professor of religion
and Islamic studies
One thing is inevitable in Syria: A catastrophic and even greater bloodbath is now inevitable. A U.S. surgical strike in response to Bashar al-Assad’s use of nerve agents might either delay or hasten such a showdown. But it is difficult to imagine how the bloody sectarian divisions will be able to stall retaliatory killings of minority communities like the Alawites and Christians. Only an interventionist force with boots on the ground and at great risk to the peacekeepers can avoid such bloodshed. Perhaps, France’s colonial tryst with Syria and support for the U.S. strikes on Damascus makes it an eligible contender. The Syrian regime has few friends and it is unlikely that Assad will be lionized in the way Saddam Hussein enjoyed popularity after he survived Operation Desert Storm.