As the ceasefire looks threatened; some say it never really came into effect at all, it is interesting to read Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s statement to the House Armed Services Committee yesterday about how US currently views alternative options to the Annan plan.
“Make no mistake – one way or another, this regime ultimately will meet its end.”
Although this is a promising statement for those seeking action beyond diplomacy it is quantified by outlining a long list of obstacles the US would face in taking action.These include issues of legality, lack of multi-lateral support and “recognising the limitations of military force.” “The Defense Department has reviewed and is continuing to plan for a variety of possible scenarios should the President determine that further steps are necessary. In the meantime, our only clear path is to keep moving diplomatically in a resolute and deliberate manner with the international community to find a way to return Syria to the Syrian people.” Clearly, the option of military intervention is not (publicly) on the table at the moment.
For those seeking a counter-balance to these arguments, the Henry Jackson Society has prepared an assessment of Legality, Logistics and Hazards: http://www.henryjacksonsociety.org/cms/harriercollectionitems/SyriaIntervention.pdf