Editor’s Note: Soner Cagaptay is director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a visiting professor at Georgetown University. Andrew J. Tabler is Next Generation Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and author of the upcoming book "In the Lion’s Den: An Eyewitness Account of Washington’s Battle with Syria."
By Andrew J. Tabler and Soner Cagaptay – Special to CNN
Over 8,500 Syrians have taken refuge in Turkey, escaping a violent crackdown by the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.
As the crisis continues in Syria, Turkey is reportedly preparing to accept tens of thousands of more refugees. Indeed, if violence continues, there will certainly be more Syrian refugees flooding into Turkey. The consequences of this will be profound for the U.S., Syria, Turkey and the region. FULL POST
Editor's Note: Mara E. Karlin was Levant Director at the Pentagon in 2006-7 and Special Assistant to the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy in 2007-9. Andrew J. Tabler is Next Generation Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the author of the forthcoming book In the Lion's Den: An Eyewitness Account of Washington's Battle With Syria.
By Mara Karlin and Andrew J. Tabler
Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama gave Syrian President Bashar al-Assad an ultimatum: Lead a transition to democracy, or, in Obama's words, "get out of the way."
The speech recognized an inconvenient truth for Washington: Although the Assad regime has not yet reached a tipping point like that of the Ben Ali and Mubarak regimes, nearly three months of protests across Syria have shaken the Assad regime to its core.
Government forces have killed 1,000 protesters and arrested another 10,000, yet demonstrators continue to fill the streets demanding the fall of the government.
Assad is now caught in a dilemma: He can continue relying on his fellow Alawite security chiefs and the minority system they dominate to persecute the predominately Sunni protesters, or he can enact deep political reforms that could convince the protesters to return home but would end the Alawite-led system on which he so heavily relies. Either way, the Assad regime as it has existed for more than four decades is disintegrating.