This post picks up on my interview with Harpers. Here is the text of a comment that I posted:
The Harper's interview was titled "six questions". If there had been a seventh, it should have been about Syria. I very much agree with your take on Syria. Late last year and in early 2006, if my memory serves me, there was a flurry of discussion "inside the beltway" about what would come after the Ba'athi regime in Syria. As people thought about--and I concede the quality of thinking inside the beltway often leaves a lot to be desired--they realized that the people likely to take over in Damascus would not be the types you might like to invite to dinner at the White House. So the ardor cooled.
Meantime, there is a non-trivial chance that Israel will hit Syria and pull it into this conflict. That would be stupid, but the masterminds of Israel's war for hegemony haven't exactly distinguished themselves for understanding what they are facing.
Of course, if Syria enters the fray then Iran will react, probably in Iraq at least. As one late and much lamented Lebanese friend told me after the US invasion of Iraq, it will be a complete disaster if the US alienates the Shi'a in Iraq. The Arabist » Norton on the war