What if al-Assad prevails?
May 30th, 2013
10:51 AM ET

What if al-Assad prevails?

By Charles Dunne, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Charles Dunne is the director Middle East and North Africa programs at Freedom House. The views expressed are his own.

Let’s imagine a world in which Bashar al-Assad wins a military victory, remains in power, and defies the world to deal with him. Because, unfortunately, it appears to be an all too plausible scenario.

An influx of Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon, and support from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, has intensified fighting along the strategic corridor from Qusayr to Damascus. Reported use of chemical weapons, most probably by the Syrian government, has crossed a red line that the U.S. government has ignored, and thus sent a clear and discouraging message to the opposition. Hezbollah commander Hassan Nasrallah, for his part, said in a May 26 television address that Hezbollah would beat down al-Assad's opponents and stay in Syria as long as it needed to do it. “We will continue this road until the end, we will take the responsibility and we will make all the sacrifices,” Nasrallah said. “We will be victorious.”

Indeed, the head of German intelligence now estimates al-Assad’s rule is more stable than any time in the last two years, and he is likely to retake the southern half of the country by the end of this year.

Gerhard Schindler used graphics and maps in a meeting with select politicians “to demonstrate that Assad’s troops once again possess effective supply lines to ensure sufficient quantities of weapons and other materiel,” Der Spiegel reported. “Fuel supplies for tanks and military aircraft, which had proved troublesome, are once again available, Schindler reported. The new situation allows Assad’s troops to combat spontaneous rebel attacks and even retake positions that were previously lost.”

More from CNN: McCain visits rebels

Meanwhile, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, pushing a peace conference at some point in the future, said in Amman on May 22 that “We don’t need more proof that now is the time to act…What we need to do is act.”


The fact is that the lack of U.S. action, especially compared with the energetic involvement of Iran and Hezbollah, amounts to an abdication of responsibility.

An al-Assad victory will lead to a more militant Syria, critically dependent upon Iran and Hezbollah. The Syrian state, if it can remain unified (a big if) will be gripped by sectarian tensions and vengeance killings, not unlike Iraq in 2006-07. The country is likely to remain a playground for terrorists, many of whom were, ironically, permitted free access by the al-Assad regime to fight Americans in Iraq. Now they’re coming back to fight against al-Assad’s regime.

And don’t forget the impact on the Middle East “peace process”: a wounded Syria, on which so much depends, will be unable to negotiate a peace with Israel, and indeed may be tempted to intensify hostilities to gather credibility at home.

Finally, Iran will gain the upper hand in a shadow war with the Persian Gulf States and their ally, the United States.  This is no small victory in a struggle for power in the region that has been going on since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

America has so far provided $510 million in humanitarian assistance to Syria and $250 million in support to the Syrian Opposition and Supreme Military Council. This intervention is useful, but will have a limited impact on the ground. The United States must take a harder line on this conflict: arming vetted elements of the opposition, creating militarily-enforced humanitarian corridors, and above all a no-fly zone, will make a real difference. Calling out the Russians in their cynical support for al-Assad, to whom they’re sending advanced S-300 anti-aircraft missiles while calling for an international peace conference and decrying the lapse of the EU’s arms embargo to Syrian rebels, would be a good step too.

Doing little or nothing, as the United States is now, is no longer an option – at least, it’s not one that will in any way save Syrian lives or help protect U.S. interests.

Post by:
Topics: Uncategorized

« Previous entry
soundoff (325 Responses)
  1. air jordan shoes

    Well this is What if al-Assad prevails? – Global Public Square – CNN.com Blogs very useful . air jordan shoes http://www.jordanssneakersmall.com/

    August 1, 2013 at 7:01 am |
  2. Syricide

    Its good to see from all these comments that the authors of these biased articles are not winning the propaganda war.

    August 19, 2013 at 10:49 am |
  3. JustSaying

    Oh please, stop thinking about what is best for the Syrian people, we have enough problems at home, besides if we think about the Syrians the best action is to let them kill each other. if any other country intervenes in any way it will just make them blame us when they screw up again.

    August 27, 2013 at 8:40 pm |
  4. Curtiscora



    Scarpe Sposa Manolo Blahnik Prezzo
    Clarks Frelan
    Scarpe Sposa Tacco Basso
    Armani Scarpe Sportive
    Scarpe Tacco 15 Con Plateau Ebay

    April 14, 2017 at 1:20 am |
  5. EdwardNeD

    Kamagra Oral Jelly Singapore
    Make little upgrades to your residence just before listing it in the marketplace. A house which has been preserved properly shows which you have accomplished the job essential to maintain the house in excellent situation when you resided in it. In case the house demonstrates sign of disregard, it might deter the customer from setting up a great offer you.
    Mesterolone Nz
    An entertaining visualization approach when you're having an anxiety attack is to become leaf dropping from the tree. Drift to the floor slowly, swaying to and fro, and land delicately on the floor. Allow the wind flow blow you thru the woodland and focus on whatever you travel previous on a lawn.
    Testosterone Suppliers Usa
    When it comes to your teeth, you completely have to care for them. When you may possibly not enjoy your the teeth inside your younger years, you'll certain be sorry afterwards in daily life if and if you should get equipped with dentures. Make use of this article and learn how to effectively maintain your pearly whites.
    Sildenafil Citrate Supplier In India

    June 4, 2018 at 3:17 am |
  6. Hosea Kallenberg

    I do accept as true with all the ideas you've offered on your post. They're very convincing and will certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are very brief for newbies. May you please lengthen them a little from subsequent time? Thank you for the post.


    January 7, 2021 at 8:17 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

« Previous entry