What is required in Syria now is a program like the one the United States established in the mid-1990s to train and equip the armed forces of the Bosnian Federation, writes Angel Rabasa.
If Alawites and Sunnis living abroad can stand united against the Assad regime, so can their counterparts inside Syria. By setting an example of coexistence, they can mitigate the fears of Alawites in Syria that deserting Assad would facilitate the rise of an anti-Alawite Sunni regime.
The combined lessons of the attack and disarmament of Iraq's chemical weapons in the First Gulf War suggest that chemical weapons are hard to find and destroy, writes James Quinlivan. Lots can survive even a sustained attack.
When President Obama and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan meet in Washington on May 16, a long list of topics will likely be on the table. The big question, however, is whether anything substantive comes from their discussions of Syria.
The lesson here is not that countries should act for the sake of maintaining credibility but that they should act when they believe it serves their interests and might make a difference, writes Dalia Dassa Kaye.
Dealing with chemical weapons in Syria is a complicated and dangerous task, but nowhere near the challenge of securing a nuclear arsenal in a country consumed by crisis, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.
Tehran views Syria as a strategic gateway to the Arab world, a bulwark against American and Israeli power, and, perhaps most importantly, a crucial link to Lebanese Hezbollah, writes Alireza Nader.
President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry are working hard to repair relations between Turkey and Israel and deserve credit for their efforts. But much has changed for both countries since they cooperated in the 1990s, and progress toward rapprochement will likely be slow.
Syria is looking more like a collapsed state every day. Nearly a million people have now fled Syria for safety abroad. Meanwhile, the influence of extremist groups, such as the al Nusrah Front, continues to grow as these groups slip into the areas vacated by the Syrian state, writes Christopher Chivvis.
Trepidation about boots-on-the-ground engagement has unnecessarily forestalled even small-scale efforts to repair Libya's fractured security environment....Meanwhile, in Syria, the over-learned lessons of Iraq are taking an even more serious toll, writes Christopher Chivvis.
Unless he can convince allies like Turkey as well as skeptics like Russia that the United States is serious about altering the trajectory of the conflict, Kerry might as well skip the Syria talking points and focus on other issues.
Although outside efforts to arm the rebels would help level the playing field in Syria, such a strategy would not ensure victory, and the weapons could fall into the hands of extremists for use against Israel, Jordan and other neighboring countries, writes William Young.
The Obama administration should capitalize on recent international coordination, taking the lead in organizing an international coalition devoted to containing Syria's chemical-weapons arsenal, write F. Stephen Larrabee and Peter Wilson.
Like it or not, the United States counts among its allies a number of authoritarian Arab countries, and they are essential partners in protecting its interests, writes Seth G. Jones. The normative hope that liberal democracy may flourish in the future must be balanced by the need to work with governments and societies as they exist today.
There's been no meaningful sign that the Russians are willing to withdraw valuable political, military, and economic support for Assad, says Andrew Weiss. We should not be surprised if Moscow's obstinance on Syria proves rather durable.
Whatever its eventual outcome, Syria's civil war has already produced thousands of experienced jihadists who will continue to threaten the region for years to come, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.
If Syria uses its chemical weapons, policymakers need to prepare not only to quickly end their use, but to think past the immediate crisis and plan for the weapons' ultimate disposal, writes James Quinlivan.
The longer this war drags on, the more radicalised become the insurgents, the more brutalised the population, the more inflamed the sectarian passions, and the more destabilised neighbouring societies, writes James Dobbins.
As the crisis along the border between Syria and Turkey intensifies, Turkey appears on the brink of a formal request to the North Atlantic Council that NATO deploy Patriot missiles to help defend the border, writes Christopher Chivvis.
Given Syria's complex society and external ties, the West should happily settle for a stable government not dominated by Russia or Iran, and not in military conflict with its neighbors, including Israel, writes Harold Brown.