I’m a broken record on the topic of the war in Syria, and especially its Russian component. But this issue waxes and wanes from the public discussion. We seem prepared to hurl service members into a war we haven’t yet adequately analyzed. What would be the real gain by committing to this war? This doesn’t feel like the right time to plunge ourselves into a new one given how we’re already involved in another war. We’re in a transition period.
There will no doubt be an effort by influential members of the Syrian diaspora who are now Americans to advocate for a no-fly zone. Why shouldn’t they? Their people are being slaughtered, and who would not sympathize with that? However, just as not all veterans are foreign policy experts, all diaspora Syrians aren’t objective observers, nor do they necessarily have the U.S.’s best interests at heart. Europe is suffering due to our sanctions on Russia, limiting the resources Russia provides as exports. For our part, U.S. policy with Syria hasn’t made sense.
We need to make a decision: war or not. A no-fly zone isn’t going to work, and would just provoke a confrontation with regime-sided forces in Syria. No doubt foreign policy wonks masquerading as experts will claim a UN solution can effectively provide a ‘no-fly zone.’
However, this would require removing the ADAs of both Russia and Syria, which would require a diplomatic miracle or serious military action. Then, the ‘no-fly zone’ would have to be maintained. By the UN? Not likely. Then, there’s the wild card: MANPADs floating around the region that could further complicate the situation. In a UN no-fly zone, will there be adequate CSAR (Combat Search and Rescue)?