When the regime stays in power but loses its ability to rule. This is the current objective of US policy in Syria, to undermine Syrian President Bashar al Assad’s ability to govern the country without physically removing him from office. The idea is simple: Deploy US-backed “jihadi” proxies to capture-and-hold vast sections of the country thereby making it impossible for the central government to control the state. This is how the Obama administration plans to deal with Assad, by making him irrelevant. The strategy is explained in great detail in a piece by Michael E. O’Hanlon at the Brookings Institute titled “Deconstructing Syria: A new strategy for America’s most hopeless war”. Here’s an excerpt:
“…the only realistic path forward may be a plan that in effect deconstructs Syria….the international community should work to create pockets with more viable security and governance within Syria over time… The idea would be to help moderate elements establish reliable safe zones within Syria once they were able. American, as well as Saudi and Turkish and British and Jordanian and other Arab forces would act in support, not only from the air but eventually on the ground via special forces. The approach would benefit from Syria’s open desert terrain which could allow creation of buffer zones that could be monitored for possible signs of enemy attack. Western forces themselves would remain in more secure positions in general—within the safe zones but back from the front lines—at least until the reliability of such defenses, and also local allied forces, made it practical to deploy and live in more forward locations.
Creation of these sanctuaries would produce autonomous zones that would never again have to face the prospect of rule by either Assad or ISIL….Read the entire article