By Michael O'Hanlon – Special to CNN
As the violence worsens in Syria, the United States and international community are in a dilemma. Even more serious than the recent veto by Russia and China of a U.N. Security Council resolution criticizing the regime of Bashar al-Assad, there are no great options for how to respond.
The various Syrian factions and populations are far too interspersed for a Libya-like operation to work. Al-Assad and his army are far too strong, still, for a simple and small peacekeeping mission to succeed. It would be opposed by the regime if it tried to enter the country. And if we invaded, the specter of an Iraq-style imbroglio would loom given Syria’s size and given the multitude of nefarious actors there.
That leaves three main types of possible military options. All are limited in scale and scope; therefore, all promise only mediocre results. I do not favor any just yet, and we should only consider them in the event of strong Arab League and NATO support and participation. But if the situation continues to worsen, we cannot look idly by, either.
Read about the three options on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS blog