Even as top American officials say they have no plans for military intervention in Syria, the Pentagon is reportedly reviewing its options as the death toll continues to mount in Syria's ten-month crackdown.
Still, American officials and analysts said talk of any Libya-style military intervention in Syria is highly premature.
"Obama, Rice, Clinton have ruled out military intervention," former Pentagon Syria and Lebanon analyst David Schenker told Yahoo News Wednesday. Reports that the Pentagon is reviewing Syria options "make it sound like they are doing something. It doesn't strike me as a serious threat" to use force, he said.
"The Pentagon is constantly reviewing plans, taking plans off the shelf, looking at them, honing them, updating them," Schenker continued.
In an interview with NBC's Matt Lauer taped last Sunday, President Obama downplayed prospects for action. "I think it is very important for us to try to resolve this without recourse to outside military intervention, and I think that's possible," he said. On Tuesday, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice said the same to CNN's Wolf Blitzer:"Before we start talking about military options, we very much want to ensure that we have exhausted all the political, economic and diplomatic means at our disposal."
Why are American so reluctant to militarily intervene in Syria, given that they were quick to launch a NATO-led no-fly zone over Libya last March?
"Syria is a lot more complicated," Schenker said, noting its borders with Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, and Israel, sectarian divisions, and arsenal of anti-aircraft weapons. "It would be a far more complex operation."
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