U.S. military draws up further Syria options

http://www.dailystar.com.lb

BEIRUT: Detailed plans developed to carry out military action against Syria  have been drawn up by the Pentagon and could be implemented upon orders by  President Barack Obama, CNN, quoting a senior U.S. official, has reported.

The crucial progress in military planning comes after several weeks of  initial analysis by the Pentagon of what the official says are a “full range of  options,” CNN said.

“The detailed plans for each option include more precise concepts of how a  variety of operations could be carried out, as well as estimates of the numbers  of personnel, types of units and military equipment and weapons that could  potentially be needed,” the report published Tuesday said.

Despite the planning, Pentagon officials from across the board highlighted  that it would be highly problematic to involve the U.S. army in any scenario as  long as the violence in Syria remained unchecked.

“There are lots of ideas floating around,” the official told the American  cable network.

“But all of them require heavy lifting.”

The official noted that both at the political and military levels,  involvement of U.S. troops would be difficult in such a sensitive part of the  world.

However, he added, administration and military commanders are still actively  considering what to do.

“We want to understand what is the art of the possible,” the official  said.

Should the American president consider to order any type of action, more  planning and deployment orders would be some of the further steps taken, the  report said, adding that several officials noted the Obama administration was  considering whether there was anything the U.S. military can or should do to  facilitate humanitarian assistance.

Syria, headed by President Bashar Assad since 2000, has been shaken since  mid-March 2011, when a brutal crackdown was launched against protesters calling  for reforms in the tightly controlled state.

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