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A No-Fly Zone Over Syria?

Paul Rasmussen, a former Navy fighter pilot and current military professor teaching security strategies at the Naval War College, writes on the Atlantic Council blog: “With seemingly bipartisan support of defense reductions, Afghan redeployment should not give way to Syrian intervention. Broadly, taking into account the current economic and political landscape, combined with the rebalance to Asia, a no-fly zone is not strategically viable. A no-fly zone would likely remove Assad’s air power advantage over the rebels, but it is uncertain the rebels could shift the balance of power or stop the Syrian civil war. Furthermore, [Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin] Dempsey recently testified to congress that a no-fly zone would initially cost $500mn, and then $1bn a month over the course of a year.  Intervention in Syria as such would lead the defense budget analysts to revolt as they attempt to pay for a long-term stability operation while resetting the force.  Combining this with lack of critical support from Egypt and Russia, a no-fly zone is no longer an option.”

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