America Can’t End The Syrian War


The Obama administration is thinking about arming Syria’s rebels. But Ackerman finds that “there isn’t a magic menu of weapons Obama can give that will lead to a rebel victory”:

The U.S. Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System, a combat net radio that U.S. and allied troops use for transmitting voice and data, would enhance rebel communications and control over their makeshift soldiers. Humvees and five-ton M939 trucks can help mitigate the rebels’ transportation problems without being so large and ponderous that they’re easy targets for Assad’s air power. Anti-armor weapons like the AT-4 or the FGM-148 Javelin can assault his armored vehicles, and the iconic Stinger shoulder-mounted missile will make Assad’s planes and helicopters think twice about flying over rebel-held territory. Together, that weaponry would pressure Assad significantly.

But the most all those weapons could accomplish would be to force Assad “to cut out Aleppo,” [Christopher Harmer, a former U.S. Navy officer and analyst with the Institute for the Study of War] concedes. His forces would retrench to the Mediterranean coastal areas and down southward to Damascus, remaining in power. The stalemate would continue — along with pressure for the U.S. to dig deeper into the conflict.

(Photo: A Syrian man reacts while standing on the rubble of his house while others look for survivors and bodies in the Tariq al-Bab district of the northern city of Aleppo on February 23, 2013. By Pablo Tosco/AFP/Getty Images)