Warning: Syria is much stronger than Libya
Syrian army special forces prepare for tomorrow's farewell ceremony at the Rayaq Lebanese military airport near the Syrian border 25 April 2005. (Getty Images)
September 7th, 2011
03:00 PM ET

Warning: Syria is much stronger than Libya

Editor’s Note: Shashank Joshi is a doctoral student at Harvard University and an Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute.

By Shashank Joshi – Special to CNN

In Syria, the Assad dynasty is teetering. Protests have breached the two largest cities, around 2,200 citizens have been killed, and oil and gas sanctions will soon cripple the public purse. Civil war isn’t guaranteed – there’s a slim chance that loyalists dump President Assad and cede a little power to widen their base – but, as Hussein Ibish writes in The Atlantic, ‘with the Libya model presenting itself … as an alternative stratagem, the drift towards conflict is starting to feel palpable’.

So palpable, in fact, that some – like Michael O’Hanlon on this site – have begun surveying the West’s military options. That is why it is important to be clear about why Syria differs from Libya in important ways.

For a start, the UN Security Council would be unlikely to pass a resolution authorising force. Russia, a veto-wielding member of the council, enjoys access to a Mediterranean naval base in the Syrian city of Tartus and is a major supplier of arms to the country. Russia has already lost $4 arms billion in foregone sales to Libya – no wonder Moscow is loath to see another customer vanish. Chinese arms sales to Syria have been equally buoyant, tripling between 2006 and 2009.

More broadly, Syria lies at the heart of the Arab world. Although protests and regime violence have already destabilised the country and sent refugees northward to Turkey, outside intervention would have unpredictable consequences for neighbours Israel, Iraq, and Lebanon. Although Saudi Arabia has criticised Assad and withdrawn its ambassador, it’s unlikely that the Arab League would repeat its endorsement of a no-fly zone.

It’s not inconceivable that these legal and diplomatic hurdles would be overcome. Barriers to intervention in Libya looked insurmountable until the last moment.

But Syria is an altogether different target in military terms, too.

First, it’s simply more powerful. Syria’s armed forces are four times the size of Libya’s, and its personnel per capita and total military spending are both one-third higher. President Assad can draw on thousands more tanks than could Colonel Gaddafi (including twice as many advanced T-72s) and a thousand more artillery pieces.

Although Syrian air defences are only slightly better than those of Libya, the country does probably have several hundred more portable, and hence elusive, shoulder-launched anti-aircraft weapons. NATO is technically capable of destroying fixed air defence sites, but how resource-intensive would that be? A single Tomahawk cruise missile costs around $1 million, meaning that the (largely American) effort to destroy Libya’s SAM sites cost up to a quarter of a billion dollars. That is a miniscule proportion of the US defense budget ($685 billion for 2010) but, in a time of shrinking European military spending, this and associate costs could make NATO’s second-tier members think twice about another humanitarian campaign within a year.

These calculations should also factor in retaliatory capacity. Whereas Colonel Gaddafi was forced to ineffectually lob Scud missiles at empty desert near the rebels, Syrian forces could hit out at Israel both with their own missiles and through the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. Libya was unable or unwilling to mount terrorist attacks abroad, but Syria could be less reticent.

A second problem is that the Syrian opposition, despite its formation of a National Transitional Council along Libyan lines, remains deeply divided. This is a political problem because uncommitted Syrians and ambivalent regional powers (like Turkey) see little viable alternative to Assad.

But this is also a military problem.

Libyan rebels were divided by tribe, region, ideology and ethnicity. But Syria’s rebels are even more fractured. Lebanon’s prolonged civil war – in which the US, Syria and Israel all intervened – is a cautionary tale: backing one party to a multifaceted conflict is more complex, and possibly counterproductive, than working with a rebel alliance like Libya’s which is at least loosely held together by a political structure and lacking sectarian divisions.

In Libya, Benghazi served as a secure rear area for rebels and a base of operations for Western military and intelligence officers. Syria has no such safe havens, and its centers of protest span the entire country from north to south. Hama, a city that has comparable resilience to government assaults, is the site of daily killings and located far from accessible international borders or the coast.

