THE OPPOSITION ADVANCES IN DAMASCUS "Reports by activists in Damascus say that government troops have sometimes been forced to prevent massacres from taking place by the hands of Iraqi and Lebanese Shia militia groups – begging the question of how long the regime can retain command and control as it increasingly relies on irregular forces. And while the western media seems to have bought the narrative of the government’s continuing strength, under the surface things are not what they appear in the capital. Through the successful use of more sophisticated weaponry and enhanced coordination, the opposition has made unprecedented advances in Damascus and has come closer to the heart of the capital than ever before. Those arguing for a “let them fight it out” approach compartmentalize the Syrian conflict in ways that ignore these dynamics, which could quickly spark a regional conflagration that puts U.S. allies at risk and threatens U.S. strategic interests abroad. As Ambassador Fred Hof points out in a recent article, Assad’s victory in the war of narratives over the struggle for Syria has led to a belief in regime propaganda about the nature of this struggle." Of course, there are some people who will see in the last bit a confirmation that the US really does want to install its own puppet government in Damascus. A more reality-based reading would see that the desire of the US for stability, to be sure so that their corporations can profit, coincides with the Syrians' need for revolution, as the only way that stability can be achieved again, if it is to be more than the quiet of mass graves.