Lee Smith argues in The American Interest against Washington Post columnist David Ignatius' endorsement of Kofi Annan's plan for a ceasefire in Syria since it would preserve the regime of Bashar al-Assad, the junior partner in the Iran-led resistance bloc and a destabilizing state sponsor of terrorism.
Ignatius’ columns have shown over the years a careful cultivation of sources within the Assad regime, useful insofar as they were able to convey the policies, convictions and paranoid fantasies of the ruling order and how this might affect the regional balance. However, it seems that these high-level sources may have also distorted his view of Syria. There is no Syrian state as such, only a regime; Syria’s “delicate balance” is one based solely on terror—both outside and inside Syria.
Since Hafez al-Assad came to power as President in 1970, Syrian stability was based on destabilizing neighboring regimes—Jordan, Egypt, Iraq, Turkey, Israel, Lebanon etc.— before they could destabilize the regime in Damascus. Terror was so much a part of the regime’s strategy that it became the regime’s nature.
What held true for regional politics was the same on the domestic front as well; it was a regime whose domestic legitimacy was fortified only by resistance to Israel. Even its Arabism was a thin mask barely hiding the reality from the majority Sunni Arab population that they are ruled by the long-despised Alawite minority.
The plan will most likely fail even if the White House has bizarrely come around to the Russian point of view. Too many of Syria's neighbors have an interest in seeing Assad removed. The regime's long-standing strategy of exporting instability rather than importing it has most likely come to an end.
Damascus says the revolt failed, but I don't buy it. Not yet. Even if Assad prevails in the short term, a full return to the status quo ante is impossible.