Dempsey warns: Intervention in Syria will cost billions

In letter to Senate, US Joint Chief of Staff chief offers list of different military options open before US, but expresses trepidation at all, citing high costs, possible retaliation against Americans

WASHINGTON – In a letter to the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin, the chairman of the US' Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey revealed Tuesday the list of potential courses of action the US can take to tip the balance in favor of the rebels fighting to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad.


In the letter, which detailed the costs and logistical ins and outs of each option, Dempsey also expressed his reservation regarding the advisability of taking military action in Syria, which he claims would require “hundreds of aircraft, ships, submarines and other enablers,” and would cost “in the billions.”


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The letter indicated two courses of action open before the US in Syria: A direct attack or an indirect effort to train opposition forces. The latter, he claims, would involve sending hundreds if not thousands of forces and would cost the US around half a billion dollars.


Rebels in Aleppo (Photo: AFP)
Rebels in Aleppo (Photo: AFP)


On the other hand, direct course of action would be efficient only if a large force of "enablers" as well as air and sea craft were deployed, a Dempsey he estimates would cost "in the billions."


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In response to Republican's demands that the US enforce no-fly zones over certain areas in Syria in a bid to prevent President Assad's forces from bombing densely populated rebel-controlled areas, Dempsey claimed the move would cost the US around a billion dollars a month.


This is also the price of forming a US-protected refugee area, which will be manned and guarded by hundreds of US forces.


Despite his reservation, Dempsey said that “All of these options would likely further the narrow military objective of helping the opposition and placing more pressure on the regime.”


He nonetheless warned that “Once we take action, we should be prepared for what comes next. Deeper involvement is hard to avoid.”


Any such military intervention or use force “is no less than an act of war,” General Dempsey warned, adding that the US “could inadvertently empower extremists or unleash the very chemical weapons we seek to control" – control that would also cost the US roughly a billion dollar a month.


Orly Azoulay is a Washington based Yedioth Ahronoth reporter



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פרסום ראשון: 07.24.13, 17:55
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