Post-Asad Syria: Opportunity or Quagmire?
By Patrick Clawson
Strategic Forum 276
Feb. 1, 2012 —
- U.S. policy toward the continued
rule of Syrian President Bashar al-
Asad is partly based on the impact
his rule has had in Syria. Asad’s
fall might not bring improvement
for the Syrian people. But the
argument that Asad, odious as he
may be, provides stability now
looks less and less convincing.
- Whether Asad stays or falls, the
current Syrian unrest could have
profound implications on the
Middle East in at least four ways:
the impact on Iran, Asad’s closest
strategic partner; the perception of
the power of the United States and
its allies; the stability of neighboring
states; and the impact on Israel.
- The more Asad falls on hard times,
the more Tehran has to scramble
to prevent damage to its image
with the “Arab street” and to its
close ally, Lebanese Hizballah.
- Asad’s overthrow is by no means
assured, and U.S. instruments to
advance that objective are limited.
The U.S. Government decision
to call for his overthrow seems to
have rested on a judgment that
the prospects for success were
good and the payoff in the event
of success would be high.
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