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Published in Press Stream:
On Syria

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Published in Stream:
On Syria
Press by
Personal account of James Miller, Managing Editor of The Interpreter, a publication on Russia, Ukraine, and Syria. A contributor at Reuters, The Daily Beast, RFE/RL, elsewhere.
Where things are headed in Syria
9 years
Previous Press

I've been saying since July 2011 that we have been at the point of no return. Too much blood was spilled then, and the protests were undeterred - in fact, they were growing, and building bridges with some of Assad's traditional allies. 

 Since January, I've noted the remarkable rise of the FSA, and since before the siege of Aleppo and Deir Ez Zor I've argued that the FSA cannot lose this fight (read my brief history of the insurgency, written just a week before the surprise taking of most of Aleppo). In other words, before they occupied half of Syria's largest city, and before they took Al Bukamal, and before they made strides near Deir Ez Zor, and before they had any significant presence in either Daraa or Lattakia, I thought the FSA was an unstoppable force, a slow glacier on the move that would grind the regime to dust. The FSA has surpassed my expectations.

But I never said it was a quick war. In fact, I argued the opposite. While a sudden coup, or bombing, or massive defection is possible, these scenarios are not likely. What are we looking at then?

A long, bloody, drawn out, knock down fight that will threaten to destabilize the entire Middle East. Last July, I was trying to argue that this was inevitable, and the world should start planning for a scenario where an outgunned opposition, one way or the other, refuses to quit until it wins. That was before there even was an insurgency. In short, the world should have known in December of last year that this regime could not last. Failure to accept that fact has led to inaction, which will ultimately lead Syria to become a pile of ash, blood, and fire, with all the chaos and negative consequences that come with that.

This isn't opinion. This is what the data has told us all along.  

This doesn't mean that international intervention is the best choice, and it's certainly not the only choice, but most of those who have been arguing against intervention have ignored the data, at best, or even supported the regime's narrative in order to hope no intervention came, at worst.  

What is happening now is a consequence of that dynamic.