The Assad regime is vicious and repressive. It has no legitimacy and holds on to power by brute force alone. It is also Iran’s only Arab ally, the arms supplier to Hizbullah, and an enemy of the U.S. that worked hard to send jihadis to Iraq to kill Americans. So the fall of the regime should be an American policy goal, and in this we will have considerable Arab and European support. The likely Sunni-led replacement will not have the close relationship with Iran and Hizbullah that the Assad clique has established.
The Free Syrian Army, which began with little more than press releases, is now a force in the thousands and we should be helping arm and fund it. Why? Because the real questions in Syria now are who will win and how long will this take. We ought to find an Assad victory (or perhaps one should say an Assad, Russian, Chinese, Iranian, and Hizbullah victory) unacceptable. The writer is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at CFR.
(Elliott Abrams – Council on Foreign Relations)
See also Indirect Intervention in Syria – Jeffrey White
Since direct international military intervention in Syria has been ruled out, indirect intervention – the provision of military and political assistance to the regime’s opponents – offers an alternative option that could yield success with less risk and cost.
The U.S. and others could provide weapons, training and intelligence to resistance fighters, help build enhanced capabilities for sabotage operations, and support a campaign of political warfare. Such a campaign could include information and psychological operations directed at the regime, the jamming of Syrian government communications, and the undermining of loyalties to the regime through financial or personal security inducements (e.g., exemption from prosecution, visas, and offers of asylum). The writer, a former senior intelligence officer, is a defense fellow at The Washington Institute. (Washington Institute for Near East Policy)