Fred Kaplan wrote in a recent Slate article on how events in Syria may play out:
"Even if our largesse did buy us influence, that doesn’t mean we’re influencing the right people."
The context of Kaplan's comments in based around a New York Times report that CIA agents are helping provide weapons to Syrian opposition fighters.
The whole idea of providing weapons to rebels in the hope of undermining an opponent and influencing the outcome of the struggle is probably older than war itself. But that doesn't mean it works. (In fact, if anyone has done a study on how often it deosn't work, Londonstani would be very interested in reading it).
In this day and age, Londonstani was kinda hoping we'd moved past the whole "take me to your leader" approach and could come up with something that combines the best of politics, diplomacy and communications. Maybe, just maybe, the people to reach out to here aren't warlords, but the average Syrian. After all, the warlords are going to be seeking constituencies to wield power on behalf of in the post-Assad Syria. So, whatever happens, it's the Syrian people who will set the frame in which the future of their country is cast - whether good or bad.
If there are international bodies out there putting together contingency plans, Londonstani's requests would be:
1 - Please do lots of research
2 - Please read your research
3 - Please don't put all you eggs in baskets owned by opportunistic gangsters (Syria has many)