Are we heading for war in Syria?


Or at least Western intervention? The Financial Times' superb Chief Foreign Affairs Commentator, Gideon Rachman, has spoken to some very high-ups in the EU and America's military establishment who say that the likelihood of the West intervening in Syria has grown very sharply. It's behind a paywall, but the argument is of a class you'd pay for. The case for intervention is chiefly humanitarian and geopolitical (it might weaken Iran and would show the US is still a major force). The case against is about what Donald Rumsfeld called the unknown unknowns.

Here's his penultimate paragraph: "... The biggest argument against intervention remains that the consequences are incalculable. Even if western bombing did trigger the end of the Assad regime, nobody knows what combination of forces would come to power in Syria – or whether they would continue to battle it out for control of the country. The risk is that a western air campaign would not end the fighting in Syria, but simply change the direction of the conflict. To prevent that, the west might then feel compelled to send a large “stabilisation force” into Syria. But any such talk immediately raises the spectres of Iraq and Afghanistan."