Throughout the year, Assad relied on Iran and Russia to block international intervention, hoping to buy time to quash the protests without interference. It's not working -- but he has no other options.
During the Arab Spring, Obama seemed to outsource much of his Syria policy to Ankara. But with Erdogan having proved unable to convince the Syrian dictator to reform as planned, Obama must now formulate his own plans.
According to many observers, Syria's Bashar al-Assad was supposed to be immune to the kind of popular protest that swept the country today. Ironically, the basis was Assad’s own public relations strategy. With no real legitimacy, his only resort to stop the protests will be violence.
This article appears in the Foreign Affairs/CFR eBook, The New Arab Revolt.