• Assad ignores UN calls for an interim government and attempts to quell the insurgency by force, reflecting the conduct of nations such as Algeria, who have successfully suppressed insurgents affiliated with AQIM. This course of action may work to further enflame the situation if outside forces increase their use of foreign mercenaries and continue to provide rebel fighters with more dangerous armaments, including chemical or biological weapons. If Syrian security forces were unable to immediately restore order and crush the insurgency, any authentic or manufactured atrocity or incursion into Turkish territory may be enough to tip the scale in favor of open military intervention (with or without the approval of the UNSC). If that occurred, the Turkish-Syrian border would see open exchanges of fire, with Ankara attempting to capture territory in northern Syria. Russia, Iran, and China would condemn Turkey and other allied NATO member states, with the potential of those nations opposed to regime change in Damascus offering military support to Assad. From that point, the potential for a wider regional conflict is plausible.
• Assad ignores UN calls for an interim government and succeeds in quelling the insurgency by force, causing rebel militants to disperse, surrender and take refuge in rural areas and neighboring countries. Syrian security forces would increase their operations and attempt to maintain order in population centers. The military would secure tense areas and some form of normality would resume, although bombings and other attacks could persist on a smaller scale. Assad would step up internal security, and be portrayed as an international pariah in the international media. Syria would continue suffering under heavy economic sanctions. If Assad continues to hold onto power, failing to deliver reforms and political pluralism, internal dissent could again become problematic, potentially shifting moderates to embrace factions of the opposition. Political turmoil would ensue, but the security situation could be stabilized if insurgent activity is successfully subdued.
• Assad accepts the interim government solution and submits his resignation, potentially encouraging insurgents to take advantage of the sensitive transitional period by increasing their operations against security forces, continuing the months of belligerent violence and killing. If insurgents pushed forward with their campaign and were able to maintain an upper hand amid political transition, rebels would attempt to capture territory in and around population centers. Armed gangs would persecute Assad loyalists, Alawites, Shi’a, and other religious minorities such as Christians and Druze if they successfully captured territory, reflecting the conduct of Libyan LIFG fighters toward ethnic minorities and loyalists. The interim government would struggle to maintain the security situation and likely be unable to implement coherent policy amid divisions in leadership. Political turmoil would ensue, and armed gangs could continue their campaign, amid increasing sectarian tensions.
Civilian casualties could inevitably result from all these potential scenarios, as an unintended consequence of infighting between Syrian security forces and militants in populated areas, or as an intentional act of sectarian belligerence as demonstrated by extremists in Houla and elsewhere. The ongoing perpetuation of violence in Syria is not attributable to the dominant media narrative of Assad “butchering his own people,” but to the calculated and meticulous formation of a violent Salafist-front, directed by foreign powers to overwhelm and topple the government of Syria. Journalist Seymour Hersh’s 2007 exposé published in the New Yorker titled, “The Redirection,” exposed a joint US-Israeli-Saudi operation to create a violent extremist Sunni-front to direct at the Shi’a leadership of Hezbollah in Lebanon, President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, and the Iranian government, using extremist forces with direct ties to Al Qaeda in proxy. The New Yorker would report the testimony of a former senior intelligence official and US government consultant: