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Screws tighten on Obama on Israeli attack in Syria   2013-05-07 11:39:00

 Pressure is mounting on U.S. President Barack Obama to take actions in Syria after Israeli warplanes attacked the war-ravaged country over the weekend, but some analysts warned of risks.

  Adding to a growing chorus of lawmakers calling for U.S. intervention, Republican Senator John McCain turned up the heat on the Obama administration, telling Fox News Sunday that the United States should aid Syria's rebels in the country's bloody civil war.

  Western media reports said Syria's government has used chemical weapons against the opposition, a move that Obama said would amount to crossing a "red line" that would spark U.S. involvement.

  The United States said it is seeking more proof to ascertain whether chemical weapons have been used, and Obama said a number of options are on the table, but added that U.S. boots on the ground are unlikely.

  However, Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Darrell West told Xinhua that "It looks like the United States is edging toward greater involvement in Syria."

  "The president intervened in Libya for humanitarian reasons and the same dynamic is starting to develop in Syria," West said. "Obama's earlier use of the red line comment makes it difficult for him to look the other way."

  McCain also joined Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, who spoke Sunday with NBC's "Meet the Press," arguing that Israel's airstrikes underscored what he called vulnerabilities in Syria's anti-aircraft defences.

  But the argument was dismissed by analysts, who believed Syria's aircraft defence was formidable. Wayne White, a scholar at the Middle East Institute, disagreed with the argument, saying it was "thrust forward hastily by those pushing hard for U.S. involvement, and does not represent a considered judgment."

  Israeli's airstrikes have intensified debates in U.S. foreign policy circles over the possibility of a U.S.-backed no-fly zone similar to the one established in Libya before the ouster of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

  White, who was also the former deputy director of the State Department's Middle East Intelligence Office, said "Israel's package of airstrikes over the weekend was a relatively shallow one-shot affair with both the safety of the Israeli-held Golan Heights and the relative safety of weakly defended Lebanese air space nearby."

  By contrast, establishing a permanent no-fly zone over all or much of Syria plus carrying out a more prolonged campaign of airstrikes against a variety of military targets -- many of them deep inside Syrian air space -- would involve a lot more risks, he warned.

  Moveover, there have been debates on the possibility of options including joint operations with several partners to provide weaponry to rebels not affiliated with Islamic extremists, but some analysts fear such weapons could fall into the hands of extremists that could later target Americans.


source : Xinhua     editor:: Ma Ting
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