The swift collapse of the truce in Syria negotiated by UN/Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi bore out the prediction by US UN ambassador Susan Rice five months ago that, in the absence of a resolution of the crisis, “the violence escalates, the conflict spreads and intensifies. It involves countries in the region, it takes on increasingly sectarian forms, and we have a major crisis not only in Syria but in the region.” With neither side apparently able to land a knockout blow, the outlook is for the continuation of a war of attrition between the government and an opposition that appears increasingly fractured and radicalized.

It is, of course, always possible that President Bashar al-Asad will survive the crisis, although it is hard to see how he can do so with his authority undiminished, either militarily or geographically. But it is also possible that the conflict in Syria might result in the country’s de facto disintegration. (CONTINUED - 300 WORDS)