National Security Brief: Former Top U.N. Official Calls For No-Fly Zone In Syria

Norwegian General Robert Mood, the former head of the U.N. peace monitoring mission in Syria, said on Wednesday that it’s time to implement a no-fly zone in the civil war-raveged country.

“I have come to the conclusion there has to be a leveling on the playing field,” Mood told the BBC. “To level the playing field now in the military terms would be to consider no-fly zones, to consider whether the Patriots in Turkey could have a role also in taking on some responsibility for the northern part of Syria.”

Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) made a similar call last week, saying that the U.S. should consider establishing safe zones within Syria for the rebels and taking out Syrian air capabilities.

Former Syrian opposition leader Moaz Al-Khatib asked the United States and NATO for Patriot missions to defend rebel-held areas within the country but he was rebuffed and has since resigned his position.


At the same time, however, Mood did not think that sending more arms to the region would be helpful. “As a principle point of view, I do believe that more weapons is not going to bring less suffering to the women and children in the neighborhoods of Damascus and in Aleppo and in the other cities in Syria,” he said.

Former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan, who was the former Arab League/U.N. peace envoy to Syria, said on Wednesday that it’s “too late” for military intervention in Syria. “Further militarization of the conflict, I’m not sure that is the way to help the Syrian people. They are waiting for the killing to stop. You find some people far away from Syria are the ones very keen for putting in weapons.

“My own view is that as late as it is we have to find a way of pouring water on the fire rather than the other way around,” he said.

In other news:

  • The New York Times reports: The effort over many years to forge an international treaty regulating the booming $70 billion annual trade in conventional weapons headed toward fruition on Wednesday with a final draft sent to the governments of all United Nations member states for approval.
  • CBS News: The United States military made the rare announcement Thursday that it had flown two of its most advanced bombers in an “extended deterrence mission” all the way from Missouri to the Korean Peninsula, where they dropped inert dummy bombs, in a move clearly aimed at warning North Korea against further provocations.