The plan seems to be working; Binnie says many people have been surprised at how well the army has managed to maintain its cohesion during the rebellion.
Is Syria going to end up like Libya?
The world cheered the fall of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi -- but what has been left in his place are a number of well-armed militias operating beyond the control of a relatively weak central government operating in the capital Tripoli.
Analysts don't believe the Assad regime is in danger of collapse any time soon -- Syria's army is bigger and better organized than Gadhafi's was in Libya, and foreign intervention into the civil war seems extremely unlikely at this point.
But if the regime does fold at some point, Binnie says the weapons proliferation in Syria is going to be far worse than in Libya.
"Syria has a much bigger military, more missiles and chemical weapons, and the potential for major sectarian violence," he said. "So it's a little like Libya, but potentially much, much worse."