Damascus is eerily calm tonight while Damascenes nervously hunker down for what Washington is billing as a short duration Mediterranean-based cruise missile assault on Syrian military installations. The limited objective: "Punish" Syria for deploying chemical weapons "on a large scale" (Obama's words) against innocent men, women and children AND deter Assad from doing it again. Washington has done just about everything but take out ads in Syrian newspapers: The target is not Assad, nor is the attack directed at shifting any balance of power toward the "secular" Syrian opposition. Although the war drums are beating, the exact timing of the attack, should it come, remains a mystery.
As the door has been closed on negotiations in Syria, options for achieving a resolution through dialogue have come to an end. It is time for the regional front-line States with credible military capabilities to consider escalating the pressure on the Assad regime by imposing a no-fly zone over Syria.