Russia's in. China's in. The United States is in. Iran is in, so is Israel. Everyone else within pipeline distance might soon be in also. It's still about Syria, sort of, in a way but that's what proxy wars are always like.
Russia is arming Assad and providing him with sophisticated systems that might turn out to be an effective air defence network capable of defending Syria against Israeli or American aircraft and cruise missiles. China is toying with the idea of establishing a Mediterranean naval presence in Syria. Iran is backing Assad against the Great Satan, threatening to attack Israel if the U.S. attacks Syrian forces. Israel has already conducted airstrikes inside Syria aimed, we're told, at taking out Russian-made air defence systems. The United States, meanwhile, is funneling money, weapons and training to the rebels or at least those it considers somewhat less odious than al-Qaeda fighters.
Obama was more or less honour-bound to strike Syria before Britain's David Cameron's participation was vetoed by Parliament. Now Obama has gone in search of Congressional authorization.
Meanwhile U.N. Sec-Gen Ban has said the U.S. must obtain authorization from the United Nations before attacking Syria. Right.
"The use of force is lawful only when in exercise of
self-defense in accordance with Article 51 of the United Nations
charter and/or when the Security Council approves of such
action," Ban said. "That is a firm principle of the United
Obama said on Saturday he was "comfortable going forward
without the approval of a United Nations Security Council that
so far has been completely paralyzed and unwilling to hold Assad
It would be one thing if a few strikes could tilt the balance between Assad and the rebels as it did between Gadaffi and the Libyan rebels but that doesn't seem likely. Worse, an attack would probably up Russia's backing for Assad and the evolution of the drawn out proxy war.