Syria intervention 'increasingly likely'
25 July 2012
External intervention in the ongoing conflict in Syria is now "significantly more likely", according to a report by a defence thinktank.
The Royal United Services Institute's (RUSI's) Syria Crisis Briefing argues that following the assassination of senior Assad regime officials on 18 July the conflict had developed from an anti-government rebellion into a sectarian civil war.
RUSI director general Professor Michael Clarke said that "external intervention, in some form, is now significantly more likely" as a result of the assassinations.
The intervention, however, may involve operations to stabilise neighbouring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Israel and Iraq, which are seeing an influx of tens of thousands of refugees daily. Syria has said it is prepared to use its chemical weapon stockpiles against foreign militaries entering the country.
"The possibility of Syria's chemical weapon stocks being moved around, or out of the country, being stolen or still more being used in any conflict, increases the sense of imminent international conflict that is gripping the region," wrote Clarke. "Israel has hinted at action in the event of chemical weapons falling into Hizbullah hands."
"Already, it is believed that western intelligence and special force operations are actively underway to obtain as much relevant information as possible on the ground, and cyber operations are a key determinant in negating the relatively sophisticated air defence and military command structure that Syria possesses."
In the same analysis paper, Colonel (ret'd) Richard Kemp wrote that Russian arms shipments to the Assad regime, including the controversial delivery of attack helicopters earlier this month, meant that "external intervention has been under way in Syria for months".
"At the same time Saudi Arabia and Qatar, with US and Turkish facilitation, have been arming and funding the opposition; and this covert support has been substantially responsible for the progress opposition forces have made in recent weeks," he wrote.
"Western political leaders may have no appetite for deeper intervention. But as history has shown, we do not always choose which wars to fight - sometimes wars choose us."
The Foreign Office has insisted it is seeking a peaceful resolution to the Syria conflict.
HAVE YOUR SAY
25 July 2012
So long as overstretched British forces are not involved this time. We haven't the capacity.
AlMiles - Bristol, UK
26 July 2012
We are a P5 member and thus will follow the USA's lead, Cameron and Hague not missing the chance to get some grandstanding in.
Meanwhile, cust continue, highlighting the bankrupcy of government defence strategy, be it Tory, Liberal, or Labour.
Daniele Mandelli - Guildford
26 July 2012
Who gets to control the oil when the "intervention" over??
JC - UK
26 July 2012
Considering that it is the government, that has mothballed or destroyed, our aircraft , our navy , and 20,000 soldiers,
Should it then be only fair, that if any British personnel should get involved,
that the British government, headed by David Cameron, should lead by example, and take himself and his government, and the rest of parliament, over to Syria, and show the rest of us, how it is done, with fewer and fewer military planes , ships , soldiers , and more and more work,
Its only fair they should go and fight in our steed,
After all, they are the professionals and the experts, are they not.
criss of herts - london
14 November 2012
I would suggest that a No Fly Zone over Syria and a ports blockade is all that would be needed to ensure the rebels(?) victory.
No - to troops on the ground.
No - to long deployments of forces.
But any decisions should have the backing of NATO the Arab League and the United Nations. After the conflict there will be a need to provide UN troops to ensure a smoother transition to normality.
Darryl White - Montrose