Don’t overrate Iran’s role in Syria. Iran is an important source of financing, but this is President Assad’s battle to win or lose. There is a sort of Sunni-Shia version of the Spanish Civil War going on now. Turkey isn’t the good guy here. The Islamist regime in Ankara isn’t opposing the Syrian regime out of its love for democracy. Erdogan’s government wants to have a fellow Sunni Islamist dictatorship in Damascus, preferably under its influence.
This is a war to the death. The government elite would face death, exile, or long-term imprisonment if it loses. Similarly, the dominant Alawite community and large portions of the Christian one risk massacre if the government falls. Unlike in Egypt and Tunisia, the armed forces cannot usher in a new regime under which it can hope to keep its privileges.
The best-known opposition group is the Syrian National Council (SNC), which was assembled by the U.S. using the Islamist regime in Turkey. Given its Western backing, the SNC is surprisingly dominated by Islamists.
(Barry Rubin – Jerusalem Post)