A Modest Post-Assad Plan

Should Assad fall, the ensuing chaos and difficulty will be immense, and calls will rise for U.S. humanitarian intervention. Ambitious initiatives likely will fail, but compelling arguments can be made for going in small.

Issue: Nov-Dec 2012

SHOULD SYRIAN president Bashar al-Assad fall, Syria’s problems will have only just begun. With the dictator gone, crime, score settling and a violent contest for power likely will ensue, keeping the streets unsafe and the people afraid. Iran, foreign jihadists and Syria’s neighbors may meddle to protect their interests or stir up trouble. Assad kept Syria’s rival communities in check through force, but his reign created underlying schisms. Now, the civil war has generated new ones. It also has turned the country’s economy, always struggling, into a disaster area. So far the splintered Syrian opposition has shown no skill in reassuring Syria’s minorities, and any new government’s initial legitimacy is likely to be weak.

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