News that Russia shipped air-defense missiles to Syria has raised questions about what action the Obama administration is prepared to take in the escalating conflict.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Syria, Theodore Kattouf said Thursday that even if we "go ahead and help arm and train some of the Free Syrian Army," it won't make "a decisive difference by any means."
"I think this war is going to drag on for a long, long time because both sides think they can win and both sides fear the consequences of losing," Kattouf said.
Kattouf added that Russia may not have the influence to get Bashar al-Assad to step down and that the battle would continue long after his departure.
"His minority community, the Alawites, are going to fight on," he said. Then "the opposition is going to start fighting among themselves once Assad steps down. So we're going to see a free for all" similar to the decades long conflict experienced in Lebanon.
Earlier this month, former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski said the turmoil in Syria was a sectarian conflict, "not a struggle for democracy."
Kattouf made the same distinction, saying that the conflict stretches into Lebanon, Bahrain, and Iraq and is a religious conflict between Sunnis and Shiites.