This came up yesterday at the debate – and a bit earlier, when Hot Air’s Allahpundit noted Perry’s original comments, and I responded – so I thought I’d give an update of what… is being said about the concept of a Syrian no-fly zone being established. Note: not what is being done; what is being said. Lots more things get said than done.
The very short version is that the Arab League has taken a surprisingly hard line against Syria, threatening sanctions against the Assad regime if it does not reform. This, coupled with a recent United Nations human rights condemnation of Syria, means… virtually nothing; except that it is apparently giving Turkey a future excuse to institute a partial no-fly zone in northern Syria – should they so choose to do so. And if they do so choose to do so, according to at least one report (and I do not know how credible the source is) it would involve a movement ban on more than air units:
Senior European sources said that Arab jet fighters, and possibly Turkish warplanes, backed by American logistic support will implement a no fly zone in Syria’s skies, after the Arab League will issue a decision, under its Charter, calling for the protection of Syrian civilians.
The sources told Kuwait’s al Rai daily that the no fly ban will include a ban on the movement of Syrian military vehicles, including tanks, personnel carriers and artillery, adding that this move would aim at curbing the movement of Assad forces, and cripple their ability to bomb cities. The European sources said the no fly ban might lead to the paralysis of the Syrian regime forces “in less than 24 hours.”
Note that this is actually compatible with the Turkish promise to not invade Syria. Also note that we’d be expected to be on the hook for ‘logistical support,’ which could mean anything from ‘logistical support’ to ‘time for the Warthogs to go strafe some more tanks.’ Whether we’d do it or not is the question: given that Turkey is a NATO member (read: ‘ally’) with which we’re currently ‘enjoying’ shaky relations, we just might. Certainly it’s enough of a question to be floating around there, which is why I suspect that Perry has referred to it a couple of times over the last few days. I do wish that we had gone into this more yesterday, particularly since Perry couched it more in terms of containing Iran. Which is another whole can of worms, and probably a realpolitik one at that.
As to why the
Ottomans Turks might want to take this opportunity to attempt to influence affairs in the Vilayet of Syria Syrian Arab Republic… well. Your guess is as good as mine.