Pentagon Completes Plans for Syria with or without White House Direction
After confusing and conflicting reports last week on whether the Pentagon had contingency plans on hand to deal with Syria militarily, and as the situation worsens in Syria, CNN now reports that the Pentagon has completed “its own planning for how American troops would conduct a variety of operations against Syria, or to assist neighboring countries in the event action was ordered.”
This planning includes, according to CNN, an assessment of what types of units would be needed, how many troops, the cost of certain potential operations and a scenario for a no-fly zone as well as protecting chemical and biological sites.
As to those sites, “The overall assessment by the U.S. is that in the event some action had to be taken to secure Syrian chemical, biological or weapons facilities, troops from some country would have to enter Syria in a matter of hours,” says CNN.
When asked last week what it would take militarily to stop the killing in Syria, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is reported to have said, “I can’t do that …The military typically takes the information presented and an outcome. I have to know what the outcome is. So you tell me what the outcome is, I can build you a plan to achieve that outcome…Anything at this point vis-a-vis Syria would be hypothetical in the extreme, and I can’t build that plan unless I understand the outcome.”
Now, Dempsey appears to have developed such contingency plans with or without specific White House guidance or direction, although “[a] senior U.S. official said the developments have been a matter of discussion in the Obama administration” and, from the same official, “There is a sense that if the sectarian violence in Syria grows, it could be worse than what we saw in Iraq.”
The planning comes as the U.S. has become increasingly concerned that the violence in Syria is verging on civil war. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the recent series of bombings have heightened the worry.
Dempsey said it reminded him of the escalating violence during the Iraq war.
The violence “gives us all pause that have been in Iraq and seen how these issues become sectarian and then they become civil wars and then they become very difficult to resolve,” Dempsey told CNN in an exclusive interview on Thursday.
Finally, “The planning, officials insist, is being done protectively and there have been no orders for any action from the White House,” according to CNN.
Read more about such (non-)preparations for possible action in or around Syria here.