Finally, it is worth thinking through the implications of a loyal army. Syria’s elite units and officer corps are dominated by the Alawi sect, to which the Assad dynasty belongs. They have neither disintegrated nor turned on Assad. In Libya, a very large portion of the army, particularly in the east, melted away at the beginning of the conflict. In Syria, defections are much more sporadic, and that’s despite months of severe violence against unarmed protesters. That means any armed rebellion would face far worse odds of success, and intervention in support of such a rebellion would involve a longer and more serious commitment.

None of this is guaranteed to avert war. If refugee flows reached unacceptable proportions, or a civil war began to seep outside the country, the US might judge that strategic – rather than simply humanitarian – interests were at stake. But we should be under no illusions that a war in Syria would look identical to the one being wrapped up in North Africa.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of Shashank Joshi.

Post by:
Topics: Humanitarian intervention • Libya • Middle East • Military • Syria

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soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. Travis

    Syria may be stronger than Libya, but I don't that'll stop the right-wing thugs in Washington from trying to take that country over too. They along with their NATO henchmen are already using the politics of hunger(economic sanctions) to that end!

    September 7, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Reply
    • Ahmed

      Right wing? It was obowma and his lefties that went into Libya......why they are not even saying anything against assad is beyond me...he has killed more then ghadafi did...

      September 8, 2011 at 11:46 am | Reply
      • ASyrian

        Because they know that they are wrong. All what is said in western media about Syria are lies and fabrications.

        September 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
      • Nadia

        Because assad is an ass and would not leave his position that easily. His father killed 30000 this guy will kill a million . And as far as the Us is concerned it is cause if the war in iraq it took too much toll on US economy they dont want to engage in a war so soon. But i feel the muslim world needs to stand as say something about this thug syrian regime. And @ Asyrian seems you r part of the syrian government who has asked u to sit on the computer and write pro syrian stuff. Shame on you even when you see the blood of your syrian brother flowing you sit and write all this crap about the people who want freedom.

        September 10, 2011 at 10:47 am |
      • ASyrian

        To Nadia, you are really a stupid Jewish man. Why do you sign in under a woman's name and your tongue is really dirty??? You should be saying dirty words on CNN. But your mother did not educate you. Look Assad is not killing people...You are the one killing people and they criminals that you support...Get Lost. Assad will be here to stay and you and your alike get lost..You are loosers..

        September 10, 2011 at 11:57 am |
      • malcomg

        it is right wing thugs, if you look Obama is taking no action in syria. he gonna be the republicans who do it

        September 14, 2011 at 9:45 pm |
    • Mike

      So, if we're ignoring genocide, then we're being irresponsible and allowing tens of thousands to die. But, if we act to stop genocide, then we're taking over a country and using the "politics of hunger"? Not all force is bad, and not all military interventions are territory grabbing invasions. Force is necessary to, well, "force" those who seek to murder their own people to stop. They're not going to see sense and stop slaughtering their own subjects simply because they realize those subjects are now starving as well. They're not going to suddenly come to their senses in the face of diplomacy and say "Wow, you're right! I shouldn't be killing my own people over something as petty as power! Thanks Team Diplomacy, you really taught me a valuable lesson! /wink". The time for diplomacy has passed... the only question is whether certain members of the security council will be equally as petty and block the passage of a resolution that allows us to put a stop to these daily killings before they get worse, or whether they will finally pick up their slack as de-facto superpowers and step in to Syria to make it something other than America vs. The World.

      September 8, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Reply
      • Jason K

        Mike this is Syria's problem, not ours, not the UNs. If Syria wants change, they will have to fight for it. And it looks like they are. We cannot afford to fight another country's war for them. We are not the police force of the world and should respect the sovereignty of other nations. There is a big difference between aiding rebels with training and weapons and actually launching attacks for them. But again, who are we to determine who is the side of righteousness.

