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Hillary Clinton floats a Syria no-fly zone. How real an option for US?

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IN PICTURES: Inside Aleppo, Syria

Clinton spoke of a possible no-fly zone and other options for assisting Syria’s rebels in their fight to oust Assad after her meeting in Istanbul Saturday with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutaglu. Clinton said she and Mr. Davutaglu agreed that a no-fly zone and other assistance the rebels are seeking from Western powers “need greater in-depth analysis,” adding that “you cannot make reasoned decisions without doing intense analysis and operational planning.”

Translation: Any decision is not for tomorrow. But just the mention of a possible no-fly zone suggests the West may be moving closer to the kind of military intervention it undertook in Libya last year on the side of rebels opposed to Muammar Qaddafi – and which Russia has bitterly criticized.

NATO’s intervention in Libya followed UN Security Council action that the West took as a green light. That is why some international security analysts say any US-backed military involvement in Syria at this point would more closely resemble Western intervention in the Balkans in the 1990’s, which followed UN paralysis on the conflict.

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