Syria crisis: Western military options   Leave a comment





All the signals from Washington and London suggest that military action against Syria is now a strong possibility. Contingency plans are being drawn up, potential target lists are being reviewed and various military assets are being moved into position.

The US Navy is re-positioning several vessels, including four cruise missile-carrying destroyers in the eastern Mediterranean and probably a missile-firing submarine.

A British Trafalgar class submarine is also a potential launch platform.

If more firepower is needed, two US aircraft carriers could launch air strikes, and land bases in Turkey and Cyprus might also be used. French air power could also play a part.

But what kind of military action is being proposed ? What risks are involved ? What is the rationale behind such action? And, perhaps most importantly, how might Western military action contribute to a resolution of the Syrian crisis, if at all?




Forces which could be used against Syria:

  • Four US destroyers – USS Gravely, USS Ramage, USS Barry and USS Mahan – are in the eastern Mediterranean, equipped with cruise missiles
  • Cruise missiles could also be launched from submarines, including a British Trafalgar class boat. HMS Tireless was reportedly sighted in Gibraltar at the weekend
  • Airbases at Incirlik and Izmir in Turkey, and in Jordan, could be used to carry out strikes
  • Two aircraft carriers – USS Nimitz and USS Harry S Truman are in the wider region
  • The Royal Navy’s response force task group– which includes helicopter carrier HMS Illustrious and frigates HMS Montrose and HMS Westminster – is in the region on a previously-scheduled deployment
  • RAF Akrotiri airbase in Cyprus could also be used
  • French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle is currently in Toulon in the western Mediterranean
  • French Raffale and Mirage aircraft can also operate from Al-Dhahra airbase in the UAE.


Posted August 29, 2013 by markosun in Uncategorized

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