        September 8, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
      • Hn1999

        The issue is isolationism vs responsibility. We can ignore all the horrible things out there in the world like Holocaust, Bosnia, Rwanda, Darfur or should we as the most powerful country in the world act responsibly to protect people who cant protect themselves.

        September 8, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
      • M.Kahled

        on't worry Jason, No one will invade Syria.... Simply there is no OIL..... Wishful thinking for all ignorance people to persuade USA or Europe to take over Syria.... HAHAHAH

        September 9, 2011 at 8:36 am |
      • Nobody

        It is not as simple as simply taking a country by force. Firstly how many bombs are we going to have to drop to take control how many countless innocent are we going to have to take to oust Assad. How many families and homes will be destroyed in the process of ousting Assad? Ignoring world politics when has adding a third party to a fight ever lessened the brutality of that fight.

        September 11, 2011 at 1:18 pm |
    • Schmedley

      blah blah blah... The last time I checked, we have a Democrat President and Democrat majority in the Senate.

      September 8, 2011 at 1:45 pm | Reply
    • NonZionist

      I notice that the author makes no mention of what the vast majority of Syrians want. We talk of bombing countries into "Democracy", but what sort of "Democracy" is it, when the will of the majority is not even considered?!

      Obama puts a left-wing facade on the right-wing policies of the Bush neo-cons. The "Right" gets whatever it wants and the "Left" gets the blame. Because Obama discredits the "Left", he pushes the country further into the embrace of the fascists on the "Right".

      Assad is doing what any government anywhere would do: putting down rebellion, using violence to avert civil war and much greater violence. Those who shout "Genocide!" can stop the killing anytime they want: They can stay home and stop trying to overthrow the regime. If they succeed in dragging NATO in, they will get to see what a real genocide is: E.g., Iraq, where a million were killed by sanctions, and another million as a result of the U.S. blitzkreig, invasion and occupation.

      September 8, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Reply
      • treasure123

        To NonZionist, The vast majority of Syrians know that bashar is an illegal president and they know exactly how he got in office. If he was not the son of the ex-dectator hafez, he wouldn't be the president today.

        September 8, 2011 at 7:18 pm |
    • youredaddy

      like it or not americas involvement in the world is the best hope a troubled nation has.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:48 am | Reply
      • alnemsi

        Certainly not. Or what about Americas involvement in the troubled country of Yemen? What about Americas try to free Venezuela from to democracy? How do you think the inhabitants of these countries feel about that? How do you think they feel about GoldmannSachs opening an office in Tripolis the day Qaddafi fell?
        If you have such a glorious foreign policy, why are americans all around the 3rd world afraid to say where they're from? How could you make such a fuss about 3000 dead Syrians while millions of Somalis are starving, since there is no government left, not only but also due to american intervention in the area?
        Your own people dont even like the way Washington behaves any more, so cut the cr*p.

        September 9, 2011 at 8:01 am |
      • Randy Zeinemann

        Whether we are helpful or harmful to a people depends on the country and their compatibility for our beliefs. If they do not share them or are not at least open minded about them any unwelcome intervention may harden them to our ideals and push them down an opposite path in a knee jerk reaction harming us both.

        September 10, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
    • Turoq

      Ohbammer realized that providing air support to the terrorists in Libya was a mistake, but of course he will never admit it to maintain his belief in himself being always right. Right. Besides there are not signs that the Libyan thing was led by...you got it, anti-Americans. LOL. So, sorry for the Syrian demonstrators. You will never get American aid. Maybe American saliva. That is all you will ever get. Sad.

      September 9, 2011 at 1:54 am | Reply
      • NonZionist

        If the U.S. wanted to AID Syria, it would promote negotiations, mediation, reforms, dialogue.

        Instead, it foments rebellion. This is sure to lead to a massive bloodbath and the destruction of Syria.

