Brennan Hints at Proxy War Redux

Brennan Hints at Proxy War Redux

Reuters reports this morning that White House Senior Counter-Terroism Adviser John Brennan “did not rule out on Wednesday the eventual creation of a no-fly zone over a patch of Syria.”

“The United States government always looks at situations and looks at what types of scenarios might unfold, and then accordingly looks at what types of contingency plans might be available to deal with certain circumstances,” the report quotes Brennan as saying. “So rest assured that various options that are being talked about in the press, and sometimes being advocated, these are things that the United States government has been looking at very carefully, trying to understand the implications, trying to understand the advantages and the disadvantages.”

The Obama administration’s defense strategy has emerged de facto as one with three major prongs: The first has been a continuation of the Bush 43-era COIN-esque wars in the Middle East. The second has been the high-viz attempt at a pivot to the Pacific Rim.


The third has been the prosecution of “proxy wars” — hostilities under banners of things other than declared war. Drone strikes in places like Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan fall into this catagory. And, the largest scale example of a proxy war on Obama’s watch was the no-fly zone over Libya — officially tagged “Odyssey Dawn.” (Wasn’t that a Yes album?)

As I wrote in a Huffington Post blog piece last fall, from a political point of view, the beauty of these sorts of no-fly zones is in the optics. Fly the NATO flag over the operation and give the lead to a British guy. (Nothing to see here, Fourth Estate.)

Then start the no-fly zone flight ops — defensive in nature, right? Let the opposition make the first move and react. Except Odyssey Dawn started with your classic integrated air defense takedown that included US Navy assets firing beaucoup TLAMs into Libyan targets. And from there the “defense” took the form of close air support missions designed to either stymie Ghaddfi’s forces or allow the rebels to take ground. The Syrian IAD is more robust than the Libyan one, so you can expect a similar rollback strategy this go ’round (if it happens).

Odyssey Dawn was effective in terms of ousting the bad dictator. (Hey, I did the Line of Death stuff when I was flying Tomcats back in the day. I hated him before hating him became vogue again.) And what makes a similar effort over Syria very likely as the rebels there continue to struggle and the YouTube videos trickle out is the takeaway for the Obama administration is their critics are in fact fooled by proxy wars.

The biggest question however (for the DoD Buzz staff anyway): If NATO creates a no-fly zone over Syria, will the USAF use F-22s? The situation would seem custom made for them.

We’ll see …

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Russia might have a thing or two to say about the use of air force over Syria.

Yes, what better thing to do when sequestration is hanging over the military like the proverbial Sword of Damocles than start another expensive, prolonged combat engagement (or whatever ephemeral buzz-word we’re inserting for “foreign war” nowadays) in support of people who may or may not turn out to be the very bad guys we’ve been fighting for the last 10 years?

That is true, but I wonder just how they would respond. Increased level of sophistication regarding the air defenses wouldn’t make that much of a difference. Putting their technicians in harms way would be a good way to keep us from taking out command and control sites. I don’t think we want to kill a handful of Russian soldiers. Or would they send pilots to participate in the helicopter strikes? Again, if we shoot down a helo, it might be a couple Russians we kill.
Not a very diplomatic move.
Heck, even if we support the rebels and Assad gets the boot, we probably won’t like the next government anyway.

Wars of choice is how we ended up in this predicament.

Another undeclared war, with all the costs of a real on(including financial aid to Syrian opposition — whatever they are), charged on our national credit card.

We barely have the resources to reconstitue our forces and focus on the Pacific, and we choose to further enmesh ourselves in the hopeless politics of this region.

The strategy so far (which had been successful for multiple Administrations for years) was to ignore the problem, propose a lot of talks, and wait for the local dictator to win.
Libya was a change since France decided to actually do something (not that they had the logistics to do it).
Here, we will likely talk in the UN until the situation decides itself — sounds like the more Islamic countries (Saudi Arabia) are settling accounts with the secular Assad regime.
Look for an authoritarian, Islamic, government to take over from the authoritarian, secular Assad government. The situation will not change much.

Russian backed off from syria a bit as they have canceled further sales of weapons to Syria. Supposing that Syria goes to far –like using chemical weapons– I am expecting Russia “tolerate” military intervention, but I could be wrong.

Gotta let the Turks lead the Syrian thing — and otherwise avoid it unless the sequestration problems are ironed out by *both* parties first.

I do not think Russia will allow a UN No Fly Zone over Syria most American oppose such a war to back Al Qaeda backed terrorist the rebels are made up of. This is more political dribble in an election year from jerks who talk and never fight the fight.

As for the F-22 maybe but I do know F-15 would do most of the fighting.

Last I heard, Russian Marines were embarked and en route to Tartus. Let’s wait and see.

That naval base is more or less owned by Russia as a fueling/logistics stopover with a staff of a dozen people. With everything going on in Syria, sending troops to make sure it’s secure or use it as a place to evacuate Russian citizens is prudent on their part.

We should only provide a no fly zone if we really have something to gain. How will the US benefit from a regime change? Who will end up in power in Syria? Probably conservative Muslims which would not benefit us at all. Just because there is a fight doesn’t mean we have to be involved but some folks want to be embroiled in everything that occurs.

I think it opens the Iran’s flank. Iran was counting on Syria’s Radar system to protect them from Israeli or US attack on it’s Western side. I read that Syria’s radar can detect Aircraft taking off and landing from Israel’s airforce bases. That said, you take Syria out of the equation and you reduce the detection time of any attack on Iran from the west. Well that is my opinion anyway.

NFZ not possible. Syria shot down Turk plane. Or did it?
Examination of the pieces from the wreckage of the plane showed no sign of a missile attack or anti-aircraft fire.
A Turk politician claims the plane was incapacitated by a Russian-fired EMP weapon.
That changes everything.

The carrier Abraham Lincoln recently traversed the eastern Med from the Red and Arabian Seas — and kept on going to Norfolk. If they were going to do a NFZ they would have kept CVN72 in the eastern Med. Forget it.

John Brennan has no business poking his nose into military matters. I suspect that’s been made clear to him after he over-stepped.

I would prefer if we didn’t get involved in Syria. The last I read they have radical islamic extremists such as Al Queda and The Muslim Brotherhood rising through the ranks in the rebel army. I really don’t see any benefit to helping them, let them fight it out.

If we weren’t a consumer driven society all cruising around in our SUV’s then we probably wouldn’t have such concerns in this region.

And over 30 years later we still understimate Hezbollah and Iranian sphere of influence.

Oh yeah, we get so much oil and consumer goods from Serbia and Afghanistan. That MUST be why Obama is setting his sights on Syria.

Hence why I said ‘Region’ — we can’t all live in a little microcosm anymore, regional security is the primary issue here. In your day we could cast all the blame on influence and purpose on the Russians… and we all know how well we did in the Middle East in the 70’s/80’s.

The carriers ENTERPRISE (CVN 65) and EISENHOWER (CVN 69) are still in the Middle East (the US is keeping 2 in the region), plus airbases in Turkey and at many other locations all across the Middle East and Europe already have a large air force deployed (F-15Es, F-16s, F-22s rotating in) which could easily grow larger.

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