Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Assad’s Staying Power

President Obama’s crippling passivity in dealing with the Syrian civil war seems to be explained, at least in part, by a widespread expectation in and out of the administration that Bashar Assad is finished no matter what the U.S. does or doesn’t do–that it’s “only a matter of time” before he is toppled.

I still think that is the most likely outcome, but it is worrisome to see that Assad’s forces have succeeded in breaking the rebel siege of two of his northern military bases in a part of the country that has been largely seized by the insurgents. The New York Times quotes a resident of the northern town of Idlib: “To be honest, after seeing the army’s operation today, there is a widespread fear among people that regime forces will soon regain control of other areas in the province.”

Such sentiment may be premature–or it may not be. Assad has shown worrisome staying power, thanks in large part to the aid he has received from Iran. The rebels have gotten some assistance from the Gulf states, but not enough to balance out the Iranian role. The U.S. has preferred to sit largely on the sidelines, forcing, in effect, many of our allies who favor taking a more active stance to do the same.

It would be a tragedy if, in addition to prolonging the war and increasing the suffering, America’s passivity were to allow Assad to remain in power. This would be a victory for Iran and Hezbollah and a blow to the U.S. and our interests and allies in the region. It is not too late to prevent such a dire outcome, but Obama must be willing to do more than he has done hitherto–namely, providing arms to the rebels and imposing a no-fly zone to ground Assad’s murderous air force.



Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.