        September 9, 2011 at 3:22 am |
    • Ba'al

      UN and NATO will do nothing involving force with Syria because Syria has no large pools of oil and natural gas like Libya does.
      Syria also has a large and relatively modern military with an actual air force and navy, unlike Libya.
      NATO only can fight a 5th world rate military like Libya but against Syria NATO plans would be shot down regulary and NATO has no stomach for this, especially since none of the NATO members had the backing of their people for NATO aiding the terrorist rebels in Libya.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Reply
  2. j. von hettlingen

    "But Syria is an altogether different target in military terms, too."
    Of course! Syria has since World War I a long history of armed insurrections and coups, The Syrian armed forces were formed after World War II and their war machine is well oiled, as they have fought many times against Israel in 1948, 1967, 1973, against Jordan in 1970, in Lebanon's civil war 1975-1990, in the Gulf War against Iraq in 1990/91.
    The Syrian armed forces are therefore well drilled and disciplined. Regime changes have just an impact on their loyalty but not their skills and abilities.

    September 7, 2011 at 5:44 pm | Reply
    • Ahmed

      Nothing a couple of bombs from a few nato warplanes cant squash like a bug...

      September 8, 2011 at 11:47 am | Reply
      • Jason K

        But that would defeat the purpose of "saving" the "civilians" Dropping one big bomb that would turn the entire country to glass isn't that hard or that expensive. Its the tactical sorties, and missile strikes on military compounds that have had extensive intelligence resources spent to determine that there is no threat of hitting said civilians.

        The days of carpet bombing died with Vietnam, now we spend 100x as much to bomb one building with a device specially calibrated to ensure all the walls fall a certain way to minimize casualties.

        September 8, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
      • Tom Ador

        Yeah. But first tell the Syrian military to all get inside one building. Otherwise forget it.

        September 9, 2011 at 1:56 am |
      • T. Arantado

        Oh ahmed my dear child. Do you know how much bombs were dropped in Libya? It will bankrupt Europe and America if they start bombing Syria, because if they start bombing without completing the job they are guaranteeing their destruction through terrorist attacks.

        September 9, 2011 at 2:00 am |
      • IRAQI


        September 11, 2011 at 11:04 am |
  3. Zahra

    Wouldn't it be better in the long run for the western countries to diminish Syrian military strength? While I agree that it might be difficult to do a land war in Syria -it certainly wouldn't be difficult for Nato to wipe out tanks, air defenses, and the like. Even if Assad didn't fall – he would surely be severely weakened – which would be better for Syria's neighbors – friend and foe.

    I can certainly see Syria falling into a civil war. My feeling is that it is on the brink of it now. Do we really want another Lebanon? Another Iraq? Something needs to be done before it becomes a sectarian civil war.

    September 8, 2011 at 6:18 am | Reply
    • alnemsi

      Although it seems like the regime itself might provoke a civil war in the upcoming weeks, the thought of a crippled Assad remaining in power seems far worse to me. Imagine how the regime would go after demonstrators, who already pledged for a foreign intervention, after its failure. That would be the most horrible scenario of all, because the regime would have nothing to loose, but a lot of arms and men, who obviously do not have a sincere problem with the killing of civilians en masse.
      Btw there is not going to be another Lebanon or Iraq, I'm pretty sure the whole region would simply collapse. Now taking in acoount the soon Palastinian declaration, the regained strength of Muslim brotherhood in Egypt, the horrible situation in Yemen, Sudan and Somalia as well, a fragile Lybia, a right wing Israel, a rudely muscular Turkey, and the heating up between Shia Iran and Sunni Saudia, I cannot see any wisdom in the idea of destabilizing a single factor in the region.

      September 8, 2011 at 10:15 am | Reply
    • ASyrian

      You are such a warmonger and a little minded woman or I should say girl... You should go back to the kitchen and make dinner for your husband..

      September 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm | Reply
      • Zara

        She's probably more of a man than you sht4braynes.

        September 10, 2011 at 1:42 am |
      • Randy Zeinemann

        Neither of you is likely to be able to get you points crossed through pointless insults. Regardless of what the other says getting upset and insulting others only obscures you point. You must learn the opposite viewpoint to defend the correctness or your own after all.

