"No Fly" Over Syria
As this is written, Syrian helicopters and planes are bombing and strafing Allepo and nearby villages. The ostensible targets are rebel positions in and near the city, but the bullets and bombs kill anyone in the way, mostly unarmed civilians. The rebel forces have also committed murder, terrorism and other atrocities, but only the forces of President Bashar Assad have air power, and only they deliberately attack civilian populations.
When Sadam Hussein used helicopters to poison Kurdish rebels in 1991, no one did anything. But when Muammar Gadhafi bombed his own people in 2011, NATO established a "No Fly Zone" over Libya, which stopped him from using air power to quell the rebellion. The UN, hamstrung by Russia and China, will do nothing about Syria, but NATO can impose such a zone over Syria. This is a good idea for two reasons:
1. It will save innocent lives.
2. It will spur the Syrian military to abandon Assad. Syrian officers know they are no match for NATO forces, and will depose Assad rather than fight NATO.
The time for a peaceful resolution of the conflict is long past: either Assad destroys much of his country to rule over the ruins, or his regime falls; in the latter case, unless he and his family flee to Iran, he will be killed just like Sadam and Gadhafi. If Assad falls, Iran will lose its main ally in the region, and Hezbollah will lose its conduit for Iranian arms. No one can guarantee that the next regime will be any better than the Assads, but it is hard to believe that it would be even worse.
Gerald S Glazer