The Madness Of Calling For A No Fly Zone In Syria – OpEd


The Labour MPs in Britain and assorted bleeding heart Twitter liberals called again for a No Fly Zone in Syria. One might have wondered that this insanity is over, but no…like a Phoenix it comes up every time there’s a bombing raid in Aleppo.

Unfortunately, Labour’s plan had zero specifics on how the NFZ would be achieved. Nothing on how to do it. Nothing about security dilemma or escalatory spiral. Nothing on why should we do it anyway, other than to “save Syrians”. Or what British interest would it achieve. Nothing about if a Western plane gets shot down, should we counter escalate, or climb down.

Here’s a simple war gaming simulation for all the Twitter bleeding hearts. Let’s go on to impose a NFZ in Syria. We try and knock out C4ISR. The Syrians delegate their anti-air ops to the Rus. The Russians come with fighter escorts, or worse, the Russians shoot down a Western jet. The Russians then say it was rebels or ISIS that shot it down. Should the West escalate? Climb down? If they climb down, what about perception and resolve? What if there is asymmetric escalation? Proxies attacking Western interests in other places? What about mission creep? If you haven’t done these aforementioned threat assessments and are calling for NFZ or intervention, you’re insane. Leave it to the pros. If you still want to take risk of escalation with Russia over Syria where there’s no long term geo-strategic interest, you’re an idiot. 

Thankfully, sane minds prevailed.4c1dd39d-4a62-4836-af93-d8e44d676152


At the end of the day, politics is not about emotion, but about capability. Not what you should or ought to do, but what you can do. And as repeated scholarly analysis proves, there’s simply nothing we could do about Syria, nor will anything be even remotely in our interest. As of the people dying, people die everywhere…whether in Syria or Yemen. Middle East is an economic basket case in fifty years and a demographic time bomb about to explode, and the best solution is to leave the entire region to its fate.

For more on this…

  1. Guardian : Boris Johnson calls for protests outside the Russian embassy.
  2. The National Interest : On Syria
  3. Watch FP Experts roundtable.

Sumantra Maitra

Sumantra Maitra is a Doctoral researcher at the University of Nottingham, UK. He spends way too much time on Twitter, @MrMaitra

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