        September 10, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
    • Dev

      Exactly what should be done Zahra? Destroy Syria like we have destroyed Iraq and killed a million people? Aren't we very civilized? We go on this rampage of making little children orphans and claim to be a "powerful" country!! Let us leave the Middle east to the Arabs and let them figure out what they want, And as far as israel is concerned, Syrias neighbour, the less said the better it will be. We do not need monsters in this world.

      September 8, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Reply
  4. Dirk

    The real problem with supporting Syria is there is no recognized rebel faction. Who would we give the money, training, and equipment to? In addition right now the majority of Syrians wouldn't support a civil war because they aren't afraid enough to do so. The kind of questions they are asking themselves – "What do I have to lose?" - Answer: "My life" - Next Question: "Is it worth it?" - Answer: "I don't know..maybe". When that answer turns to "Yes" if it ever does then you will see a bloodbath like the American Revolution.

    September 8, 2011 at 11:08 am | Reply
    • ASyrian

      Are you all ready to spend another trillion or 2 trillion dollars to destroy a another country and kill a million people based on lies and fabricated stories...Go get some good news channels and read it.

      September 10, 2011 at 12:11 pm | Reply
  5. sosofresh

    Please keep this situation in mind when voting in 2012... Republican President = increased military involvement in the Middle East with out-right war likely (with the possible exception of R. Paul). Severe unrest in Syria with heavy involvement from the west could easily lead to a complete meltdown of the entire region on a scale that would make the current state of affairs over there look like a utopian fantasy.

    I would normally assume that the President of the United States would be better-informed than me on these potential consequences and behave accordingly... unfortunately, those assumptions, which were always somewhat skeptical, went out the window completely from 2001-2009.

    September 8, 2011 at 11:15 am | Reply
    • Ahmed

      Nice try you left wing pansy.....oboma is the one who went into libya...not the "right wing"....no go cash your welfare check...

      September 8, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Reply
      • Andre

        Ahmed, you idiot....go back watching Fox News.

        September 10, 2011 at 1:33 am |
    • ASyrian

      To get some real news about Syria Check:
      Ceck this site for reliable news about Syria and stop spreading lies.

      September 10, 2011 at 12:36 pm | Reply
  6. Geest

    Yes..... and in the first Gulf War Iraq will cause tens of thousands of casualties as they're large military will ......ok that didn't work. Syria will also, as part of a three nation coalition, crush Israel... wait no they didn't. Travis...have you really missed the videos of tanks and helicopters machine gunning people in the streets? Do you really think NATO, the US, hell ANYONE is fabricating that? The civilians, their dislike of the West aside, are starting to ask for International Aid. Do we aid them? Watch them die? The West has often failed, or at least waited too long on preventing genocide/slaughter of civilians. Looks like we'll wait until it's too late again.

    September 8, 2011 at 11:20 am | Reply
    • AMan

      Check: Check: http://www.champress.net
      Ceck this site for reliable news about Syria and stop spreading lies.

      September 8, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Reply
  7. Ralph in Orange Park, FL

    As evil as the Syrian government is, it is not a threat to the US. The only country it might be a threat to is Israel, which is quite capable of defending itself.

    September 8, 2011 at 11:25 am | Reply
  8. karo pones

    To start with, Syria has no oil.

    September 8, 2011 at 11:36 am | Reply
    • john

      i am sorry but you are very misinformed syria does have oil didn't you read the article where it said that sanctions were put on its oil. learn to read before commenting idiot

      September 8, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Reply
  9. Ahmed

    Russis is like a big wh*re.....they are actually assisting the assad regime slaughter its own people in the streets like dogs just for money from weapons sales...when is russia going to step on the right side of humanity?

