The increasingly bloody conflict in Syria will probably
continue for a while yet, but the regime's brutality means
that in the end it will not be able to cling on to power,
University of Otago Middle East expert William Harris says.
Prof Harris said he had been surprised at how well the Syrian
regime had clung to power, but believed it was still only a
matter of time before it fell.
''As far as I can tell, this is going to be a pretty long
haul, but my view remains that the regime will eventually
collapse, because there is no possibility of it recovering
legitimacy amongst the bulk of the population. The more
people it kills, the more angry people there are.''
The latest UN estimate puts number killed in the conflict at
60,000. The West could speed up the process through the use
of ''pinpoint'' military strikes, which could be in the form
of a cruise missile strike on an aircraft which was attacking
This would ''psychologically shock'' President Bashar
al-Assad's regime, which was ''arrogant'' in its belief the
West would never touch it.
The West should also persistently call for members of the
regime to be dealt with by the International Criminal Court,
which could scare some of its members into leaving the
country or defecting to the opposition.
If the current course was continued, it was likely the
conflict would drag on much longer, with an increase in the
number of extremists in the opposition and a messier
aftermath once the regime eventually did fall.
The West also faced having less of an influence on a
post-al-Assad regime if it did not do more to intervene.