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Syria Opinion: "The US Must Act Soon" --- James Miller in The American Prospect

Map showing proximity of a Baath Party headquarters, seized by insurgents on Thursday, and a regime base suspected of holding chemical weapons

On Thursday the Free Syrian Army captured the Baath Party Headquarters in Al Safiyah, only two kilometres from major chemical weapons depot.

That event added urgency to a question I was asked to consider for The American Prospect: what can the US do about Syria? With the insurgents on the advance, and the international community ratcheting up pressure on the Assad regime, time is running out to find ways to end the crisis quickly and with as little bloodshed and instability as possible.

What are the options? A partial no-fly zone, a larger no-fly zone, or a military bluff are among them. But this is the overriding point: if the US does decide to act, it best do so soon.

An excerpt of the article:

It is hard to pigeonhole courses of action into "left" or "right" on this issue, and there are no risk-free options, but the United States needs to play a more decisive role in shaping the future of the region—and quickly. The irony is that while the U.S. was worried about avoiding another “Iraq quagmire", Syria has degraded from a peaceful revolution into an armed rebellion, and now resembles a free-for-all power grab by regional powers and extremists.

Just today, the rebels captured a major government building in Al Safirah —-- home to what may be Assad's largest chemical weapons facility --- and according to reports they are closing in on the base containing the weapons depot. If this base were to fall, there's no telling where these weapons will wind up.

The United States and its NATO allies have to ensure that Assad falls on their terms to ensure a new, peaceful democratic government that respects minorities and safeguards Assad's chemical weapons stockpile—weapons which, if no action is taken, could fall into the wrong hands.

Read the entire article at the American Prospect.

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