    September 8, 2011 at 12:22 pm | Reply
    • muth

      all of the big countries or superpowers do this... not just russia. the U.S. is the most notorious for backing dictators for arms deals, oil or what have you. you should really do some reading before u say something like that ahmed

      September 8, 2011 at 12:52 pm | Reply
      • youredaddy

        you got to give to get nothing good comes with out a fight we all have our interests stop bashing the us and go live in syria

        September 9, 2011 at 2:03 am |
    • alnemsi

      What is wrong with you? The US staged dozens of revolutions and plots to overthrow legal governments around the globe during the last century, just trying to steal resources and strategically important positions whenever it suited them.
      More than 250.000 humans have been killed in the aftermath of 9/11, the US is singelhandedly ruining the planet by massive pollution, yet you complain about Russia supporting a regime which has allowed them to run a naval base in their country? What about humanitarian aspects in Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Kasachstan, Eritrea, Yemen, SaudiArabia, Congo, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Eastern Timor.....
      Stop Complaining about others when US is obviously giving a crap about human rights as well. Please tell me how Guantanamo is any better than any Syrian prison, or how earning money by bringing ruthless blackwater mercenaries into Iraq by blackmailing the local government into accepting private military forces is any better than having the shabiha militias running around?

      Maybe US would be more respected if they'd stop lying and making up moral stances which they themselsves violate reguarlarly.

      greetings from "a gay girl in damascus", s*cker

      September 8, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Reply
      • Jason K

        Alnemsi, I apologize for the behavior of my nation. It hasn't been the same since we lost our civil war in the 1800s. We no longer respect personal and property rights. Our government was never intended to become what it is today. Please know that as with anywhere, there are SOME decent people here.

        September 8, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
      • youredaddy

        that s what makes U S A the Strongest nation in the world WE ARE NO DUMMIES

        September 9, 2011 at 2:08 am |
      • youredaddy


        September 9, 2011 at 2:14 am |
      • youredaddy


        September 9, 2011 at 2:47 am |
    • ASyrian

      It is not Assad killing people you ignorant. It is rather the "armed groups" that are killing people daily
      and trying to blame the regime for it. Only ignorant people would believe that the Army or security people are shooting at "peaceful protesters." If the protests were peaceful, then there would be no killings and the prove is that more than 500 policemen and soldiers have died already.

      September 8, 2011 at 3:24 pm | Reply
      • youredaddy


        September 9, 2011 at 2:11 am |
      • youredaddy


        September 9, 2011 at 2:34 am |
      • ASyrian

        I am not siding with anyone, but I am against the Western media because it is full of lies. The Western media get only one side of the story and it is distorted a side. They base their news on Tweeter and Facebook which are full of lies...

        September 10, 2011 at 12:14 pm |
    • IRAQI


      September 11, 2011 at 11:14 am | Reply
  10. Waahid

    Author missed an important point here; Syria doesn't have billions of $ in frozen assets that Nato and allies can lay their hands on in the name of helping the rebellion. what a pathetic money grab. I guess due to economic meltdown, every penny counts.

    September 8, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Reply
    • ASyrian

      Yes, you are kind of right. Someone said that it was brillant theft. Now the country is detroyed, they have to build it and there is no food and medical supplies and so so, so they have to buy urgently needed stuf that would cost the first $15 billion dollars that they had unfrozen. Plus what is said about Syria are all lies and fabrications. There are many armed groups and they are the one intiating the killings. Check: http://www.champress.net

      September 8, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Reply
      • NonZionist

        At first, I thought that Assad was lying, but now I think he really does have Syrians behind him.

        We in the Ziosphere automatically assume that everybody is lying but us. But in 2003, for example, it is we who lied, not Saddam.

        Initially, the rebels wanted reform. But as soon as Assad started making reforms, they switched to wanting overthrow, i.e., a blood bath. That's when they lost my support. They gained the support of Al Qaeda though.

        "Peaceful demonstrators"? - there is no peaceful way to overthrow the government.

        September 9, 2011 at 12:22 am |
  11. raptor258

    He forgot to mention Iran, who is supplying a lot of manpower and weapons to Syria.

    September 8, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Reply
  12. AMan

    Check: Check: http://www.champress.net
    For reliable news about Syria and stop spreading lies.

