Syria areas of rebel control and cruise missile diplomacy

The Syrian mess may yet suck the United States into a cruise missile, or no fly zone, war reminiscent of the Clinton era of the 1990s

It is important to note the Syrian “rebels” control the border near Turkey, the majority of the area west of Damascus and surround a number of the major towns. What they do NOT control are any of the ports on the Mediterranean Sea.

The no fly zones enforced by the United States on Iraq – Operation Southern Watch and Operation Northern Watch – carved that nation into thirds. Nothing of Saddam Hussein’s flew in the south or the north, but around Baghdad, Hussein’s “air force” could move about. Although the no-fly zones were in effect from the end of the 1991 Gulf War, it was really enforced around the clock for some eight years – late 1994 until early 2003, when the US invaded Iraq. 

Another no-fly zone – Operation Deny Flight – was enforced over Bosnia, by NATO (primarily the United States and the United Kingdom) from 1993 until 1995 and again in 1999 when a series of NATO attacks brought down the Bosnian leadership. 

On several occasions, President Bill Clinton ordered targets in North Africa, Iraq and Bosnia attacked with cruise missiles for attacks on Americans. 

These were costly, and not without impact to US troops, but nowhere near the $2 trillion spent on the Iraq War and occupation of 2003-2011.  Each missile costs about $1.5 million and requires no human to pilot it. Fighter jets cost around $40 million a piece, and have single pilots or pilots and multiple aircrew members. 

The cruise missile strikes were a mixed bag of success. Yes, 50-200 cruise missiles can rain down on a target, and destroy facilities and armored staging areas of tanks and military vehicles. However, they don’t end wars. Occupying forces end wars. 

Below, the latest cruise missile variant from Raytheon – the Tomahawk Block IV:


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