Syria today is showing a considerable parallels to the situation in Libya circa February 2011. (The NATO bombing campaign commenced mid-March). Consider this:
1) The violence is getting much more brazen. We are no longer talking about security forces snatching people from their homes. We are talking about tanks shooting into crowds in cities. Probably hundreds of people have been killed in the last 24 hours.
2) A counter-revolution is turning into a full-on civil war. The military is starting to defect. Today a group calling itself the Free Syrian Army struck an air force intelligence post — the opposition’s first real tactical victory of this conflict.
3) The opposition is united behind a common enough political platform that, when push comes to shove, they can make a credible case for international recognition.
4) The Arab League is totally ready to ditch Bashar al Assad.
5) Mass defections among Syria’s diplomatic corps??? This has not yet happened, but If the parallels hold up, this should be coming soon. Syrian diplomats probably read the writing on the wall better than Assad. They don’t want to go down with the ship.
Now comes the interesting part.
Along with the Arab League’s condemnation of Gaddhafi, the high profile defection of Libya’s representatives at the UN and in Geneva provided a compelling case for the international community to adopt a more assertive stance against Gaddafi. The first thing the international community did was boot Libya from the UN Human Rights Council. That was achieved with a unanimous vote in the 192 member General Assembly. The next move was a progressively intense series of Security Council actions, starting with a “presidential statement,” — essentially a last warning shot — then moving to sanctions, and ICC referral and then the fateful authorization of NATO-led air strikes.
I am not saying that military intervention is in the near future, but I would wager that that pretty soon the Security Council will be able to muster at least a presidential statement (which requires unanimity) as the first step toward a more aggressive international posture toward Syria.