When the outside world watches, with puzzling eyes, the behavior of the Syrian opposition, it asks itself two legitimate questions: Who’s who? And why can they not unite for a fleeing moment in history to bring down the regime?
The first question is relatively easy to answer if one understands the inner workings of the regime and the diversity of the Syrian street.
The divide-and-conquer tactic is part and parcel of Assad’s strategy upon which he sustains his rule. This applies to friends as well as to foes because the regime recognizes friends chase their self-interests with the same vigor any foe would.
This is reflected mostly in the ranks of the Syrian opposition movements in the form of planted agents to wreak havoc or in the regime creating its own opposition it works hard to legitimize but whose job is to ease the pressure upon the regime.
This kind of opposition is represented today by what is called the NCC (National Coordinating Committee). Notice how it adopted a name resembling those working for the real rebellion inside Syria also calling themselves “Coordinating Committees”.
NCC is led by Hassan Abdel Azim, Fayez Sara, Haytham al-Man’a, Etc.. all Syrian stooges playing roles assigned to them by the Syrian intelligence. Haytham al-Man’a is the worst of the worst because his uncle is none other than Farouq al-Shar’a the play-along-for-power Vice-President of Syria. The Syrian street recognizes them for who they are. They were pelted with eggs few days ago as they entered the Arab league building to support the secretly regime within its walls.
Then you have the opportunists who are really in it for power and money. The leadership of the SNC, formed in Istanbul under Erdogan’s watch and blessing, fits well this description because its aim was and remains to share power with the Assad regime.
Today, the stringers of Arab news media, covering heavily the SNC or the NCC to provide both with legitimacy, have become occupiers of the lower end of the pyramid collecting oil crumbs in stipends or gifts. The western media follows the lead when it sees the names pop everywhere in the Arab media.
What happens to the real opposition? The leaders lead by keeping their distance away from the SNC and the NCC and the followers either succumb to the black magic or remain neutral but confused in search for answers.
On the unity question, I think the west relies upon it as an excuse not to help bring Assad down. Why should we be united if democracy is all about differing opinions agreeing upon common ground? A single voice translates into a single system of power.
What the west needs to do is support equally all the Syrian opposition movements to encourage dialogue and a vibrant diverse political opinions once in power. But beware of those who chide democracy in their Arab writings and cloak themselves with it when in the presence of western bureaucratic tender minds.