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As for Obama’s immediate strategy, however, it seems to be–in the words of Secretary of State John Kerry– a very short, narrowly focused, minimal bombing. Remember, though, that this is not important.

The question of whether the United States hits Syria one time is unimportant (it probably won’t).

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What is important is the shape of the civil war if the U.S. attack takes place. It now seems an attack is unlikely. But as Hilary Clinton once said, “What difference does that make?”

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Professor Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. See the GLORIA/MERIA site at www.gloria-center.org.