Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Syria's Uncertain Air Defenses: "We do not know"

"... We do not know if Syria has seriously tried to halt IAF attacks. Syria has not been able to use these systems effectively against Israel since the early 1980s. Syria may be willing to wait out limited IAF strikes rather than reveal the electronic order of battle and send signals that would help Israel develop improved methods of suppression during a limited attack...., ..., ...This makes the Syrian forces vulnerable to U.S. military action to enforce some form of no fly/no move zone, but Syria still has a much larger and more capable mix of forces than Libya possessed. It would take a massive U.S. air and cruise missile attack to suppress it quickly and would be difficult for even two carrier groups to carry out and sustain. As a result, the United States would certainly desire land-bases from allies like Jordan and Turkey and the use of Qatari and/or Saudi bases.
Syria could also choose to ride out a U.S. threat and then constantly push the U.S. by appearing to prepare its forces, locking on radars, etc. These are tactics that would stress any U.S. forces enforcing a zone. Syria also knows all about them from U.S. operations in Iraq and the former Yugoslavia. In short, Syria does not have strong air defenses by U.S. standards but it is still very large. It would take a major U.S. air effort to accomplish quickly and the United States might well take some losses if Syria fought back and would have to have a sustained presence if Syria chose not to fight...."

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