The Devolution of the Syrian Revolution


A crisis in Syria’s opposition deepened on Monday when liberals were offered only token representation, undermining international efforts to lend the Islamist-dominated alliance greater support.


To the dismay of envoys of Western and Arab nations monitoring four days of opposition talks in Istanbul, the 60-member Syrian National Coalition thwarted a deal to admit a liberal bloc headed by opposition campaigner Michel Kilo.


The failure to broaden the coalition, in which Qatar and a bloc largely influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood has been playing the driving role, could undermine Saudi Arabian support for the revolt and raise the specter of a rivalry among Gulf powers that could further weaken the opposition. Read more here

A couple of days ago something moved me to outrage more than all the human rights abuses of the Syrian conflict. I have witnessed helplessly as all my dear friends in Syria have lost everything to the shameless slaughter of nonviolent demonstrators at the beginning of the Syrian Arab Spring, which devolved into an armed conflict and civil war. The situation deteriorated and deteriorated as the Assad regime realized that it could unabashedly kill and torture unarmed demonstrators and children while the world would do nothing. Syrian people have a right to defend themselves although an armed rebellion was not the best option. No one was really ready for the Arab Spring, no democrats at least, but those who live for conflict and an adversarial approach were indeed ready. I believe that we lost the opportunity to support the majority of Syrians who wanted a peaceful evolution to a democratic moderately religious society. Instead, everyone rushed in with aid to Bashar’s killers on one side, and jihadis on the other side, leaving the democrats to rot.


There has been a steady destruction of the moral legitimacy of the Syrian opposition by the states of the Gulf and their outsized support for the Muslim Brotherhood. I find myself reaching a breaking point in the long slaughter of the Syrian people that I have witnessed in these terrible years, not by one more human rights outrage on the ground, but by the natural consequences of the kidnapping of the democratic Arab Spring by the super-rich corrupted Arab Gulf. 


These countries and their billionaires are wreaking havoc on two central Middle Eastern Arab countries, Egypt and Syria, both of which held out the promise of democratic evolution in the first part of the 20th century, not to mention very moderate Islam, at Al Azhar and in Damascus. Oil run by crude people is killing the Arab world. I know Israel’s part, but this tragedy is a Persian Gulf and oil tragedy at a deeper civilizational level. Of course, the anti-democrats in Teheran are doing their part to prop up their few allies, the Assad regime and Hezbollah. Everyone is doing their part and there is no one for the democrats.

 Where is the West that truly stands with democrats only, from damascus to cairo to teheran to Hijaz to Bahrain? Where are the Arab expatriates in the West?


Only when Arab democrat are deeply supported by global democrats will we see a proper Arab Spring. Until then religion and revolution and counter-revolution will be the playthings of dictators and thugs who use religion like a thong covering their rapacious designs on Middle Eastern power. 


© Marc Gopin