One week in, the UN-brokered ceasefire in Syria seems to be holding. That doesn’t mean the Obama Administration can’t dream, however, of a day when the ceasefire collapses and they can use it as an excuse to attack.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta says that the administration is looking to last year’s Libya war as a model for intervention in Syria, but that this depends on being able to secure international support for the attack.
This is likely to be much more difficult because of Libya, as many in the UN Security Council didn’t realize that an authorization for a no-fly zone in Libya would quickly snowball into a war of regime change. There is no illusion this time, and those opposed to the war have been careful to reject any nebulous language in UN resolutions specifically to prevent the US from starting this war.
Further complicating the “Libya model” is what a disaster Libya is actually turning into, with the rebel factions NATO installed at the end of the war engaging in wholesale human rights violations and fighting one another, seemingly on the verge of a new civil war at any given time.
In the meantime, US officials aren’t waiting for the ceasefire to actually end to escalate the rhetoric, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demanding a new round of sanctions against the Assad regime and a full arms embargo to punish it for “non-compliance” with the ceasefire, even though by all accounts the ceasefire actually is still in effect. Clinton conceded that the resolution is almost certain to be vetoed but as usual didn’t appear to understand why.