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8:55AM

WPR's The New Rules: Assad's Ouster Best Chance to Stave off Israel-Iran Conflict

The debate among U.S. foreign policy analysts over the wisdom of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities -- and whether or not America should allow itself to be drawn into an ensuing conflict with Iran should Israel strike -- has largely taken place parallel to the debate over whether to pursue an R2P, or responsibility to protect, intervention in Syria. It bears noting, however, that forcing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s departure may be the best near-term policy for the U.S. to avoid being sucked into an Israeli-Iranian war.

Read the entire column at World Politics Review.

Reader Comments (5)

Your excellent article falls short on a very important point namely: HOW TO PROTECT THE MINORITY ALAWITES.
Rather than only be pushed into arming and helping the rebels, Turkey should be encouraged to publicly engage Alawites who are willing to support Syria rather than Assad's rogue regime.
In return for their support in overthrowing the regime, Turkey should commit to protect innocent Alawites as well as any Alawite defectors or military that helps in this endeavor.
Such an approach would not only bridge the gap between rebels and Alawite teetering supporters of the regime but also help Turkey calm its own Alawites that are anxious about their kin in Syria.

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBill

What makes you so sure that an ouster of Assad will pacify the Iranian-Israeli conflict? If Assad is toppled, not secularist democratic parteis will seize power, but the Syrian Muslimbrotherhood--like in Egypt.Are the Muslimbrothers good friends of Israel? Hardly.Assad didnĀ“t touch the question of the Golan heights with Israel for decades. This could change. And the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood will also support Hisbollah and Hamas. Do you think that a Shiite-Sunnite schisma will occur--but it could also be a panislamic united front --Egypt, Syria, Iran, Hamas, Hisbollah-against Israel.

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRalf Ostner

The Syrian army hasn't performed very well but it has stayed loyal to the president. He has many more loyal followers than the crazy colonel ever had in Libya. The Syrian rebels were poorly armed (never saw an RPG in any video) and had to hole up among innocent civilians.

President Assad saw his father take a tough stance and it succeeded. He also saw what happened to Ghadaffi and Hussein when they lost power. Strong motivation to fight and not give in.

I am betting that Assad will survive this. He has beaten the rebels in the streets. Now he needs to try and improve relations with the Turks and the Saudis. He might be willing to do a secret deal with the Israelis. Strange part of the world over there. Lots of sneaking from one tent to another.

March 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTed O'Connort

I still think the other Arab states are the key to this puzzle. They're better equipped, culturally and geographically, to get involved than Israel or the West.

Their involvement wouldn't necessarily reduce the risk of a wider regional war, but Israel (being relatively uninvolved in the Syrian fighting) would have less incentive to get involved elsewhere. The big risk would be Lebanon's involvement--attempts by the non-Shiite factions to get involved could bring Hezbollah into open conflict with them, and they're a big enough headache for Israel without them assuming open control of the whole country.

An attempt to take Assad right out could backfire, and risk harming the Alawites, but establishing safe zones in non-Shiite and non-Alawite areas near the borders would leave them unharmed and leave Assad vulnerable to being taken out by his own military.

March 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

Curious that we are so quick to support the muslim brothers in these conflicts across the middle east while simultaniosly fighting wars against their idealogical spawn in the same region. It would seem that the possition of the United States is to get involved in every conflict that arises, betting that having some say in the outcome is better than having none at all. Assad is a tyrant by every definition, and must fall, but I wonder if we will years from now look back with want for a self-intrested strong man in the face of a growing religious unity that owes its motivations to ideas that cannot be toppled so easily.

March 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike

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