The Royal Navy only has one class of vessel that can fire the Tomahawk missile and that is their nuclear attack submarines. Our nuclear subs can also do so, particularly the SSGN Ohio conversions, each of which can carry up to 154 Tomahawks.
We would also use our Burke class destroyers, of which we have gathered four there off the coast of Syria.
But there are also some serious concerns. The Russians sold the Syrians several very advanced surface to surface anti-shipping missiles called Yakhonts. They are the Russian export version of their P-800 Onik missiles which the NATO designation for is SS-N-26. Mach 2.5, 185 mile range, flies at 30 ft. A tough weapon to counter.
The Israelis hit the Syrian port where these missiles were delivered and most analysts believe their target were in fact these missiles. Did they get them all? We just do not know. if they have any...they would use them against naval forces attacking them if they can.
The second concern is the Russians. the Russians already have a group of decent vessels in the area and on Friday Putin threatened to reinforce them with more units as a response to the US Navy positioning four destroyers near Syria. Is Putin willing to use them? Would he do so to protet his interests in Syria? it is a critical question and consideration because the Russian vessels are state of the art and not push overs by any stretch.
Finally, the most basic question is very straight forward. What are the US interests in this?
Both Bush presidencies and Clinton found a way to work with, or tolerate Assad. None of them tried to over throw him. That is because there is a very critical balancing act going on there. Assad is far more stable and less dangerous to our actual interests than a chaos that is filled by fundamental Islamic extremists.
A storng enough Assad to keep in check the sectarian and minority strife in the region is critical. There is a delicate balance with the various Muslim sects and the Kurds there for Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran. As long as we remind Assad, whenever he steps over aline that threatens our interests, using Israel as the hammer, that has kept all of this in balance.
but nomw Obama, with his “Arab Spriong,” fixation, which itself seems intent on installing radical Islamic regimes throughout the region, is in danger of upsetting all of this.
Thank God the people of Egypt and their military saw through it and had enough before two years was out and before Morsi could consolidate his power. He and the Muslim Brotherhood are no out in Egypt and that is a very good thing.
I do not believe Russia will allow Syria to either fall into chaos or become a new extremist Islamic Republic. we shouldn’t either.
So, my prayer is that the liberal administrations of the UK, France, and the US will not prevail in this desire to continue to support upheaval in Syria. Unless there is a very strong, pro-western, secular group that can take power in Syria (and there isn’t) we should not support the islamic rebels trying to overthrow Assad. We would be far better off maintaining the status quo there.
Just a point: the UK doesnt rely on Tomahawks. We have them, but we have our own missile.