroy the Syrian Air Force the L-39 trainer and the lL-76 transport must be targeted. In July of 2012, the L-39 trainers were armed and began flying sorties against opposition forces, because the old Soviet MIG and SU series aircraft have very low mission and capability rates.
However if President Obama wants to neutralize Syria’s chemical weapons, ground assaults on each and every storage facility will be required. He has promised there would be no boots on the ground in Syria, and taking out the Syrian Air Force will not eliminate the chemical weapons threat because these weapons can be fired from the ground.
If the President wants to secure victory for the opposition forces, he must also target the Mi-8 and Mi-17 helicopter gun ships. In addition to firing rockets and machine guns, they have also been used to drop 250 kg aerial bombs and the transport helicopters have dropped barrel bombs, which are sophisticated IEDs.
The Syrian Air Force has very few guided weapons which would allow their aircraft to fly out of range of small arms fire. Thus the opposition is using truck mounted medium and heavy machine guns, and antiaircraft cannons against Syrian aircraft. Opposition forces have captured some air defense sites and warehouses and overrun several airbases. They have also damaged or destroyed a large number or planes and helicopters.
It is likely President Obama would rather not get involved in the Syrian conflict, but he let his mouth back him into a corner and now thinks he can save face by firing cruise missiles in Syria.
I can only hope he uses enough fire power to destroy the Syrian Air Force and do some real damage to the Syrian command and control facilities.
I also wonder what he will do if Congress doesn’t approve of this planned assault on Syria.
Quote for the Week: “You can go far with a lie, but you can’t come back.”---Unknown.
Posted with permission of writer