(WASHINGTON) — In an appearance on ABC’s This Week, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said that American military strikes against Syria are likely, an opinion echoed by several other officials.
“I think [President Obama] signaled that he’s ready to use that military action,” Richardson said. “We can’t have boots on the ground, but I think potentially some kind of option like air strikes against some of those weapons sites to protect the rebels are in the cards, in my view.”
“Now, I think what happened with Israel is, Israel is also sending a signal to Iran, to Hezbollah, possibly to us too, that the situation right in the Syrian area is getting very, very tense.” He continued.
Syrian television is reporting that Israeli warplanes have struck a second set of targets within Syria. This would be the second such strike within 48 hours. An Iranian military official said that Hezbollah will respond to these Israeli strikes, and Israel has moved two of its famous Iron Dome anti-missile batteries into the north and near the borders of Syria and Lebanon.
Western intelligence sources say the strike was an attempt to stop a shipment of Iranian-made missiles heading to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
In an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press, Democratric Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont said that the apparent success of the Israeli strikes means that the regime’s defense systems aren’t impenetrable, indicating that an air-based American response could prove effective.
“I think the fact that they were able to go in there shows that perhaps the Russian-supplied air defense systems are not as good as were said,” Leahy said.
Senator John McCain is among those advocating the need for a definite response while avoiding putting troops on the ground.
“We need to have a game-changing action and that is no American boots on the ground, establish a safe zone, and to protect it and to supply weapons to the right people,” said McCain while on Fox News Sunday.
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Catherine E. Shoichet, Max Blau and Steve Almasy, CNN
Karla Pequenino, CNN
Sheena McKenzie, CNN
Laura Smith-Spark, CNN