“Why is the Syrian Army, against all predictions, winning the war in Syria?” In June 2014, a little known British military analyst posed this question in a controversial, yet prescient article published on openDemocracy.net entitled, Pax Syriana: neither vanquished, nor all-conquering.

The analyst, Kamal Alam, explained why the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) had not and would not easily fragment, leading to the collapse of the Syrian state. Alam’s prediction that Syria’s “unified non-sectarian army” would endure as a national institution enjoying the support of a large segment of the Syrian population flew in the face of nearly every assumption of the Washington pundit class. Such contrarian positions tend to be dismissed as ‘pro-regime’ and are therefore rarely represented in establishment media.

But what is perhaps now proving to be the more conservative and ‘realist’ approach reflected in Alam’s unpopular analysis, however, was affirmed in a now declassified 2012 US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) information report (IIR), which stated flatly: “The regime will survive and have control over Syrian territory.”

Despite such military realism the public has been consistently fed a singular narrative of Assad’s “imminent demise” for years. As late as 2015, even after Russia’s overt entry into the war, President Obama echoed the prevailing wisdom of the mainstream pundits and declared, “the Assad regime will fall.”