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Syrian Opposition Leader Calls on the U.S. to Bomb Lebanon

The Syrian opposition’s demands are becoming less and less realistic:

“What we want from the U.S. government is to take the decision to support the Syrian revolution with weapons and ammunition, anti-tank missiles and anti-aircraft weapons,” Idris said. “Of course we want a no-fly zone and we ask for strategic strikes against Hezbollah both inside Lebanon and inside Syria [bold mine-DL].”

Since it seems unlikely that the U.S. will agree to most of these, I suppose Idris can demand whatever he wants and it won’t make much difference. Regardless, it’s important to recognize the enormous gap between what the Syrian opposition thinks it should receive and what the U.S. is prepared to offer. Calling for the U.S. to bomb Hizbullah targets in Syria and Lebanon is an obvious non-starter, or at least it should be. If that is what intervention in Syria now requires, that is one more reason not to intervene. It’s useful to remember how the 2006 war in Lebanon boosted Hizbullah’s political fortunes inside Lebanon and in the wider region. It is to Hizbullah’s advantage when it can claim that it is resisting attacks on Lebanon, so a U.S.-led attack against it inside Lebanon would probably backfire.

Not only would such strikes cause civilian casualties and probably create additional refugees, but it would likely increase sectarian conflict in Lebanon, whose stability the U.S. is supposed to want to protect. There are few things I can think of that would make already skeptical Americans even more reluctant to become involved in Syria’s conflict than a demand from the opposition to launch military strikes inside one of Syria’s neighbors. If it wasn’t already apparent that Western intervention in Syria would lead to greater destabilization of Syria’s neighbors, this should make it clear.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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