Iran and Hezbollah won't stop their efforts to keep Assad afloat unless they face the sort of consequences the USA faced in Vietnam. A Vietnam-style quagmire might well be in the interests of an Iranian people long since fed up with an incompetent, corrupt and brutal regime ruled by religious fanatics in their own interests. In this case most of the boys coming home in boxes would be the same head-thumpers Khamenei counts on to stomp his own people (no big loss in other words).
The optimal way to bring about such consequences is to do imitate what the Soviets and Chinese did in Vietnam case and at low cost to themselves. A side benefit would be further political de-stabilization of an already unstable regime in Iran, including demoralization of the security forces upon which it depends for survival.
So long as the ultraconservative mullahs continue to rule at home and continue their covert schemes for regional empire, action will continue to produce reaction fomenting further Shia/Sunni conflict. Thus the above approach, if implemented by the West, would not only bring down Assad but could also soothe the primary source of growing Shia/Sunni tensions. No empire-promoting IRI = vastly less tension.
Promotion of Sunni/Shia conflict by the IRI started when the mullahs promoted destructive civil war in Lebanon which would otherwise never have occurred. It has continued with Iran's promotion of Hezbollah-style movements among Shia minorities everywhere. The Saudis and Gulf states never demonstrated much interest in intervening in Syria's domestic affairs prior to this ongoing IRI threat.
It isn't the Iranian people or the Shia who created this Shia/Sunni conflict. It is the ruling ultraconservative mullahs and their own schemes which require distractions abroad to maintain rule at home. Again I say: No scheming mullahs = No conflict (unless ultranationalists with similar dreams of empire were to replace the mullahs, and promote similar xenophobia.
Why isn't this blatantly obvious to Obama and his advisors, especially the seemingly oblivious and inflexible Kerry?
DEVELOPMENTS: DAMASCUS-HOMS AREA
Near Qalimoun rebels cut the main military co-axial cable linking the north of Syra to the south after blocking the Homs/ Damascus highway. Source: Tazimorocco. This is one of so many other places rebels can block routes between Damascus-Homs-Tartus assuming Al Quysar were to fall (no sure thing).
AL QUSAYR: Refugees fleeing besieged Qusayr say Syrian rebels dug in, preparing for government onslaught
EXCERPT: "After a string of quick victories earlier in the month, the government’s forces have had more difficulty dislodging rebels from some of the towns and villages outside Qusayr that the rebels have occupied for months…"
MY ANALYSIS: If the regime seeks to take Quysar by force, it can expect heavy casualties. Yet can if afford a prolonged siege which ties up rebel forces while rebels benefit elsewhere?
HAMA: Unified rebels seized four villages around Tleseyeh. Shabiha in Salmiyeh closed off the National Hospital to civilians as regime casualties mounted. Source: tazimorocco.
DEVELOPMENTS IN NORTHERN SYRIA
ALEPPO: At Meng airport, rebels seized one of the few tanks defenders still had—a T72 which is likely to be used against them now. Rebels also liberated the Alanya area in Khan al-asal. Warning: graphic video of regime thugs killed in that battle..
THE PRISON: Why should a single regime defender be spared after the crimes they committed at the prison today?
“Syrian rebels call off Aleppo prison siege after troops throw inmates out window”
Near the prison, rebels destroyed 4 tanks and 2 BMPs, according to Roselyn Chomsky.
IDLIB: Many injured regime soldiers reportedly arrived at the city’s hospital after the rebels attacked five checkpoints. Clearing such checkpoints opens the way to major targets..
DEVELOPMENTS IN DAMASCUS & THE SOUTH
Rebels destroyed four tanks in the Al Goutahl, liberated a military complex located in a soap factory in Al-Qaboun, overran Base 52 in Daraa and welcomed more than 50 new defectors in Daraa. Source: Roselyn Chomsky
(NOTE: Assad’s use of foreign mercenaries has joined his atrocities in motivating defections)