After Assad: What’s Next for the Future of Syria?
Time | Jay Newton-Small | 7.26.12
If Syria is allowed to fracture, each ethnic group hunkering down, says Ammar Abdulhamid, an exiled Syria opposition leader in Washington, “it won’t be easy to put humpty dumpty back together again. It would take decades of instability and violence to sort itself out. And that is what we’re most worried about.” Such a civil war or failed state would also have enormous and terrible implications for the whole region. “Syria is Iran’s back door for Lebanon and Israel. It’s one of the hottest of the hotspots in a way that was not the case for Libya,” says Harman. “We have many more strategic interests in Syria than we did in Libya. Syria is a Shia state surrounded by the Sunni crescent, which makes it a proxy for the rest of the Middle East, a Sunni/Shia battleground. There are also huge strategic interests for neighboring Turkey and Israel, not to mention Russia with its port there.” All of which is to say, bringing down Assad without a replacement could be akin to the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in this climate, on the other hand leaving him in at this point is certainly worse.