U.S. military intervention in Syria could require between 200,000 and 300,000 U.S. troops on the ground at a cost of up to $300 billion per year to American taxpayers, says a new report from the Bookings Institution Saban Center for Middle East Policy.
Though there has been no talk of a strategy involving invasion of the country yet, the organization points out the difficulties associated with President Barack Obama’s goal of removing Syrian President Bashar Assad from power.
The report discusses invasion as one of six ways that Obama’s goal could be met, including:
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,
6. Participating in a multilateral, NATO-led effort to oust Assad and rebuild Syria.
The report contends that no matter which course of action were followed the cost to the United States would likely be great and that the options that would come at a lesser cost to the United States are also those most likely to fail.
“At the end of the day, however, removing Assad may not be doable at a price the United States is willing to pay,” the report states. “Although the Obama administration has for months called for Assad to go, every policy option to remove him is flawed, and some could even make the situation worse — seemingly a recipe for inaction.”