NATO in Libya: Is Syria Next?

French jets participating in military operation over Libya, March 30, 2011.

From Robert Dreyfuss, the Nation:  Now that NATO is closing up shop in Libya, will it turn to Syria?

Right now, the answer is no. But if the fragmented Syrian opposition—bolstered by Turkey, a member of NATO, which is turning increasingly against Syrian President Assad—manages to set up a Benghazi-like enclave either inside Syria or across the border in Turkey, anything goes.

To be sure, there are lots of differences between Libya and Syria. In Libya, an armed opposition backed by wholesale defections from the armed forces, turned a rebellion into a civil war, but so far in Syria the armed forces have mostly stayed loyal to Assad. Libya, a desert with oil wells, was a much easier target than complex, urban Syria, which occupies a vastly more strategic piece of real estate. And, though Russia, China and the Arab League abandoned Muammar Qaddafi, so far it seems unlikely that they’ll do so in Syria.

That hasn’t stopped hawks from suggesting that it’s time to intervene in Syria, too. And some, though not all, of the Syrian opposition is clamoring for military help from the United States and NATO. . . .

Syria’s opposition seems mostly leaning against intervention by NATO, but increasingly there are calls for US and NATO support, a no-fly zone (even though Assad hasn’t used his air force against protesters) and other actions.  (photo: Getty)

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