US military intervention in Syria unlikely without UN backingJun-02-2012
While Syria is blaming rebel fighters for a weekend massacre in Houla, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says he doesn't see the U.S. taking military action without the backing of the U.N. Security Council.
Panetta says his greatest responsibility is to make sure that if U.S. troops are deployed in any military role, that America has the support it needs from the international community.
His comments Thursday came a day after Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, suggested that some type of military intervention may be the only remaining option because diplomatic efforts so far have failed to remove Syrian President Bashar Assad from power.
"No, I cannot envision that," Panetta said when asked about military action without U.N. backing. Still he said that all options remain on the table and that the Pentagon is planning for "any contingency."
"But, ultimately, you know, the international community and the president of the United States are going to have to decide what steps to take," Panetta told reporters traveling with him to the Shangri-La Dialogue, a prominent defense conference in Singapore.
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