- By Tony Badran<p> Tony Badran is a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He tweets @AcrossTheBay. </p>
As the Syrian uprising against the regime of Bashar al-Assad concludes its third month, U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration is coming under increasing fire for its slow, reluctant reaction. The administration continues to call on the Syrian president to lead a transition to democracy and argues that the United States simply lacks the leverage to affect the situation in Damascus. As one senior U.S. official told the Atlantic in May, "The Syrian government knows it can act with a certain amount of impunity because we have no real leverage over them."
Not all significant players agree with Washington. French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak have stated that Assad’s rule is "illegitimate." Washington is lagging behind.