mead cohen berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn
Assad: Planning The Work and Working The Plan

At Via Meadia I’ve argued that the Assad regime has a clear strategic plan: use what you’ve got to get what you need and forget the rest.

Operationally that translates into using the (limited) forces staunchly loyal to the regime to crush the opposition one city at a time.  If the domestic opposition can’t overthrow the regime, the international “community” will just chatter.

Without the US nothing will happen, and America won’t intervene.  America was ready to go to war in Libya to stop a hypothetical bloodbath in a country where its strategic interests were limited; partly because of that commitment it is unable to do anything but sputter when serial bloodbaths take place in a country much more central to US concerns.

That is the plan, and regime forces are taking on the main centers of opposition one at a time.  The one by one approach as opposed to a general crackdown has two advantages.  It allows the regime to use only the military units it can trust, and a city by city approach is less likely to cross the outrage threshold that would trigger an international response.

The strategy is not without risks, but it is as Louis Farrakhan once said of Adolf Hitler, “wickedly great.”  Assad is exploiting the incoherence and disorganization of his opposition at home and abroad and in the short run at least he is winning.

Features Icon
show comments
© The American Interest LLC 2005-2016 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service