Syria Different Challenge Than Libya, Chairman Says

WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 2012 — The secu­ri­ty chal­lenges in Syr­ia are dif­fer­ent geo­graph­i­cal­ly and mil­i­tar­i­ly from those that led to NATO oper­a­tions in Libya, and inter­ven­tion would be dif­fi­cult, the chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said today.

“Syr­ia is a very dif­fer­ent chal­lenge,” Army Gen. Mar­tin E. Dempsey said in a CNN inter­view with Fareed Zakaria. “It’s a dif­fer­ent chal­lenge in terms of the capa­bil­i­ty of the Syr­i­an mil­i­tary. They are very capable.” 

Dempsey point­ed to Syria’s “sophis­ti­cat­ed, inte­grat­ed” air defense sys­tem and chem­i­cal and bio­log­i­cal capa­bil­i­ties as part of a “very dif­fer­ent mil­i­tary problem.” 

“I think inter­ven­ing in Syr­ia would be very dif­fi­cult,” he said. “I think the cur­rent path of try­ing to gain some inter­na­tion­al con­sen­sus is the prop­er path, rather than take a deci­sion to do any­thing unilaterally.” 

Diplo­mat­ic efforts are ongo­ing, Dempsey said, but added that he will be pre­pared to pro­vide mil­i­tary options to the nation’s leaders. 

“I wear the uni­form I wear to pro­vide options when asked and will be pre­pared to do that,” he said. “But it would be a big mis­take to think of this as anoth­er Libya. 

“That said, of course, we’re look­ing at all that,” Dempsey said. “We’re try­ing to gath­er the best intel­li­gence we can and take a look at what options we might have should we be asked to pro­vide those to the nation­al com­mand author­i­ty in this coun­try. But we haven’t been asked to do that yet.” 

Dempsey not­ed it would be pre­ma­ture to decide to arm the oppo­si­tion move­ment in Syr­ia. “I would chal­lenge any­one to clear­ly iden­ti­fy for me the oppo­si­tion move­ment at this point,” he said. 

“Syr­ia is an are­na right now for all of the var­i­ous inter­ests to play out. “What I mean by that is you have great pow­er involved,” he con­tin­ued. Turkey, Rus­sia and Iran have strong inter­ests in Syr­ia, he added. 

There are var­i­ous groups who might think there is a Sun­ni-Shia com­pe­ti­tion for region­al con­trol, the chair­man said. 

“There are indi­ca­tions that al-Qai­da is involved and that they’re inter­est­ed in sup­port­ing the oppo­si­tion,” he said. “There are a num­ber of play­ers, all of whom are try­ing to rein­force their par­tic­u­lar side of this issue. And until we’re a lot clear­er about who they are and what they are, I think it would be pre­ma­ture to talk about arm­ing them.” 

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs) 

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →