Max Boot writes in Commentary that, while a total meltdown of Syrian society is possible in a post-Assad vacuum, the world would regret allowing Iran’s malign influence to dictate what happens when the regime crumbles.
The way forward in Syria does not lie in trying to perpetuate Iran’s malign influence, which is likely to be employed to keep the civil war going by providing backing for Assad’s security forces. The best bet at this point is to work, along with relatively moderate regional allies such as Turkey, the UAE, the Kurdish Regional Government in Iraq, and Jordan, to bolster the more moderate rebel factions and to try to help them build up security and governance capacity so that they can take over once Assad is gone.
This could be aided by setting up safe zones along the border with Turkey and Jordan which the rebels could administer in, one hopes, an inclusive fashion that will send a signal to Alawites, Christians, Kurds and other minorities that their interests will be safeguarded in a post-Assad Syria. Sending international peacekeepers to aid the transition once Assad is gone is also a good idea but unlikely to occur.