What to do about Syria: Vital US interests are at stake

Reuters

General Dempsey, Secretary of Defense Hagel, and Secretary of State Kerry testify on Syria before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on September 4, 2013.

Article Highlights

  • The security of Americans is profoundly threatened by events in Syria; inaction will only increase that threat.

    Tweet This

  • Deterring or preventing Assad from using his chemical weapons or dispersing them is of primary importance.

    Tweet This

  • American interests in Syria are clear

    Tweet This

American interests in Syria are clear: preventing terrorists from acquiring chemical weapons; depriving Iran of its most important ally and staging-base in the Middle East; and preventing al Qaeda from establishing an uncontested safe haven in the Levant. Reasonable people can disagree about the extent to which President Obama's proposed "limited strike" will secure these interests, but not about whether the interests are real or vital. Bashar al-Assad has one of the largest chemical weapons arsenals in the world. Al Qaeda franchises control territory in Syria and have some of the most effective fighting forces on the ground. Iran's own military and security forces are active in Syria in defense of the Assad regime. The threat to Americans is very real.

Assad's expanding use of chemical weapons against his own people is more than an atrocity and an egregious violation of international law and norms. It also materially increases the risk that terrorists, whether al Qaeda or Hezbollah, will get hold of some warheads. When not in use, weapons of mass destruction are generally kept in heavily guarded and secured bunkers-regimes that possess them fear both that they might be stolen or smuggled away and that the enemy against whom the weapons are aimed might destroy them preemptively. Terrorists seeking to lay hands on the weapons, generally, would either have to penetrate those defenses (usually a task beyond their means), infiltrate the guarding force (not a very plausible option for al Qaeda facing an Alawite defense force loyal to Assad), or hope that the defense collapses, leaving the position open to plunder. Even in that last case, the United States or other concerned powers, seeing the departure of the guard force, could use bombs to prevent the terrorists from getting into the facility or removing materials from it or, in the worst case, insert troops into the facilities that were compromised, whose positions are presumably well known to us.

To read the full text, please visit www.CriticalThreats.org.

Also Visit
AEIdeas Blog The American Magazine

What's new on AEI

Making Ryan's tax plan smarter
image The teacher evaluation confronts the future
image How to reform the US immigration system
image Inversion hysteria
AEI on Facebook
Events Calendar
  • 01
    MON
  • 02
    TUE
  • 03
    WED
  • 04
    THU
  • 05
    FRI
Wednesday, September 03, 2014 | 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
From anarchy to Augustus: Lessons on dealing with disorder, from Rome’s first emperor

We invite you to join us for two panel discussions on how Augustus created order from chaos 2,000 years ago, and what makes for durable domestic and international political systems in the 21st century.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Multiple choice: Expanding opportunity through innovation in K–12 education

Please join us for a book launch event and panel discussion about how a marketplace of education options can help today's students succeed in tomorrow's economy. Attendees will receive a complimentary copy of the featured book.

Thursday, September 04, 2014 | 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
How conservatives can save the safety net

Please join us for a luncheon event in which our panel will discuss what conservatives can learn from how liberals talk and think about the safety net and where free-market economics, federalism, and social responsibility intersect to lift people out of poverty.

No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled today.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.
No events scheduled this day.