by Matthew Rusling
WASHINGTON, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) -- As the Obama administration gears up to take military actions on embattled Syria, some U.S. experts warned such a move could backfire.
Ramping up U.S. involvement in the chaotic country could be messy, too, they said, adding that there is no guarantee that U.S. forces will locate the alleged chemical weapons.
Moreover, innocents are likely to be caught in the crossfire, which will prompt critics to blast Washington.
The experts also said the U.S. is not in a position to conduct a third war in 12 years, adding that an attack on Syria would be a far cry from the 2011 ouster of former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.
Libya had virtually no military and was internationally isolated. By sharp contrast, Syria is backed by Hezbollah, Iran and Russia.
Some analysts painted a picture of what a strike might look like.
"Since the U.S., the U.K. and any other NATO forces involved wish to avoid losing aircraft and aircrew over Syrian government controlled territory, attacks almost certainly would be limited to cruise missiles, long-range aircraft-mounted standoff munitions, as well as, perhaps, a few stealth fighters able to snake their way through Syrian air defenses," said Wayne White, former deputy director of the State Department's Middle East Intelligence Office.
Command and control targets could range from targets as large as the Syrian Defense Ministry down to individual important unit headquarters elements, such as those associated with the elite 4th Mechanized Division and the Republican Guard Division, White, now a scholar at the Washington-based Middle East Institute, told Xinhua.
Jeffrey Martini, a Middle East analyst with policy research group Rand Corp., claimed the U.S. move is largely driven by the need to retain its credibility worldwide, as President Barack Obama had said any use of chemical weapons in Syria would cross a "red-line" that could spark military action.
But other experts questioned the point of the U.S. motive, saying such a move would do little to project a stronger image around the world.
A strike could even backfire, some critics warned.
In 1998, two weeks after the al-Qaida attack on two U.S. embassies in Africa, then U.S. President Bill Clinton lobbed cruise missiles at a factory in Sudan and an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan.
But the attacks did very little damage and emboldened terror mastermind Osama bin Laden to launch the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington - the most deadly terror strike in U.S. history.