“The commission’s work recently culminated in a four-hundred-page legal brief that links the systematic torture and murder of tens of thousands of Syrians to a written policy approved by President Bashar al-Assad.” Here’s The New Yorker on the The Assad Files that underscore the many war crimes committed by Syria’s leader. Assad is a monster. But he will likely stay in place in large part because of what happened when Iraq’s leader was removed from power.

+ Another recent historical event working in Assad’s favor is what Obama calls the worst mistake of his presidency. Failing to appropriately plan for the aftermath of Muammar Gaddafi’s downfall.