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Policy Action Memorandum - Term Paper Example

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Policy Action Memorandum (PAM): The Syrian Civil War The Conflict in Syria has serious implications for the US national security and vital interests in the Middle East due to its potential for destabilization of the region as a whole and the neighboring countries, like Lebanon and Israel, in particular1…
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Policy Action Memorandum

Download file to see previous pages... On the positive side could be considered a certain impact on the geopolitics of the region, namely the possibility of curbing or at least weakening Iran, insofar as the regime of the incumbent Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, is a key Tehran’s ally4. There are several options available for dealing with the issue, as follows: arming the opposition forces with more sophisticated weapon systems, which might alter the balance on the ground; either surgical air strikes or a wider air campaign that would hamper the regime forces’ ground operations and weaken their capabilities, including aerial superiority over the rebels; the establishment of air exclusion zone; and a direct, full-scale ground involvement. Although the latter option is considered the most costly one, it is the only way the US could guarantee – to a certain degree however – its long-term interests in the region, including such related to the national security. Executive Summary The ongoing conflict between Bashar al-Assad’s regime and the opposition forces in Syria poses serious threats to both the US national security and long-term interests in the Middle East. The civil war is steadily destabilizing the region as whole and Syria’s neighbors in particular, most notably Lebanon and Israel. Apart from the humanitarian crisis, with over one million Syrian citizens having fled to Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon and Turkey and over two other million people internally displaced because of the fighting5, the conflict could easily get internationalized mainly due to the various outside actors involved6. Syria’s vast chemical weapons arsenal is among the biggest threats to US national security mainly due to the real probability of being taken by Islamic extremist organizations after the fall of the regime. On the other hand, the likely use of chemical weapons – especially against alleged “external aggression”7 – might cause the things to get completely out of hand, including retaliation strikes from the parties concerned, further escalation of the conflict, etc.; hence a rapid and grave deterioration of the already volatile situation in the region of the Middle East. This PAM recommends a US-led full-scale intervention in the Syrian conflict, including ground, naval and aerial forces, preferably in a wide coalition with key Western allies and various partners from the Arab world, such as the coalition that fought against Saddam Hussein during the First Gulf War. The direct ground involvement is the only option that would guarantee that the Syrian chemical arsenal will not be seized by terrorist organizations and/or irresponsible governments, or rogue states, which would later use it for their own purposes, most likely against key American allies or the United States themselves. The Policy Issue and it’s Relation to US National Security The ongoing Syrian civil war represents a significant issue in regard to the US national security and long-term interests in the region of the Middle East. First of all, the conflict is a major destabilizing factor in a volatile region that is by definition prone to unrest and violence. Apart from Iran’s geopolitical ambitions, this particularly rings true as far as Lebanon and Israel are concerned. Hezbollah has already got involved in the conflict, whether indirectly – via funding, arming and training the local Popular Committee militias, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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