US general warns about costs of Syria no-fly zone

US general warns about costs of Syria no-fly zone
Tue Jul 23, 2013 08:17:57

The head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has warned about monthly one-billion-dollar cost of imposing a no-fly zone against Syrian government and putting US aircrafts at risk of being shot down.

In a letter to the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, which was released on Monday, Army General Martin Dempsey warned Senator Carl Levin that thousands of American troops would also be required to establish a no-fly zone.

The use of such force is “no less than an act of war”and would come at a time of growing fiscal restraint on the Pentagon, he said.

“Some options may not be feasible in time or cost without compromising our security elsewhere,” Dempsey said.

The general’s letter underscores the reluctance of Pentagon leaders to take military action in Syria. His comments reflect the views of military commanders, who have been critical of proposals to intervene in Syria.

However, some American officials are pressing the White House to launch a military strike against Syria to end the conflict.

Retired Marine Corps General James Mattis also told a security conference in Aspen, Colorado that a no-fly zone would be “very expensive.”

“It will have tankers. It will have fighter planes up constantly. It will drain the Treasury. It will take our hard-pressed military into one more fray. It’s going to require helicopters and special forces to recover the pilots who get shot down,” he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency David Shedd warned that the two-year-old conflict in Syria could last “many, many months to multiple years.”

A majority of Americans believe it is not in the national interests of the US to send troops into Syria and also oppose arming militant groups in the conflict, a recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac University showed.

The conflict in Syria started in March 2011, when pro-reform protests turned into a massive insurgency following the intervention of Western and regional states.

The unrest, which took in terrorist groups from across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, has transpired as one of the bloodiest conflicts in recent history.

As the foreign-backed insurgency in Syria continues without an end in sight, the US government has boosted its political and military support to Takfiri extremists.

Washington has remained indifferent about warnings by Russia and other world powers about the consequences of arming militant groups.


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