Though Washington has been lukewarm on the issue of direct intervention, the neoconservative camp has jumped at the opportunity for regime change in Syria. Additionally, several members of Congress—including Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Joe Lieberman (I-CT), as well as Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC)—have called for arming the Free Syrian Army. A congressional briefing by Myrick in March featured a presentation by James F. Smith, former director of the controversial military contracting firm Blackwater, to discuss potential ways to establish a “liberated” zone in northeast Syria to allow U.S. military and intelligence agents to operate freely. In early April, McCain and Lieberman actually met with representatives of the FSA along the Turkish-Syrian border and declared in a statement, “The only way to reverse this dynamic is by helping the Syrian opposition to change the military balance of power on the ground.”
Other prominent neoconservatives and liberal interventionists have also explicitly endorsed military intervention in Syria. Ann-Marie Slaughter, in an op-ed for theNew York Times, explained her support for intervention as “the best hope for curtailing a long, bloody and destabilizing civil war.”
Slaughter acknowledged that “Simply arming the opposition, in many ways the easiest option, would bring about exactly the scenario the world should fear most: a proxy war that would spill into Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Jordan and fracture Syria along sectarian lines.” Instead, she has called for “no-kill zones” and humanitarian corridors to be set up under the auspices of the Free Syrian Army.
The implicit meaning of a terms like “humanitarian corridors” is belied by the extent of violence and militarization that are required to implement such measures. These can include massive bombardments to rid entire areas of government forces and their sympathizers, or the direct arming and coordination of local forces in order to carry out the cleansing themselves. Libya witnessed a combination of both tactics, a fact noted by Slaughter, who urges that similar action must be taken because “Syria is far more strategically located than Libya, and a lengthy civil war there would be much more dangerous to our interests.”
Is Syria a new Libya? READ MORE