Britain has to be prepared to “go to war” if it wishes to restrain the Syrian regime by implementing no-fly zones and arming the rebels, the outgoing head of the armed forces warns today.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, General Sir David Richards said that “if you want to have the material impact on the Syrian regime’s calculations that some people seek” then “ground targets” would have to be “hit”.
The Chief of the Defence Staff also warns that the Government needs to clarify its “political objective” in Syria before a coherent military plan for dealing with the Assad regime can be recommended.
Last month, David Cameron and Barack Obama indicated that they would look at military measures after evidence emerged showing that the Syrian regime was using chemical weapons against its citizens.
Sir David, 61, said: “If you wanted to have the material impact on the Syrian regime’s calculations that some people seek, a no fly zone per se is insufficient.
“You have to be able, as we did successfully in Libya, to hit ground targets.
“You have to establish a ground control zone. You have to take out their air defences. You also have to make sure they can’t manoeuvre – which means you have to take out their tanks, and their armoured personnel carriers and all the other things that are actually doing the damage.
“If you want to have the material effect that people seek you have to be able to hit ground targets and so you would be going to war if that is what you want to do.”
He added: “That is rightly a huge and important decision. There are many arguments for doing to but there are many arguments for not doing so too.”
Full article: Army chief: We risk war with Syria (The Telegraph)