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Homs,Syria: Circle and Destroy and What Should the West Do?
Does the Homs, Syria annihilation of thousands of women, children and men ring a bell? Does history or humans have such short memory, maybe collectively it is, Alzheimer ? Does Kosovo Serbia back in 1997-8 come to mind? It should. The situations are similar in similar ways. Then, 300000 civilians were forced to leave their homes by Slobodan Milosevic in a type of ethnic cleansing. He did not want the Kosovars to have autonomy. Killings were random and equally as disturbing as they are for those in Syria and in Homs, specifically. In 1999, President Clinton took unilateral action, got approval from Congress and bypassed the UN Security Council, and ordered an 11 week bombing campaign that saw 30000 sorties and greatly dismantled Milosevic's military and para military forces killing the Kosovar people that had been evicted. Only two US planes were lost and no US ground forces were used. The Serbian army was defeated and backed off the "cleansing" attempt, the Kosovar people were able to return to their homes.
Would the same thing work in Syria? Maybe, but the situation is more precarious. Would Obama be able to do it? It is doubtful, he would be more apt to go to the frickin' UN to get a consensus and approval. Clinton, then, knew time was of the essence and the UN would delay it all, so, he said "screw it", it is the right thing to do and heck with all others. It worked.
Obama could decide this way as he explores ways to end it the Syrian civil war to remove Bashar Assad. Obama should give the Syrian National Council total recognition as the country's legitimate government. This should be done in the media. There should be a no-fly zone over Homs and Alleppo and other areas under siege from Syrian army units. Dangerous yes, but it is time to be bold. NATO should train and arm men in Turkey and feed them into Syria to help the Free Syrian Army and get funding from the Arab nations who would prefer Assad collapse, yet are too afraid to get involved. The UN could do something helpful by creating a buffer zone along the Turk-Syrian border to protect and help refugees.
As in Kosovo, the Russians bitched and threatened if NATO or the US became involved with their former ally from the Cold War. It was a bluff then and it is now. They are powerless to do anything. Russian armed the Serbs for years as they are rearming Syria, today. The original peaceful demonstrations of those wanting a free Syria has changed because Assad has decided to crush it, forcing them to take up arms and fight back. That is where it is now. Turkey has been providing arms to the rebels of the Free Syrian Army. Iran complicates it all because it also has a lot to lose if Syria becomes democratic, so they will arm the Assad regime and of course, the whole situation could spill into neighboring countries.