"But criticism rolls off Assad’s back, and it has not been accompanied by measures compelling Syria to change its behavior. Whether Washington has been unwilling or unable to extract a real price from Syria, the effect is the same: Damascus believes it has dodged the bullet. The regime of Bashar Assad appears more confident than at any time since 2003." Schenker in the Weekly Standard
There is something terribly ironic in Schenker’s authorship of this piece. Look at his bio.
Take a look at the SST posts on Syria on 22 and 23 October, 2005. It was altogether predictable that Syria would call the bluff of the United States over the many supposed "crises" in our relations. They did not believe last year and they do not believe now that the United States is going to do anything "serious" to them.
"Serious" in this case means the overthrow of the regime in Damascus. Short of that they follow the rule of the old childrens’ rhyme, "Sticks and Stones Can Break My Bones, But Words Will Never Hurt Me."
They are not impressed. They saw clearly last year that we were stuck on the flypaper of Iraq. They see now that our policy with regard to Israel/Palestine is a morass. They also see that we are being "gamed" and mocked by the oh so clever Iranians. They are not impressed.
They await regime change in Washington.