Ok, there are several reasons why Libya and Syria can't be compared. For one Gaddhafi gutted his military in the last years before his fall, Assad did not, and has used this military to build up key alliances with Iran and even to a degree Russia. This has modernized his military over time and looks likely to be the key win for his victory. Gaddhafi had no such allies to fall back on and thus his military was not able to adapt like Assad's is. This shows the U.S. that an Iran-Syria vs U.S. and Israel conflict would be even nastier than everyone says it would be. Secondly, Russia is hellbent on stopping any sort of intervention in Syria unlike in Libya.
The fact of the matter is the Syria is now the most important proxy war since the fall the Soviet Union. However unlike a classic two side proxy war there are many different groups using different factions within Syria to advance their agendas or objectives, and none will be giving up any time soon. There are essentially two major factions, and several minor ones playing in this bloody game.
== Sunni (Rebel) Bloc ==
Essentially these are the rebels, which for the most part are supported by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Iraqi Sunni Insurgents (Al-Qaeda in Iraq), and Chechen Insurgents. Main goal is supposedly to oust Assad and establish a free state, but this is crap because the Saudis, the Qataris and the Turks could really care less about establishing a free society, and the insurgent groups are hell bent on establishing an Islamic Theocracy. U.S. only half-heartedly supports these groups more because they want to weaken Iran.
== Shia (Unholy Trinity) Bloc ==
Essentially the Syrian Government, Syrian minorities, Iran, Hezbollah, and Iraqi Shia insurgents. Three most major players being Assad, Hezbollah and Iran for an unholy trinity. Main objective is to assure the survival of the Assad regime so that Iran can continue to project it's power through Syria. Minorities support the government because they fear a potential Wahhabiist takeover of the country and persecution of the minority groups such as Alawites, Christians, etc...
(For Now At Least)
== Kurds ==
This group within Syria does not like either faction, only interested in securing it's own homeland. Turkey had a partial interest in crushing Kurdish extremists in Syria as well to stop it's own extremists, however this is far less so now after the PKK disbanded.
== Israel ==
Typically a major player in the mid-East, Israel has little to do with the Syrian conflict. Israel really doesn't care who wins this fight, and really just wants both sides to weaken each other as much as they can. Only main objective in this conflict is stopping the dispersion of weapons that could potentially be used against itself. Does not see a good side in this conflict, both sides are it's enemies and the victors of the conflict will eventually turn their sights back on Israel. Strategically may be hoping the conflict goes on as long as possible.
== The West (Mainly America, Britain, and France with some NATO backing)==
For the time being giving limited support to the rebels. Main objective of America, Britain, and France is to weaken Iran. However they do not want to give full support to the rebels, as there is deep suspicion of them. Probably will not get involved directly in this conflict as the Western public opinion is strongly against intervention in another ME country after Iraq, and many in the public would not accept going to help the Islamists on the rebel side which are related to the people who carried out terrorist attacks in the West during the last decade. Obama also has no intention of being remembered as a wartime president. The usual war lobby wants to intervene to promote arms sales, and make a buck. Israel wants the west to not give the rebels to advanced weapons systems because they could be used against it.
== Russia ==
Main objective is stop an Sunni takeover of Syria. Concerned that the spread of Sunni power will cause destabilization throughout the greater Muslim world, including within the Russian Muslim republics, it is thus watching the Chechen fighters there with great concern. Also wants to maintain it's only port on the Mediterranean which it may lose if the rebels take over. Sees this conflict as part of the increase in America and it's allies hegemony and thus is perceived as a threat to Russia. The last thing Russia wants is America to exert what it perceives as world order. Also wants to make some arms sales and thus supports Iran and Syria. Part of a bigger move by Russia to cozy ties with Iran so it can expand it's influence of the gas market to Europe. Has no intent to have direct military involvement in the conflict. Israel does not want weapons to be given to Hezbollah and Iran as they could be used against it in a future conflict.
== Everyone Else ==
Who is concerned about the casualties and suffering ongoing in Syria, but sees it as a quagmire with no good sides.
Essentially there are 6 ways this conflict will possibly unfold, only one of them has an any bit sort of good outcome.
1. Rebels are Crushed
Victors: Assad, Iran, Hezbollah, Russia
Very likely. Rebels are crushed, Saudis, Qataris, Turks, and West are embarrassed media begins it's full on introspection on how we in the West are terrible for not stopping the genocide of Syrians. (Give us a break) Victory for Syrian government, stronger Syrian military, closer Iran-Russia ties, Hezbollah status maintains weakened. Bad news for Israel.
2. Rebels Win (without Intervention)
Victors: Islamist Forces, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey (?)
Highly unlikely. Rebels defeat Assad, major defeat for Iran, Hezbollah collapses, extremism erupts in southern Russia. Syria turns into an Islamic theocracy and threatens Israel. West forced to intervene eventually against an unsafe government. Only victors are the Arab states from the point of view that they weakened Iran and empowered their Sunni brethren and thus expanded their influence.
3. West Intervenes
Victors: Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey
Unlikely. Too many outside factors point to this not happening. This essentially just devolves into a sectarian mess like Iraq, although Syria falls, and Hezbollah falls which is good news for Israel, however doesn't weaken Iran as Russia and Iran still develop closer ties as Russia is now deeply angry with the West. West further indebted by wars, and Western public become even less willing to intervene in other conflicts, which is bad new for Israel against Iran. Years of sectarian violence. Only benefit is weakening of Iran for Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey.
Unlikely. Conflict develops into lower intensity insurgency and conflict which lasts for decades. Assad retains power against more organized rebels. Unlikely as the rebels do not seem to be able to develop more central organization. Israel likes this as it keeps it's enemies occupied with each other.
5. Syria is Broken-up
Victors: No one, though everyone saves face.
Unlikely, though becoming more looked at. Latakia and area becomes an Alawite state and Assad steps down from governing Syria. Kurds get own land. Rest of Syria taken over by Islamists. Killing stops, and everyone saves face, although the situation is far from ideal.
6. Israel attacks Russian shipments
Victors: Unclear, possibly no one.
Very unlikely. Israel attacks Russian arms shipments. This quickly becomes a major mess which threatens to pit Russia against the West. Though very unlikely as I think most of the powers playing are far more calculating than this. Would become a much wider conflict if this were to happen.
I think No. 5 is the best scenario here.
This conflict is so complex it's hard to explain.
Edited by MarcZ, 06 June 2013 - 01:27 AM.