From army defectors to militant gangs, violent anti-government opposition has emerged in
"It's fine to say to an opposition, 'Keep it peaceful.' But if you don't do anything to help empower them, it's a bit like
Despite international condemnation, sanctions and increasingly effective attacks by army defectors on government offices, the Assad government could stay in power for months before it collapse, drawing out the violence and increasing the casualty toll.
Experts say that
First, the Obama administration could set up a contact group on
Americans could also serve as a liaison between the Syrian people and people in other nations who have led successful, peaceful revolutionary movements in the past. According to Tabler, such tactics could build up the pressure from below, causing Assad's supporters at the top to abandon him.
"There are lots of different ways that you can use civil resistance strategies against the regime to weaken it, and that can help cause key constituencies to crack off," Tabler says. "There's actually a science -- well, an art -- to this that was used in the Balkans and also in
He argues that
Assad's government has forbidden foreign press within
Already, according to Grand, efforts are being made to deliver technology, like video cameras and portable, undetectable Internet servers into
"If non-violence is going to be successful, you need to somehow make the regime unwilling to use its tanks. The more people are watching, the less the regime is to use those tanks," he says. "If you force the regime on
Grand points out that while
"You don't want to create that kind of situation where we discredit the opposition because we're seen to be meddling," he says.
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