The nightmare scenario for a US strike on Syria goes as follows: The US oversteps its attack and threatens the Syrian regime enough that they panic. In response, Syria fires missiles, perhaps tipped with chemical weapons, at Israel and US military facilities in Turkey and Jordan. It’d start a major war.
So to prevent that, the US is going to be selective in their targets as punishment for Syria’s poison gas attack on their own people. Here’s is the likely Syria target list for the US, which will hurt the regime, but keep things under control:
1. Missile Capabilities
Syria boasts a sizable missile stockpile, and they’ve been using them on their own people repeatedly. What’s more, those missiles are Syria’s biggest threat against Israel and US bases in the region.
So the best way to punish the Syrian regime and prevent it from setting the Middle East on fire is to target their missiles, especially their scuds. Count in the fact that the US has been slamming Syria’s use of scuds on their own people for months, and it’s easy to expect that will be atop the US hit list.
Missile silos and launchers are the best targets, since a scud in storage isn’t very useful.
2. Defense Ministry Facilities
For symbolic reasons, expect the US to also hit some Syrian military HQ buildings or bases. They will likely be empty, but that’s preferable. The goal isn’t to stoke flames by killing key Syrian figures, but rather to leave monuments to what the US can do.
It’s basically an expensive and explosive threat: We can also hit you when there’s people inside too.
3. Air Defense System
By its very nature, air defense systems are hard to take out. They’re designed to intercept incoming missiles and planes. That being said, cruise missiles fly lower and are harder to shoot down, so the US will probably at least try to hit an air defense battery or two.
This serves two purposes: One, it will increase the effectiveness of the other strikes by removing a key Syrian defense. Two, it’ll be a stern warning – if the US can take down Syria’s vaunted air defenses, then a no-fly zone or a longer bombing campaign is a real threat. This would open the door to the US winning the civil war for the rebels if the regime uses chemical weapons again.
What not to hit? The chemical weapons.
The stockpiles of poisonous gas could cause contamination or even deaths if they’re blown up. It’s not the best way to get rid of them. What’s more, if their facilities are damaged, but not destroyed, it could literally open the door for the Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists in Syria to get them. And that’s scary for everyone.
Expect a short bombardment campaign in Syria in the next few days, that itself will last a day or two. Syria will make half-hearted efforts to shoot back for their own pride and it’ll be over. The Syrian civil war will continue, and the regime will find more conventional ways to kill civilians there.
It’s tragic, and ideally the West would take this opportunity to do more, like set up a no-fly zone. But they won’t. They’ll do just enough to send a message. Expect Syria to receive it soon.
(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, August 28, 2013)