NEW YORK – For months now, it has been clear that no peaceful, even satisfactory, resolution of the conflict in Syria is possible without external intervention. Paradoxically, too many Syrian civilians have been tortured, wounded, and killed to stop the demonstrations seeking the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad. The victims’ families, friends, and neighbors simply will not accept the Assad regime’s continuation in any form. So what will happen?
One possibility is that the regime will greatly escalate the killing. If it kills ten or 20 times as many as have died thus far, perhaps it will succeed in creating so much terror that the protests will stop. Though this is far from certain, it is hard to imagine that maintaining the current level of violence will make Syrians bow to the regime, given that so many have refused to do so up to now.