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Think Tank Report Says US Intervention in Syria Could Require 300K Troops and Cost $300 Billion

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A new study by the Brookings Institution may alter the opinion of a growing number of Americans who believe the time has come for the United States to intervene in Syria before anymore atrocities are committed against the Syrian people by the brutal regime of Bashar al-Asad.

The think tank estimates that U.S. intervention in Syria involving on-the-ground forces could require between 200,000 and 300,000 troops and cost up to $300 billion per year to be executed properly. The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit think tank that claims to be nonpartisan.

"Even if Bashar fails, Syria may not be out of the woods: an increasingly likely alternative to the current regime is a bloody civil war similar to what we saw in Lebanon, Bosnia, Congo, and most recently in Iraq. The horrors of such a war might even exceed the brutal reassertion of Asad’s control, and would cause spillover into Syria’s neighbors—Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel—that could be disastrous for them and for American interests in the Middle East. "

The Brookings memo lays out six options for the United States to consider to achieve Asad’s overthrow, should it choose to do so:

  1. Removing the regime via diplomacy;
  2. Coercing the regime via sanctions and diplomatic isolation;
  3. Arming the Syrian opposition to overthrow the regime;
  4. Engaging in a Libya-like air campaign to help an opposition army gain victory;
  5. Invading Syria with U.S.-led forces and toppling the regime directly; and
  6. Participating in a multilateral, NATO-led effort to oust Asad and rebuild Syria.

Brookings does not endorse a policy option but rather seeks to explain the risks and benefits of possible courses of action at this moment in time. The report acknowledges the Obama administration's support for diplomatic solutions and Republicans like Sen. John McCain who has advocated a Libya-like air campaign.

The Hill notes that Russia and China vetoed a United Nations Security Council resolution last month that would have pushed for Assad to relinquish power.

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