The Fate of the Opposition in Syria

The Fate of the Opposition in Syria

Mostafa Zein |

The United States and its allies seek to change the Syrian regime, not out of love for the people demanding their freedom and dignity, nor in support of the Sunnis in confronting the Shiites (in the religious ideological sense), nor even out of hatred for Bashar Al-Assad and the ruling class in Damascus. It is evident to say that such sought-after change has a specific political goal – a goal known to both the regime and opposition groups, both peaceful and armed, and to both “Jihadists” and non-Jihadists. In fact, the repeated meetings and gatherings held in Istanbul, Cairo, Paris and other places to unite these opposition groups were only an attempt to find a Syrian party that would have some presence on the ground in order to use it as a pretext to attack the regime and put an end to it in service of this sought-after political goal. Such a goal is no secret, as it has been known since the days of Assad Senior, and has remained the same under Assad Junior: splitting away from Iran and ceasing to support “terrorists” in Lebanon and in Palestine – i.e. Hezbollah and the Hamas movement, before the latter joined with the Muslim Brotherhood, which is going through its own Spring in Tunisia and in Egypt, as well as in Libya, despite the conflicts flaring up in Tripoli.


It is on the basis of such an evident fact, and within such a framework, that have come the stances and the statements of officials from the Syrian National Council (SNC), as soon as it was formed and throughout its many conferences and meetings with the Europeans and Americans, whether officials or non-officials. Their discourse was directed towards foreign powers, to reassure them to the fact that what they have asked for and did not receive from Damascus will be among the priorities of the “new regime”. In such a discourse, they made use of all the terminology used by the Neoliberals, whether traditionalists or emulators. Yet the National Coordination Committee (NCC) has rejected this tendency and has raised up its own three no’s: no to foreign interference, no to weapons and no to sectarianism.


The NCC has justified its three no’s with the notion that militarizing the uprising would make way for foreign interference, which is what is happening now. NCC Spokesman abroad Haytham Manna says that there has never been an armed revolution that did not produce a dictatorship – starting from the French Revolution, which culminated in Napoleon Bonaparte’s colonial empire, before he was defeated and the values of the Revolution reappeared in the Second Republic; and not ending with the Bolshevik Revolution, which consecrated the dictatorship of the proletariat (read: the party) in the former Soviet Union.


The National Coordination Committee, which held its conference in Damascus, insisted on those notions. And that is what was held against it by members of the opposition abroad, who see no possibility of returning to a peaceful movement amid this river of blood and destruction across all of Syria, and after having established a military reality that has attracted forces and movements, at both the domestic and foreign levels, that no one can control, some of them seeking to establish a holy dictatorship instead of the current autocracy.


The fact of the matter is that members of the opposition abroad still reject any form of dialogue with the regime, viewing it as “betrayal of the Revolution”, relying on Erdo?an’s assertions that Assad’s fall is only a matter of time, and not taking into account the NCC’s fears of the state becoming fragmented into microstates, or of power being divided up between ethnic groups and sects, as is taking place in Iraq.


Syria is headed in such a direction, and as long as opposition groups do not recognize each other and lay down a single program for change, one that would take the regime’s supporters into account, then that will be its fate – which would satisfy the supporters of the “Revolution” and would do away with the people’s right to freedom and dignity.