Obama Approves Air Surveillance of ISIS in Syria


#1

WASHINGTON — President Obama has authorized surveillance flights over Syria, a precursor to potential airstrikes there, but a mounting concern for the White House is how to target the Sunni extremists without helping President Bashar al-Assad.

Defense officials said Monday evening that the Pentagon was sending in manned and unmanned reconnaissance flights over Syria, using a combination of aircraft, including drones and possibly U2 spy planes. Mr. Obama approved the flights over the weekend, a senior administration official said.

The flights are a significant step toward direct American military action in Syria, an intervention that could alter the battlefield in the nation’s three-year civil war.

Administration officials said the United States did not intend to notify the Assad government of the planned flights. Mr. Obama, who has repeatedly called for the ouster of Mr. Assad, is loath to be seen as aiding the Syrian government, even inadvertently.

nytimes.com/2014/08/26/world/middleeast/obama-syria-ISIS.html?_r=0


#2

One more toe in the water . . .

With regard to al-Assad, haven’t we learned yet that getting rid of a despot seems to inevitably lead to a worsening of the situation for the entire population? Apparently not :shrug:


#3

It works both ways, support a very bad despot, the people there will hate you, the country helping such a ruler.

Not saying I’d be for non-intervention but you can see some of the logic behind isolationism and not getting involved in other people’s conflicts.


#4

in my Tevye voice

As the Good Book says, “He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.” (Prov 26:17,KJV)

(Historical note: This verse got a lot of air time during the LBJ administration. At one point he came under a lot of criticism for grabbing his beagles by the ears to make them yelp. At the same time, he was being criticized for increasing U.S. involvement in the war between North and South Vietnam. In any case, there is wisdom in the verse.)


#5

Unbelievable fence walking. President Obama is touting humanitarian aid and at the same time stating destroying Isis with no boots on the ground, while praising himself for ending the Iraq conflict. However, I can’t remember a postwar case of genocide where an American president attempted to argue that mass atrocity makes military or political intervention morally necessary, and then comes in the back door with a conflict and mission creep. Wow, is all I can say. From Cambodia to northern Iraq to Bosnia and Rwanda, this is a new animal.


#6

I think Russia and China need to step up on this one to counter any possible acts of aggression by the US.


#7

The problem with non-intervention is that you are left with whatever is the outcome. And, you are unlikely to have any influence with whatever new government emerges. Isolationism is a very bad strategy. The problem with Syria is that a clear alternative to Assad has not emerged.


#8

I know he doesn’t want to help Bashar Assad and that’s an understandable concern. However, I think we need to prioritize things. I think that the Assad is the lesser of the two evils when choosing between ISIS and Assad and so if we have to choose between helping Bashar Assad and eliminating ISIS, we should choose to eliminate ISIS.


#9

This American killed fought for ISIS and he perished in a battle vs. the Free Syrian Army* it sounds like*, so yesterday, it sounded like a long shot but maybe the FSA has an outside shot in that War. I really should have posted a separate thread on this Douglas MacArthur McCain but there are so many threads.

Yes, I guess we can/could discount the story that US intelligence may have gotten info to the Syrian Government. Actually, though, US intelligence has a lot of operations where they aren’t exactly accountable to the Executive and Legislative Branches. US Intel often operates fairly independently.


#10

The alternative is often worse such as what happened in Egypt who through democratic elections brought in the Muslim Brotherhood. Some people think they still should be in power as legitimately elected. Libya as well has not worked out well at this point.

Democracy doesn’t necessarily work in these places. So what then? The US picks who rules these people?

Most people hate the “nation building” as in Iraq but in hindsight, perhaps that was the best method if one is going to get involved.

Otherwise, there certainly are times for Isolationism, I don’t see us getting to involved in Congo for example or Thailand when trouble flares up.


#11

Egypt probably went in a bit of a circle and are probably closer to where they were with Mubarak with the Military ruling than when the Arab Spring occurred and everyone urged Mubarak to step down.

Non-Intervention in Egypt would have meant we stayed out of urging him to step down.

But then, at the same time, we are bankrolling the government, we did with the MB and we are again now.


#12

Yes, Syria is such a mess. I don’t actually blame the Obama administration for dragging their feet on what to do there. There really are no good options. But I am afraid we have to do something to stabilize the area and it sounds like Assad is the way to go.


#13

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