A no-fly zone is an act of war

Failure of the US policy of regime change in Syria is leding once again to the contemplation of "options."  One of those that is much discussed is that of a no-fly zone covering all of Syria.  Let's be clear as to what would be involved in that option:

– All Syrian ground based air defense would have to be suppressed and kept suppressed.

– All Syrian airfields would have to be wrecked with runways cratered, maintenance facilities destroyed, etc.

– All Syrian Air Force aircraft would have to be destroyed in air to air combat or on the ground.

– Search Air Rescue operations would have to be carried out wherever in Syria we lost aircraft.

– Aviators might be captured.  Their possession would be a strong element of leverage in the hands of the Syrian government.

– Some use could be made of unmanned cruise missiles, but they are very expensive and the warheads are usually too small for big targets.

– Some aircraft sorties could be flown by strategic air assets (B-2, B-1 and B-52) flying from CONUS but most would require many, many tactical air sorties either from the fleet or from ground bases in Turkey.  Would the Turkish government allow the use of Incirlik and Batman air bases?  IMO that is an open question.

– If the no-fly zone did not siufficiently benefit the rebels then the temptation to begin direct sorties against Syrian ground forces would be strong.

Make no mistake, this would be a big war.  pl  


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18 Responses to A no-fly zone is an act of war

  1. Anon1 says:

    All bets are off if the NFZ happens and we use Incirlik. Does Erdogan want to get involved in this regional war and drag NATO into it? Syrian ballistic missiles by now are probably scattered and I don’t think the IC has a good handle on tracking their locations. Incirlik would certainly be a legitimate target for those missiles. What would Israel do?

  2. Fred says:

    Do the people pushing this war really think that this would not involve direct conflict with the Russian Federation? Hopefully they are not as delusional as to think that President Putin would let Barrack kill an unknown number of Russian advisors/contractors and just accept an apology?

  3. Bill H says:

    “If the no-fly zone did not siufficiently benefit the rebels then the temptation to begin direct sorties against Syrian ground forces would be strong.”
    Not to contradict you, since you speak from a reality based point of view and our commander-in-chief does not, but I don’t think that this bullet point is quite correct. Based on the Libyan fiasco I suspect would begin direct attacks on Syrian forces within a matter of hours of beginning the effort, with shrill cries of “Assad must go,” and “We will continue until Assad is gone.” You keep forgetting, apparently, that in the White House, “R2P” is synonymous with “regime change.”

  4. turcopolier says:

    Bill H
    IMO there would be a short period of fatuous expectation while the R2Pers waited for their wishes to be fulfilled and then frustrated rage would set in with a program of strikes against ground forces. pl

  5. dsrcwt says:

    Out of curiousity, would downed aviators be entitled to Geneva protections, in the absence of a declaration of war or a UN mandate?

  6. Charles I says:

    One may assume Jordan, in the news calling for a humanitarian “border enclave” might be willing to assist tho I am ignorant of what assets they have available in furtherance of a NFZ.
    One assumes there would be a Russian and Iranian reaction to any overt military action.
    I buy the lottery tickets, but I never win.
    “strikes on ground forces” – again, to what end? What follows? Another 10 year program to save Syrian women in lieu of those we are done with in Afghanistan?.
    The Senate opposed the anti-chemical strikes; why would they support attacking now or later for a lesser threat, whatever it is?

  7. Agree with PL’s analysis! Is Jesse Jackson on standby to rescue downed pilots?
    Are we [US] overflying Syria with drones now?

  8. Babak Makkinejad says:

    August of 2014…

  9. The Twisted Genius says:

    Perhaps Lavarov should threaten the introduction of Russian forces, including air defense systems to protect the Syrian government’s movement of it’s chemical stockpile from Damascus to the coast.

  10. turcopolier says:

    An excellent chess move. That would probably end any thought of a NFZ. pl

  11. jon says:

    Regardless of any military action, the declaration of a No Fly Zone represents an intrusion upon and diminution of national sovereignty over their territory, and would be an act of war.

  12. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Now why would Russia do that, would not a quagmire sucking US in for another decade be in their interests?

  13. The Twisted Genius says:

    Babak, I think the Russians have had their fill of creative destruction, even if it would put their main adversary in another decade long quagmire.

  14. Naval blockades by ships have long been considered an act of war but oddly naval mines not necessarily so.
    My understanding is the Japanese navy is the world leader in anti-ship mining technology and anti-mine capability.
    How does Syrian supply itself outside of weapons?

  15. Charles I says:

    I am imagining remembering having read something about this issue pre-chemical weapons hoohaw, indicating that there had been upgrades, I’ll have a look. They’ve certainly had enough time

  16. gemini333 says:

    Where is Obama going to find enough votes to bomb Syria, especially after the country’s response to his last attempt, and during an election year?

  17. kao_hsien_chih says:

    So, are we commemorating the end of World War I by starting World War III?

  18. Walrus says:

    TTG and Col. Lang,
    Didn’t the Russians practice Two air defence regiments in a rapid air deployment exercise to Southern Russia last year? I seem to recall that they did. Yes indeed an excellent chess move. Might another chess move be the declaration by the Russians of a “no fly” Zone over Ukraine perhaps?

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