US Senator offers to use airpower against Syria

Discussions of Syrian events are taking place in various forums and platforms. Western countries and especially the USA are very inetested with the events which take place there. Republican Senator John McCain offered to launch air strikes against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime to force him out of power, writes.

The statement of Sen. John McCain, who lost the 2008 presidential election, on the Senate floor came as the U.S. and European governments pleaded for Russia‘s Vladimir Putin to rethink his anti-interventionist stance on Syria, in what appeared to be an increasingly desperate effort for consensus among world powers to stop a crackdown that has killed more than 7,500 people. Hundreds fled to neighboring Lebanon on Monday fearing they’d be massacred in their homes.

But the trans-Atlantic calls for Russia to abandon its opposition to strong UN action were delivered at a curious time: a day after Putin showed his strength by resoundingly winning re-election to the position he held from 2000 to 2008. Even the modest aim of gaining Russian support for a humanitarian strategy in Syria faced renewed resistance Monday – showing just how limited the diplomatic options were despite the continuing violence.

McCain’s strategy would be far more direct, though it is unclear how popular it would be. His statement was as much a critique of President Barack Obama as a rallying call for an international military campaign, accusing the president of being too soft on Assad.

McCain and his party’s senior member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the U.S. should change policy by arming Syria‘s rebels and spearheading a military effort to support them.

“The only realistic way to do so is with foreign airpower,” McCain concluded. “The United States should lead an international effort to protect key population centers in Syria, especially in the north, through airstrikes on Assad’s forces.”

McCain’s proposal will likely divide American lawmakers, many of whom opposed a similar operation in Libya last year. Even if it were championed by the Obama administration and its NATO allies, the plan would divide other countries hostile to the Assad regime but unwilling to support another Western military intervention in the Muslim world. And it would be anathema to Russia, which sees Syria as its primary ally in the Middle East.

As everyone has already noted Obama’s strategy has been to use sanctions and international diplomatic isolation to pressure Assad into handing over power as part of a political transition. At the minimum, Western countries want aid guaranteed for civilians caught between Assad’s forces and the increasingly militarized opposition, but are struggling even to convince Damascus and its Russian and Iranian backers of that.

Russia, alongside fellow veto-wielding Security Council member China, has stood by Assad even while his forces have killed thousands over the past year, rejecting two UN resolutions critical of the Syrian government. Negotiations on a narrower, third resolution are ongoing in New York, and the Kremlin again seems to be standing in the way.

Speaking in Prague, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said an Arab League meeting this weekend would offer Putin a chance to work with the rest of the world on getting humanitarian assistance into besieged cities such as Homs, and recognizing “that there needs to be a new leadership in Syria.”

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Washington planned to immediately take up the Syrian issue with Moscow. She said the U.S. is open to compromise on UN action as long as Russia stopped trying to equate the Assad regime’s violent repression of protesters with rebels trying only to defend their communities.

“We hope that their sense of humanity and compassion will encourage them to join us in pressing the Assad regime to silence its guns,” she said.

UN Security Council tried to put sanctions on Syria twice but Russia and China forbade using the right of veto. Russia considers that both authorities and the opposition are guilty for the situation in Syria. Remind that the clashes have lasted for already a year and more the 7500 people are announced to be killed there.

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