RAND Corp: Bombing Syria Will Be Ineffective, Risks Greater US Involvement in Regional War

John Glaser, September 03, 2013

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Any U.S. bombing mission in Syria is unlikely to effectively protect civilians and runs the risk of instigating a regional war and greater U.S. involvement, according to a study just published by the RAND Corporation.

“Destroying or grounding the Syrian air force is operationally feasible but would have only marginal benefits for protecting civilians,” the report’s press release explains, and “any airpower option would involve substantial risks of escalation by third parties, or could lead to greater U.S. military involvement in Syria.”

The study also finds that “merely punishing the Assad regime for using chemical weapons is not likely to be an effective deterrent.”

The Obama administration’s key selling point to the public for a new war on Syria has been that it will be limited and won’t include boots on the ground. Syria will not become America’s quagmire like Iraq and Afghanistan were, they promise.

But even if these claims are sincere, it’s not something Washington is likely to be able to control following airstrikes that carry unforeseeable consequences. And then, the messier it gets, the more the U.S. will own the problem.

“The U.S. and its allies can certainly conduct an operationally successful air campaign in Syria,” said Karl Mueller, author of the RAND report. “But each of these aerial intervention options has the potential to escalate or expand the conflict, and could lead to unwelcome responses from Assad’s allies or to wider or deeper U.S. military involvement.”




15 Responses to “RAND Corp: Bombing Syria Will Be Ineffective, Risks Greater US Involvement in Regional War”

  1. [...] Print This | Share This | Send a letter to the editor | Letters | Antiwar Forum [...]

  2. [...] especially in the sense that they pretty accurately reflect expert opinion. Earlier today, I wrote that the RAND Corp. published a study concluding that bombings are unlikely to effectively protect [...]

  3. [...] especially in the sense that they pretty accurately reflect expert opinion. Earlier today, I wrote that the RAND Corp. published a study concluding that bombings are unlikely to effectively protect [...]

  4. [...] Via:antiwar [...]

  5. The study also finds that “merely punishing the Assad regime for using chemical weapons is not likely to be an effective deterrent.”

  6. In listening to the clown show yesterday (Senate hearing) on C-SPAN when they continually reiterated that the goal was to "…degrade and deter Bashar al-Assad's capacity to use chemical weapons…" they never said that they were going to destroy or confiscate those chemicals. So, after the "surgical" targeting and degrading and deterring is over, Assad will still have the weapons…as well as a reason to use them on others outside Syria. They kept trying to sell what would likely happen IF the US does nothing but they never answered the question (that really wasn't asked) how this action would actually stop Assad from actually using chemicals once attacked.

    That's because they don't have plans to secure the chemicals – they don't have any plans to keep the chemicals should the regime fall from the hands of the extremists within the "rebel" ranks and they have no plans if that should happen – though they were loath to talk about that possibility. I came away with the impression that they only want to further destabilize the region, for whatever purpose they are hiding from the American people.

    I hope Rand Paul's unstated threat to impeach if the Administration if they proceed even if Congress refuses to go along is not just theater – as he is wont to do at times. This idea of imperial justification is unconstitutional and criminal and should be prosecuted. That's the only message that needs to be sent.

  7. WRITE YOUR CONGRESS PERSON!

    When Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-04), Chairman of the House Armed Services Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee is against it, this tells me something. We have no business committing an Act of War against Syria, much less being Al Qaeda's air force.

  8. Curmudgeonvt,
    I certainly agree that if this "president" does attack Syria w/o verifiable evidence that Al-Assad is responsible, he must be held responsible for international war crimes immediately after the crime is committed! If we procrastinate in his prosecution, the lies to war will continue indefinitely.

  9. Even if Assad was the one to use the chemical weapons, it is still not our responsibility to bomb him. Doing so would just kill more people. There have been more horrendous acts with larger death tolls in other countries such as the Congo where there have been 5 million killed and counting, but we haven't intervened there. Should we intervene in every country where inhumane acts are perpetrated by its government? Can we afford that? No!!! As far as that goes, with all of Obama's and Bush's war crimes, do other countries have the right to bomb Washington to teach our government a lesson?

  10. [...] Read here:   http://antiwar.com/blog/2013/09/03/rand-corp-bombing-syria-will-be-ineffective-risks-greater-us-invo… [...]

  11. There is a question that is to be answered. What becomes of the chemical weapons in Syria, both Rebel and Government? That could be one huge tiger tail.This is not over gas victims. It is over oil and natural gas. Russia has a monopoly on shipment by pipeline to the Eu. Syria refuses to allow a pipeline to be built over their territory that would be in competition from Russia. SYRIA and RUSSIA ARE VERY CLOSE ALLIES.

  12. [...] RAND Corp: Bombing Syria Will Be Ineffective, Risks Greater US Involvement in Regional War [...]

  13. [...] anything, the U.S.’s imminent bombing campaign of Syrian military assets (which will probably morph into regime change once started, just as in the case of the “limited” [...]

  14. [...] RAND Corp: Bombing Syria Will Be Ineffective, Risks Greater US Involvement in Regional War [...]

  15. [...] RAND Corp: Bombing Syria Will Be Ineffective, Risks Greater US Involvement in Regional War!  by John Glaser, http://antiwar.com/blog Any U.S. bombing mission in Syria is unlikely to effectively protect civilians and runs the risk of instigating a regional war and greater U.S. involvement, according to a study just published by the RAND Corporation. – “Destroying or grounding the Syrian air force is operationally feasible but would have only marginal benefits for protecting civilians,” the report’s press release explains, and “any airpower option would involve substantial risks of escalation by third parties, or could lead to greater U.S. military involvement in Syria.” – The study also finds that “merely punishing the Assad regime for using chemical weapons is not likely to be an effective deterrent.” – The Obama administration’s key selling point to the public for a new war on Syria has been that it will be limited and won’t include boots on the ground. Syria will not become America’s quagmire like Iraq and Afghanistan were, they promise. – But even if these claims are sincere, it’s not something Washington is likely to be able to control following airstrikes that carry unforeseeable consequences. And then, the messier it gets, the more the U.S. will own the problem. – “The U.S. and its allies can certainly conduct an operationally successful air campaign in Syria,” said Karl Mueller, author of the RAND report. “But each of these aerial intervention options has the potential to escalate or expand the conflict, and could lead to unwelcome responses from Assad’s allies or to wider or deeper U.S. military involvement.” [...]