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Arab countries should lead the attack on Assad’s Syria

Published: Thu, September 5, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

Arab states, including American ally Saudi Arabia, have come out swinging — albeit verbally — against the Assad regime for using neurotoxin sarin gas to kill thousands of civilians. But talk is cheap. If the Arab League is sincere about not letting such crimes against humanity go unpunished, it will put its members’ money and military personnel where its mouth is.

Until Sunday, it was only President Barack Obama and the leaders of Britain and France who were publicly advocating military action against Syria to let President Bashar al-Assad and others of his ilk know there is a red line that cannot be crossed — without consequences.

Indeed, Obama drew the red line several months ago after there were unconfirmed reports of poisonous gas being used against the rebels seeking to overthrow the government. The civil war has been going on for more than two years, but Syria’s heavily armed security forces have succeeded in keeping Assad’s opponents at bay.

Although the United States has been arming the rebels, there is little indication that the government in Damascus is on the verge of collapse.

But Assad went too far with the recent chemical attack that caused the torturous death of more than 1,300 Syrians, including many women and children. The use of poisonous gas is a violation of international norms and must not go unpunished.

In recent weeks Obama’s advisers have talked about a surgical missile strike aimed at Syria’s military installations, and until last week it appeared a U.S. attack was imminent.

But the president is now seeking congressional approval for military action and there is no guarantee he will get it, especially in the Republican- controlled House of Representatives.

However, the dynamics of the situation would certainly change if Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Arab nations demonstrated through their actions that the resolution passed Sunday by the Arab League condemning Assad for the chemical gas attack is more than just a feel-good gesture.

The Arab states should not only agree to pay for the cost of whatever military action is decided upon, but they should also commit manpower and resources if the response leads to boots on the ground.


There is precedent for such involvement. In the 1991 Gulf War, a U.S.-led military coalition came to the rescue of the Kuwaiti royal family and drove Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein’s troops out of their country. More than 500,000 U.S. troops participated with all the necessary equipment.

The cost of the war to America was about $60 billion, which was covered by Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Japan, Germany and South Korea.

The United States ended up absorbing $7 billion of the cost of the Gulf War.

The Assad government’s arrogant reaction to President Obama’s decision to seek congressional approval for military action certainly warrants a smack down from Syria’s Arab neighbors.

But there’s more to it than the evil acts of a maniacal leader. If Assad is allowed to get away with using chemical weapons, there will be no stopping other rogue nations, such as Iran.


1Sensible(148 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Is this item a news article or an commentary?
If it is an commentary, whose opinion is it?

Yesterday, Sec Kerry testified that at least one of the MiddleEastern States has offered to pay the total cost for the United States to launch strikes against Syria. Other countries have assured the United States support for bases and air space.

None of the Arab countries have the Naval capacity to effectively engage Syria with overwhelming strength.

No one, especially the US, desires to have troops move into Syria. No one is talking about troops on the ground.

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2Silence_Dogood(1677 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

If the intended purpose of this operation is to prevent future use of chemical and or biological weapons and the President is telling the truth about no "boots on the ground", then there is a serious disconnect between what the President says and the objective. The only realistic way to go about this is the destruction of the weapons stockpiles. The only way this can be done safely (relatively) would be thru the use of aircraft using BLU 119's. The President has stated that we would be using "standoff weapons" only. Well the truth of the matter is that the use of BLU 119's dictates that the aircraft would have to get within 5 to 15 miles of these stockpiles in order to deploy these bombs (dependent on local winds). That by itself would mean that our aircraft would be inside Syrian airspace. In order to do this would require softening up their radar systems using cruise missiles ,that task would take at least a week or more. Even then we would be reluctant to deploy anything other then the B-2's or the F-22's. Both of these aircraft can carry the 119's but we have been reluctant to forward deploy these aircraft due to their advanced technologies. In the case of the 22's we would have to forward deploy due to their short legs, and in the case of the 2's Whiteman Air Force base is a long way off. Limited load capacity of the 22's and the mission duration of the 2's would mean that we would never be able to destroy the numerous weapons caches in a short time period, thereby giving the Syrians more then enough time to disperse these weapons to outlying location. This would make the physical security of these nasty weapons all the more vulnerable to insurgent's getting their hands on them. The scary part is that some of the insurgent's are affiliated with al qaeda a group that would love to get their hands on something as nasty as a chemical weapon. You can be assured that they would use them given the chance, and that is something that we may be embarking on.

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3Silence_Dogood(1677 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

Please don't misunderstand my position on the need to destroy these weapons (it needs to be done) , I am just against half azzed measures.

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4jojuggie(1728 comments)posted 2 years, 10 months ago

This is a President who could not put together a coalition of nations to support his proposed action. His predecessor (“It’s all Bush’s fault”) had some forty nations on board for his attack on Iraq. Obama could not get a United Nations’ resolution. His predecessor had some sixteen UN resolutions. He has been told that Congress would have to authorize covering the cost of the action and of replacing the missiles because his administration has cut the Defense Department budget to the bone.

There’s a word to describe someone who would get himself into such a fix: JERK.

Obama will fly off to a G-20 conference where the other world leaders will no doubt treat him like the witless fool he has proved himself to be time after time. What other president would announce a surge into Afghanistan in 2011 at the same time he announces when the troops would be leaving? What other president has managed to increase Russia’s influence in the Middle East while diminishing our own?

France has offered to hold his coat while he engages the U.S. in an utterly futile military attack on Syria, but the British concluded that they wanted no part of it. The whole of the NATO pact nations have made that plain as well. Obama couldn’t organize a weekend camping trip for a pack of Boy Scouts.

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