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View Diary: Regarding the Syrian Rebels II (18 comments)

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  •  thanks for bringing (16+ / 0-)

    some factual information to the debate here which tends to become the more ideologic and sterile the less it is informed.

    I´ll ad some excerpts from the last major ICG memo (pdf) about the opposition / rebels. That is from before the chem attack (mid June) but hopefully not too outdated yet in its main characterisations.

    (The opposition´s) core constituency consists of a vast underclass subjected to such extreme forms of regime violence that it cannot turn back. The repression, torture, massacres and massive looting and destruction of property throughout the country have generated a vast reservoir of individuals with nothing to lose and thus willing to fight to the end. Surrender, they are convinced, would mean merciless vengeance ...

    An array of often bewildering and fluctuating political organisations, activist networks and armed groups serve as imperfect channels between a determined social base and erratic international sponsors. Their names change frequently, as do their precise configurations, making it difficult for foreign observers to follow. But in any event they are misleading and largely irrelevant. Syrian society is shaped by inter-personal networks far more than by institutional structures, and those networks tend to consolidate regardless of precise labelling. ...

    Overall, beyond makeshift forms of organisation – some well-meaning, others at times even inspiring – the opposition has failed to erect structures credible and functional enough to persuade sympathisers and sceptics alike of its ability to offer an alternative to the regime. ...

    Still, even the opposition’s most reluctant foreign supporters are unlikely to fundamentally reverse course. They have gone too far and burned any potential bridge.
    Western governments, having demonised the regime ...  cannot shift gears without incurring tremendous political costs. Qatar and Turkey ...cannot turn back the clock without losing face. ...  For those, led by Saudi Arabia, who view the war as a proxy struggle with Iran, Assad’s survival would be the equivalent of a strategic body blow.

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