Ray Takeyh’s sardonic punditry leaves the reader with the impression that while he might favor a major intervention (which is to say, war) in Syria, the Obama administration is likely to opt for a more circumscribed option. This would not impress Iran’s hard-nosed leaders, he avers.
Yet, Takeyh suggests that a prolonged war in Syria, including U.S., boots on the ground, might be advantageous for Iran just as happened in Iraq.
The idea of a decisive opposition victory in Syria, without or without the U.S. going to war again in the Middle East, is an illusion. The country has already been shattered by the civil war, institutions will need to be rebuilt, and the contest for power among the rebel forces has only just begun. This is more likely to be a country in fragments for years to come, rather than a restored, effective and peaceful entity. Imagine the fifteen-year Lebanese civil war as a prologue.
Whether Takeyh intended to do so or not, he succeeds in highlighting the bad military options available to the U.S. and its allies. The option that he did not address, namely a negotiated end to the civil war, is certainly not less attractive than the military intervention options that Takeyh sketches.