February 8th, 2012
10:22 AM ET

Why Syria isn't Libya

By Tim Lister

Amid growing outrage over civilian casualties in Syria, there are ever more urgent calls to aid - or at least protect - the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad. There is renewed talk of creating safe havens and humanitarian corridors inside the country. And those demanding tougher measures are again asking why events in Syria should not prompt Libyan-style intervention by NATO and its Arab allies.

In Washington Tuesday, Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said the United States "should consider all options, including arming the opposition. The blood-letting has got to stop."

So far, the international community's response to the violence in Syria has been limited. There has been diplomatic censure, with envoys withdrawn or "recalled for consultations," and Syrian ambassadors expelled from several Arab states. A growing raft of sanctions is draining the Syrian regime's coffers but only gradually sapping its strength. This is not a country that has relied on international trade for its survival.

Compare the situation to that in Libya - almost a year ago. As then-Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was about to unleash his forces on the rebel stronghold of Benghazi, the world came together in the shape of the U.N. Security Council to authorize international intervention and prevent a bloodbath.

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Filed under: Arab League • Libya • Middle East • NATO • Syria
soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. JoJo

    Libya had a small military force comparing tp Syria. The Libyan rebels were armed and fought the Army and NATO gave an aerial cover and they bomb targets that gave the rebels an edge in winning the revolt. In Syria the Army is about 400.000 men very well equipt, the Russian and the Chinese support them militarily and financially. And Iran is doing much of the killing to support Assad. As Israel has the US support, Syria and Iran have the Russian and the Chinese.

    February 8, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Reply

    i tink we have to xchange 4 sum gud o bad

    February 8, 2012 at 8:00 pm | Reply
  3. Buzzer

    I participated in a U.S./Israeli military exercise in May 06 right before the war in Lebanon. Went on a tour of Jerusalem in the middle of the two week exercise with a tour guide named Joel that was prior IDF and in his 40's. On the tour, conversation turned to Iraq and he said though he admired the idea of the U.S. trying to plant the "seeds of Democracy" it was a wishful thinking and he just laughed at the prospects of success in ANY country in the Middle East outside of Israel and Turkey. In addition, he said the West fails to understand the "time table" the Middle East is on compared to the West. What we think should take a couple of years will take a decade or more. The Middle East is on about "1/3 speed" as compared to the West when it comes to making "changes".

    February 8, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Reply
  4. mipolitic

    some guy named putin has docking rights in syria and that was not the case in the other place

    February 8, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Reply
  5. sam

    U.S. politicians needs to go to school and learn about the M/E since they have no idea how it's shaped and works. Democracy does not work in the middle east, look at Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, everything was replaced by religious extremist which they don't have love lost toward the US. Look at Iraq, after so many life wasted an Billion of $$$$ still not democratic and not better off and most of the minorities chased out!!!

    February 8, 2012 at 11:21 am | Reply
  6. BS!

    Why doesn't McCain SHUT UP? He and Lieberman advocated democracy and look at it now in Libya and Egypt! Much worse off??? At the end all will blame the US regardless what the US does. Democracy in the M/E? Impossible?

    February 8, 2012 at 11:01 am | Reply



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