The killings of Syria’s Defense Minister and other key officials last week by opposition forces threaten to shatter Bashir al-Assad’s regime. Without a devastating response, his days are numbered. Sergei Lavrov, Foreign Minister of Russia, Syria’s closest ally, warned darkly that “the battle for the capital, the decisive fight” for the country, was underway.
Final collapse of the Ba’ath Party dictatorship will have profound, if still unpredictable, consequences. One absolutely critical issue is Assad’s weapons of mass destruction (“WMD”).