Newswise — David Siddhartha Patel is a professor of government at Cornell University and has studied Middle Eastern politics in Syria. He comments on the recent violence in Syria.
“The bloodshed is Syria is likely to get worse – perhaps much worse – in the coming weeks and months, and there is little the United States or the wider international community can do to prevent it. We are watching the beginning of a protracted and bloody civil war in Syria that will likely last several years.
“The Syrian opposition is highly fragmented and internally divided over how to respond to the escalating violence. No opposition leader or committee has demonstrated an ability to unify or control protesters and the various rebel groups. The Syrian regime, knowing this, has responded to opposition in different ways: sometimes using loyal elements of the Syrian military to shell civilians and rebels; sometimes dispatching brutal irregular militias known in Arabic as ‘ghosts,’ or ‘shabiha’, to find and punish protesters; and sometimes leaving rebels in control of isolated pockets of territory.
“Almost any intervention by the U.S. would eventually demand “boots on the ground” in Syria, and the situation on that ground would look more like Iraq did in 2007 than Libya did in 2011.”
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