As I perused the web this morning, I learned the British and Germans don't support striking Syria. Perhaps they are weary of war or perhaps they don't see compelling evidence to support missiles strikes that have the very real possibility of escalating matters into a full-blown regional war. Germany may also be disinclined to support US actions since it was revealed the NSA had been spying on our ally (another hot potato from the Snowden scandal).
But this got me thinking, what of Syria's allies (Russia and Iran)? George Mirsky wrote a great analysis of this very question. The following quote best summarizes his answer:
Russia does not have to do anything, it can just sit quiet. The situation is advantageous to Moscow. Our leaders will be only too happy to see the US start a new war it cannot win. George MirskyFT.com
The Obama administration faces more problems than it solves with a missile attack. It proves the American people are unwilling to support any type of invasion. As George Mirsky points out, a full-blown air campaign involved manned aircraft is out since it would risk pilots to being captured. Drones are out since the Syrian air defense systems and air force are still intact. The only option, and one proven unsuccessful in creating a regime change, are cruise missiles.
Russia and Iran both stand much more to gain out of this than does the United States. Mr. Obama has said previously how the world Muslim world hates the United States. The airstrike will validate the contentions of those in the Muslim world who hate the United States while doing very little to force Assad out.
The missile strikes could have started today. Many in Congress have been pushing Mr. Obama not to proceed. Perhaps he is rethinking this strategy.