Very interesting analysis by Al-Azm! It makes sense, but I think it is premature to speak about a civil war, it is still pretty much a protest movement faced by government repression. If the violent repressions continues, the next natural thing would be an increasingly violent reaction from the opposition.
Azem's take on the border repression:
"Syrian dissident Amr al-Azm believes that what the Assad regime is most afraid of is the creation of a dissident stronghold along the border from which the opposition could bring in arms, money and recruits from outside the country.
That would explain the extraordinary violence used to suppress protests in Deraa, near the Jordanian border, and Benyas, near Lebanon, and in recent days in Jisr al-Choughor on the Turkish border, he said.
"They are petrified of another Benghazi being carved out," he said, referring to the Libyan city that has served as the headquarters of rebel forces trying to oust Moamer Kadhafi from power."