Defense News quotes Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center Director John E. Herbst and Rafik Hariri Center Resident Senior Fellow Frederic C. Hof on Russia’s intervention in Syria and the recently announced intelligence-sharing agreement between Iran, Syria, and Russia:

John Herbst, former US ambassador to Ukraine and now director of the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, warns that there is “little hope” for the kind of stable, moderate Syria that the US is seeking, at least in the short term.

“In the longer term, the prospects for the following deal might emerge. Assad steps down and is replaced by someone else from the Alawi community. That successor is chosen in consultation with prominent Sunni families/politicians/business leaders, and these prominent Sunnis likewise become part of a new, transition government,” Herbst argues.

“This possibility would emerge once Russia is bloodied by extremist groups regaining the initiative against Assad. Facing the dilemma I describe above, Moscow chooses to give up Assad,” he continued. “For this to work, we would have to make sure that the Gulf States and Turkey are turning off all support for the jihadis.”


Frederic Hof, former US special adviser for transition in Syria, also downplayed the intel-sharing agreement as “less about sharing intelligence than it is about putting an exclamation point on Mr. Putin’s claim that ISIS can and should be fought only by existing regional governments.”

Putin, Hof says, “wants more than anything else to rehabilitate his client: Bashar al-Assad. This ‘agreement’ is meant to reinforce Russia’s pro-Assad position.”

Read the full article here.

Related Experts: Frederic C. Hof and John E. Herbst