    September 8, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Reply
  13. tony

    The ruling Alawite are cawerd thugs along with others that are collaborating with them,wait to see how they run away when the resistance become armed. They are going to leave their tanks and armoured vehilcle with one shot. You Assad supporting Alawite you are going to pay the price for betraying your country. All other minorities have contributed to prosperity and advances of syria except you who brought disgrace, divison and ripped our resources. You will not be able to divide syria. Where are the patriotic among you to save your honor and save your country that belong to all... shame.....shame ....

    September 8, 2011 at 5:49 pm | Reply
    • NonZionist

      Ever hear of "divide and conquer"? It's how the British Empire managed to rule much of the Middle East: Pit tribe against tribe, sect against sect.

      And now the same technique is being used again. Soon you will have everybody killing everybody. That will be your "Freedom!" and your "Democracy!". I wonder what empire will be your master this time.

      September 9, 2011 at 12:27 am | Reply
    • Mohammad

      What minority you talk about?
      Alawi, Druze, Cristans? soon people will take power and will clean all the syrian land from those kuffar!
      We will send all them to hell and the rule of Allah sobhanahu wa taala will prevail. prepare your women and children for the best treatment you get.

      September 9, 2011 at 5:05 pm | Reply
      • IRAQI

        YOU'RE SICK

        September 11, 2011 at 10:37 am |
      • IRAQI


        September 12, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  14. Thurston Murray

    Syria should be left alone to solve it's own problems. Why in the world should the USA get involved in that country? It has showed an interest in working with the USA on many problems in recent years. They will probably never love us to death or care anything for Isreal, but it is an internal matter, and Nato and the USA should stay out of their business.

    September 8, 2011 at 6:19 pm | Reply
    • youredaddy


      September 9, 2011 at 2:41 am | Reply
  15. JJ58

    Just remember how Syrian troops went into lebanon after the americans and the french got their troops bombed... The lebanese begged syrians to help stop the civil war... They were right on their bet. Syria went in and secured the country after the US and french fried troops were blown back to their homelands...

    September 8, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Reply
  16. zaman

    Look US, Britain, France have gone made to provide (so called) help to change the govts in Syria, Libya etc. The western medias trying to prove taht thier sole duty is noe to bomb on these countries and change the powers. But what actually going on. France signed a deal to get 30% of oil fields in Libya. So its all about money, oil, gas etc.

    Now US is planning to veto to the Palestine propsal to get its 60 year demand of a statehood. Such a hypocrat policy!
    We all know that we could be in a better world by a peace deal between Plaestine and Israel and its possible only by creating a Palestine state. Western world ran in months to divide Sudan and why Palestine can't get their land.

    September 8, 2011 at 11:38 pm | Reply
    • youredaddy


      September 9, 2011 at 2:22 am | Reply
      • alnemsi

        Just make sure you will happily accept the chinese showing you how to live in a couple of years. Or is that a totally different story?
        And to your question above, what i know about moral, i can tell you this:
        I come from a region, which has not only invented capitalism, but socialism as well. The pope was born here, most of the 3 last centuries' philosophers published in our mother tongue, the most sphoisticated weapons of the last century were invented here, christianity was divided here into protestantism and catholic, my country has single handedly started 2 world wide wars in 30 years. The city i have grown up in was divided by a huge wall, evil on one side and freedom on the other. My country is number 3 of worlds biggest weapon suppliers, and number two of worlds biggest humanitarian aid supplier. So who tf are you to ask me what i know about morals?

        I ve lived in Syria working for a NGO, so that is my freakin background while you just arrogantly decided after reading a couple of american(!) media articles, that your country should intervene, although you scr*wed up big time in both neighbours Lebanon and Iraq?

        That is the exact reason why the world turned from loving US into disliking them. Please dont make us hate you, we just want to coexist.

