February 23, 2012
Despite public denials, military preparations for intervention in the horrendous Syrian crisis are quietly afoot in Washington, Paris, Rome, London and Ankara. President Barack Obama is poised for a final decision after the Pentagon submits operational plans for protecting Syrian rebels and beleaguered populations from the brutal assaults of Bashar Assad’s army, DEBKAfile’s Washington sources disclose.
This process is also underway in allied capitals which joined the US in the Libyan operation that ended Muammar Qaddafi’s rule in August, 2011. They are waiting for a White House decision before going forward.
In Libya, foreign intervention began as an operation to protect the Libyan population against its ruler’s outrageous crackdown on dissent. It was mandated by UN Security Council. There is no chance of this in the Syrian case because it will be blocked by a Russian veto. Therefore, Western countries are planning military action of limited scope outside the purview of the world body, possibly on behalf of “Friends of Syria,” a group of 80 world nations which meets for the first time in Tunis Friday, Feb. 24, to hammer out practical steps for terminating the bloodbath pursued by the Assad regime.
The foreign ministers and senior officials – Russia has excluded itself – will certainly be further galvanized into action by the tragic deaths of two notable journalists Wednesday, Feb. 22, on the 19th day of the shelling of Homs.