Are the Assads seriously trying to change the demographic character of the City of Lattakia by deporting all Sunnis? As they watch the current crackdown in Lattakia unfolds, many protesters think so.
The best response to this piece in the New Republic on the increasing levels of sectarianism in some protest communities is to highlight this observation by Professor Omar Dahi based on a recent trip to Syria:
“It is quite amazing that the protest movement has not been as violent as one would expect given the brutality and sectarianism of the regime.”
The “motley Syrian opposition” did push for a neat revolution, we had a moral obligation to do so, still few of us were surprised to see that things have not been as neat as we wanted. The regime mounted a systematic campaign to stir up sectarian hatred among its supporters and opponents alike, pitting sectarian groups against each other in the hope of generating enough mayhem and chaos to undermine and suffocate the revolution, in doing so, the regime used all the resources of the state under its disposal, especially the media, it was only natural that things turn bumpy. We are not blind to that, and we are not in “denial,” as the author claims. But we have so far managed to keep the sectarian discourse and violence among the revolutionaries in check. The few incidents that have been reported and that seem to be genuine, as opposed to the bulk of fabrications out there, no matter how reprehensible, should not detract from our success in this regard. The battle is far from over of course, and things can still go wrong. But, for all its fractious nature, Syria’s opposition is still doing a great job in pushing forward a message of nonviolence, inclusiveness and tolerance, and will continue to do so.