Syria: What happens next?
Middle East: Iran threatens Arab countries over Syria intervention. 'A commander of Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guards has warned Arab countries not to intervene in Syria, threatening them with retaliation if they do. ...'
Syria: If Assad falls, what comes next? Michael Totten:
It’s time we decided whether or not we want a vote, so to speak, in which direction this goes. An Iraq-style intervention is off the table. A Libya-style intervention is a distant possibility. Far more plausible is gun-running to the Free Syrian Army. That will likely be the next stage of the conflict whether the United States gets involved or it doesn’t. Assad has too many enemies in the greater Middle East who are itching to finally be rid of him.
The prospect of a proxy war ought to make everyone pause and swallow hard, especially because Syria presents so many variables and competing interests. The final outcome can’t possibly be controlled. But it’s a near-certainty that the final outcome will be worse if the Free Syrian Army gets assistance from al-Qaeda, the Saudis, or Turkey’s Islamist prime minister instead of from the United States.
Perhaps the best reason, though, to get rid of Assad while we can is the grim prospect of what will happen if he wins.
“If the regime survives,” says Tony Badran, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, “the message in terms of regional power dynamics is stark: Iran and Russia stand by their allies to the end while the US does not. The US will appear to have no understanding of the strategic contest and balance of power, and will be—wittingly or not—shielding its enemies. The fundamental rule of foreign policy is straightforward: you protect and reward your friends, and you punish your enemies.”
By facilitating the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq, Bashar hoped to show Syrians what lay in store for them should they embrace the Americans’ freedom agenda—not democracy but civil war. Instead, what Assad’s policy illuminated for Sunni Arabs was the sectarian nature of the region. No matter how much the Assad regime waved the banner of Arab nationalism and cursed Israel, the Sunnis’ most pressing hostility was with the minority clique that they decided, on reflection, had no right to rule them. ...
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