Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

February 8, 2012

Real-time coverage of Syrian situation

Filed under: International HLS,Radicalization,Terrorist Threats & Attacks — by Philip J. Palin on February 8, 2012

Map is reposted from BBC

Emboldened by Saturday’s non-decision by the United Nation’s Security Council some perceive the Syrian government is ready to do “whatever it takes” to shut-down further protests, especially in the hot-house of Homs.

The question now being asked in many world capitals is whether intervention is prudent or even possible if the Syrian government undertakes an all-out massacre.

Just in case you want to know more, both The Telegraph and The Guardian are blogging real time coverage.




The Telegraph’s Alex Spillius has spoken to a US State Department official who warns the international community may be forced to “militarise” the crisis. (The story is near the top of Thursday’s “Most Viewed.”)

He writes:

The official from the State Department told The Daily Telegraph that while the White House wants to exhaust all its diplomatic options, the debate in Washington has shifted away from diplomacy and towards more robust action since Russia and China blocked a United Nations resolution condemning Syria.

While I don’t know what Mr. Spillius was told in the hallway, here’s what the State Department spokesman said at Wednesday’s regular State Department briefing:

QUESTION: Are you able to tell us whether or not the Pentagon is part of this conversation on the U.S. side?

MS. NULAND: We often have asked the Pentagon to use its assets in certain circumstances, both consensual circumstances and more difficult circumstances, but I really don’t want to speculate on exactly how this might be moved. But as we’ve said repeatedly, we are not looking for military options, if that’s what you’re getting at, in Syria.

For further background on why military intervention is unlikely see a post by Scott Clement in The Cable:

Don’t Count on a Syria Intervention: In the end, Americans just aren’t interested in getting involved in promoting democracy overseas.”

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Comment by Michael Brady

February 8, 2012 @ 12:20 pm

Hate to sound cynically geopolitical, but what would the next regime look like, and who would decide its composition? If reduction of net casualties by removing thuggish despots is the goal then the record of interventions in the region is none too shiny. And, while revolution in the pursuit of human dignity, democratic representation, or even religious freedom, is every person’s natural right, actual results in the region over the last year has been mixed to poor. All that said, it sure would be nice to see al-Assad move to a secure retirement compound in Saudi Arabia and the Syrian people taking their turn trying to stand up a representative government.

Comment by Philip J. Palin

February 8, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

Doesn’t sound cynical to me, rather a realistic concern. It is also not clear to me that anyone has a tactical/technical ability to make an immediate difference… especially a strategically sustainable difference. When we intervened in Libya Qaddafi’s armor was still making its way up the coast road to Benghazi. Everything I have heard suggests Syrian battle tanks are already close-in. I’m posting a Homs map to the front-page. This is taken from a BBC round-up that is being regularly updated at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-16941399

Comment by Philip J. Palin

February 8, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

The Telegraph has posted a video which purports to be Syrian military convoy moving armor and other assets into central Homs. See: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9069621/Syria-Convoy-carrying-armoured-vehicles-streams-into-Homs.html

The Guardian is reporting on how DOD is looking into its options. See:

Christian Science Monitor explains several issues — positive and negative — related to possible support for the anti-Assad Free Syrian Army: http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2012/0208/West-reluctantly-weighs-military-aid-for-Syria-rebels

Pingback by Two (actually 3) quick posts « Class Blog for Terrorism and Political Violence

February 8, 2012 @ 5:44 pm

[…] this post from the Homeland Security Blog about the locations of fighting in Homs in Syria. The way this breaks down means it may be possible to do an analysis similar to the one […]

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 9, 2012 @ 2:32 am

Whatever the merits now looking like US first does Syria before Iran. The 8% of Syria that is Alawite is now about to end its rule one way or another.
And in the meantime drought has occurred to destroy the Arab Spring. Drought meaning absence of leadership meaning those who can unite and not divide. Always of course IMO without use of force if possible. Internal reforms seem to die in revolutions largely due to self-dealing instead of self-sacrifice. Lessons for the USA as its revealed many in Congress conducted insider trading or pushed earmarks for relatives. “its a Republic if you can keep it” sayeth Dr. Franklin. Rome failed to do so.

Comment by Philip J. Palin

February 9, 2012 @ 5:56 am

Bill: Our skill at separating, dividing, and analyzing into different bits seems to far exceed our ability to unite, reconcile, and form creative linkages.

In any case, another source of information on the situation is Syria is the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights out of London. This is a group many Western media are using as a source. It does not pretend to be objective — it is strongly anti-Assad — but it has established a reputation (earned?) for being careful with its claims. See: http://www.syriahr.org/ (There is an English version).

Comment by William R. Cumming

February 9, 2012 @ 8:16 am

Thanks Phil!

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