As fighting rages in Aleppo this weekend the narrative is clear on one count, that whatever happens it will be vindication of rebel demands for Assad to be immediately ousted. Exactly what it happening and how that narrative will be advanced remains to be seen.
On one hand rebel factions are predicting a “massacre” by Assad’s troops, demanding Western intervention including either a full-scale international invasion to install them or, failing that, a dramatic increase in armaments.
At the same time, other rebel leaders are predicting an imminent victory of their own and promising to turn Syria’s largest city into a “graveyard” for the military and by extension the regime.
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta appeared to try to avoid guessing which of the two was going to happen, and instead insisted only that Aleppo would be a “nail in Assad’s coffin” in some vague manner, and will assure that his regime is going to be ousted. Whether Assad needs to be ousted for losing Aleppo or ousted for winning Aleppo is just a detail.