        September 9, 2011 at 6:34 am |
  17. NonZionist

    A few years ago, the War On Terror was in fashion. Now Revolution is in fashion, and we give our support to revolutionists who are sometimes allied with the very terrorists we were fighting against a few short years ago! We don't care: As long as we are all marching in lockstep with the latest political fashion, we are Right, God is On Our Side, and doubt or disagreement is Unthinkable.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:07 am | Reply
  18. tcaud

    The Syrian conflict will be one of attrition, and the only role for the U.S. to play is in the supply of small arms and ammunition.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:34 am | Reply
  19. gmoney

    I notice how this author doesnt mention anything about Iran the closest syrian ally in the region? why so? Iranian regime will also be affected one way or another by anything that happens to syrian regime.. i even think the world doesnt want to get too involved with this situation because of conflict with the islamic republic?

    September 9, 2011 at 1:35 am | Reply
  20. Pat

    Enough to say, Libya has oil, Syria does not.

    September 9, 2011 at 6:12 am | Reply
  21. Mikie

    Because we LIKE them

    September 9, 2011 at 7:29 am | Reply
  22. Carla

    Syrians need to read the Bible in order to be truly strong.

    September 9, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Reply
    • Randy Zeinemann

      Regardless of my opinion of that statement, exchanging one religion for another has no merit unless the new one only has one interpretation. A people are only unified by religion when they are confronted by an utterly alien adversary that makes their own differences trivial. As it is now internal Islamic religious struggles mirror internal Christian struggles between Protestants and Catholics before they were forced closer together by a perceived increase in the threat by Islam and vice versa.

      September 10, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Reply
  23. Randy Zeinemann

    There is no right or wrong, left or right or black and white. All people and countries will inevitably look out for themselves, their families or the ruling faction, if this were not the case the world would be a whole lot emptier as communities implode. Whether or not it is a ruler or a people who turns on the other, when compromise becomes a dream the end result is violence. It is not religion or a conflict in morals that cause hatred, though they may be a part, but rather the instinct to join a society in the first place that blinds people to one another breeding ignorance and tension.

    September 10, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Reply
  24. Adahy

    Get out of the middle east and restore America!
    Ron Paul 2012.

    September 11, 2011 at 3:37 am | Reply
  25. USAnv

    The protesters are paid to protest by the Saudi's. The Saudi's, UAE, and Kuwait hve been secretly funding Syrian opposition. A prime example of how the Saudi's have no problem killing their fellow Arabs.

    Syria does not push Islamism on the world like the Saudi's. It's NOT Syria wanting to build a Mosque on Ground Zero. Assad was the first Arab leader to call President Bush on 9/11.

    Syria's population is about 21 million, maybe 20,000 Saudi thugs are protesting (more like looting) in the streets. That would not equal 1% of the population. A 100,000 protesters would be under 5% of the population. Why should the world listen to 1-5% of Syria's population. Here in America, our government don't listen 50% of the population! Why is Syria held to a different standard?

    Reform in Syria: Yes
    Freedom: Yes

    September 11, 2011 at 6:27 pm | Reply
  26. outspoken

    There is no OIL in syria , that is true and if SYRIA goes down lot of heads will fall down too. Remember there is Russian Base in Syria. It will not be cake walk for sure.

    September 11, 2011 at 8:38 pm | Reply
  27. Merad of Emberlynn

    This is a picture of the Lebanese Army, CNN you should really know some basic knowledge on the things you report on. I remember a advertisement for the CNN coverage on Libya and the images (on CNN!) were of Bahraini protesters at Pearl Roundabout. This isn't a critic on your reporting per-say, but rather a note on your credibility with backed up knowledge.


    September 11, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Reply
    • USAnv

      Is that the Syrian flag on his uniform?

      September 12, 2011 at 12:48 pm | Reply
      • IRAQI


        September 12, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  28. schwlan

    if the "armed gangs" are doing the killings then why in the videos the peaceful protestors being slaughtered there is TANKS shooting at the protestors????? armed gangs do not have access to tanks and other military stuff. the 500 army/police officers that have been killed is because they refused to shoot their own people so they were killed. we are not stupid. stop saying its armed gangs when it is not.

    September 12, 2011 at 10:49 pm | Reply

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