Jon Lee Anderson has the bad news:

Whatever the regime’s real intentions with regards to its chemical weapons, the next chapter in Syria will be an ugly one, and before it is all over, many people are going to die—from bullets and bombs, if not from sarin gas. Thanks to the boy-who-cried-wolf legacy of the Iraq invasion and the W.M.D.s-that-weren’t, it is not surprising that the alleged Syrian chemical-weapons threat has thus far failed to cause panic in international circles. This could prove to be an unfortunate historical lesson, for, as things stand, there is no guarantee that they won’t be deployed. And if they are used, Syria’s conflict will become a threshold conflict in more ways than one.