«This Fox has a longing for grapes:
He jumps, but the bunch still escapes.
So he goes away sour;
And, ’tis said, to this hour
Declares that he’s no taste for grapes
Jean de la Fontaine, The Fox and the Grapes

The Center for A New American Security (CNAS) published a study on the possible changes in Syria and how to defend U.S. and Israeli interests according to different scenarios. Given the considerable influence that the CNAS exerts on the Obama administration, in general, and on the current Pentagon, in particular, this study deserves special attention.

The author, Melissa G. Dalton, stands on a vision of the events relayed by the media (an "Arab Spring" revolution crushed by a dictator), disconnected from reality. In addition, her study overlooks the cultural and historical specificities of Syria. Finally, and most importantly, she makes no mention of the regional (remodeling of the Greater Middle East) and global (oil control) strategy of the United States. And yet she is familiar with Syria where she lived and which she observed like a hawk on behalf of the U.S. Military Intelligence (DIA). Therefore, this study should not be taken for an analysis of the forces at play, but rather as a foreboding of adjustments which the official rhetoric may be constrained to make.

Five different scenarios are examined:
  death of Bashar al-Assad followed by a period of instability;
  transfer of power to the opposition (by foreign intervention or military coup);
  takeover by the opposition;
  continuation in power of al-Assad;
  sectarian war.

The interest of this study lies in the fact that it promotes the continuation in power of a weakened President Assad as the least bad outcome for Washington and Tel Aviv. Hence, we may infer that the CNAS, implicitly acknowledging the failure of the attempts at regime change, seeks to justify an imminent U.S. withdrawal.

Asad Under Fire; Five Scenarios for the Future of Syria, by Melissa G. Dalton. Center for A New American DSecurity. September 2012 (14 pp., 1,2 Mo).