Vijay Prashad is the George and Martha Kellner Chair in South Asian History and Professor of International Studies at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, USA. He is the author of fourteen books, including Arab Spring, Libyan Winter (AK Press) and Uncle Swami: South Asians in America Today & The Darker Nations: A People's History of the Third World(2007. In 2013, he will publish The Poorer Nations: A Possible History of the Global South 
they crept through our weakness like ants.
-- Nizar Qabbani, "Footnotes to the Book of Setback"
By M K Bhadrakumar Asia Times 15 December, 2012
The Kremlin's special envoy for Syria, Mikhail Bogdanov, admitted for the first time on Thursday that the rebels are on a winning spree and the momentum may coast them to outright victory over the government's forces. Bogdanov contemplated a rebel victory. Without mincing words, he said, "One must look facts in the face. Unfortunately, the victory of the Syrian opposition cannot be ruled out."
What does Russia do now? Moscow is pretty much isolated on the Syrian question and has virtually painted itself into a corner. The point is, over a hundred countries voiced their recognition of the newly formed Syrian opposition alliance at the meeting of the "Friends of Syria" in Morocco on Wednesday.
The only way out for Moscow now will be to seek to strike a deal with the United States, and Russian diplomats are certainly adept at this. To Russia's comfort, the US also happens to be grappling with a complex situation.
Bogdanov may have done some shrewd kite-flying on Thursday when he openly began speculating publicly on this explosive issue, which is on everyone's mind. "Everyone is afraid of that, including our American partners," he said, adding that militants were already gaining control of Syrian military arsenals on the ground, including anti-aircraft missiles.
Russia can hope to play on the Manichean fears in Washington. The US decision to brand the Nusra Front as an al-Qaeda group underscores that the Obama administration keeps one eye on Libya. --
From the US viewpoint, the best outcome in Syria would have been a military takeover, which would leave the state structures intact - as in Egypt - and open the door to expansion of American influence in Damascus to steer the country toward an agreeable democratic outcome. Russia wields big influence over the Syrian military.
In any case, Turkey also wants Russia out of the Eastern Mediterranean. Thus, regime change in Syria becomes a serious strategic setback for Russia. No doubt, Moscow's ability to influence the historic transformation of the Middle East has been seriously impaired.
Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey.
Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2012/al-monitor/syria-endgame.html#ixzz2F2s7EqhX