When looking for insights and answers to the complex problem the United States confronts in Syria, there is no shortage of examples of punitive military operations against bad actors from which to draw lessons. In the past 30 years the United States and its allies have launched punitive airstrikes against, to name a few: Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Bosnia, Kosovo, Sudan and Afghanistan. Clearly the “measured military response” is a favored approach for American leaders when dealing with rogue actors. What is interesting this time around is the unprecedented public debate about whether or not such tactical measures actually work. Read More
From the Aug. 19, 2013 Congressional Research Service Report:
This report provides a brief overview of the key issues for Congress related to Egypt. U.S. policy makers are now grappling with complex questions about the future of U.S.-Egypt relations, particularly in light of the growing unrest and violence currently unfolding. These debates are shaping consideration of appropriations and authorization legislation and congressional oversight options in the 113th Congress. Read More
The guided missile destroyer USS Mahan (DDG-72) has left the Eastern Mediterranean en route to its homeport at Naval Station Norfolk, Va., according to several press reports.
Mahan’s departure leaves four destroyers left to undertake an anticipated limited strike on Syria.
The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN-68), its escort of three Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyers and one Ticonderoga guided missile cruiser have been tasked to the Red Sea ahead of an expected U.S. strike on Syria, several news services reported on Monday. Read More
Even after shocking details emerged about Bashar al-Assad’s likely use of chemical weapons against his opponents in Syria, public opinion in the United States is decidedly unenthusiastic about a potential intervention. In opinion polls, large majorities say they want nothing to do with the worsening situation in Syria and express no desire to help the anti-Assad opposition. There is, however, a significant popular-elite split: While the populace as a whole is firmly against an intervention, foreign-policy elites are overwhelmingly in favor. Read More
The Asia-Pacific region recently has seen a rise in construction of multipurpose, aviation-capable ships by major area powers. Australia, China, South Korea, Japan and Thailand all have built ships with full-length flight decks with a variety of purposes: some as helicopter carriers, some as amphibious assault ships. Only one, China’s Liaoning, was built to accommodate traditional fixed-wing aircraft carrier operations, but many others, such as Japan’s Izumo-class of helicopter destroyers could conceivably carry some form of vertical or short takeoff-and-landing aircraft. Read More
Though the anti-whaling organization Sea Shepherd’s controversial tactics — popularized through the Animal Planet’s Whale Wars — polarize opinion between professional mariners and environmentalists, they are worthy of study as a maritime non-state actor. Read More
The news headlines indicate that a military strike against Syria is imminent. Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said on MSNBC on Monday that he anticipates, “a surgical, proportional strike against the Assad regime for what they have done.” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) worried about diminishing American credibility, “if the United States stands by and doesn’t take very serious action.” Read More
The U.S. and China conducted two days of counter piracy drills in the Gulf of Aden in a rare show of military cooperation, following last week’s visit of the head of the Chinese Ministry of Defense. Read More