As Assad’s all too real war against his people continues, with blessings from the BRICKS, Syria’s new self-appointed leaders press on with their opaque process of self-selection, while protesters cheer them on by burning the symbols of everything these leaders had ever stood for. New Syria will not be like Old Syria even if the new temporary leaders wore the same ideological mantle.
SNC Update: is it SNC 3.0 or 1.5?
Despite the announcement that happened a couple of days ago, and today’s endorsement by “Syria’s Mandela,” Riyadh Al-Turk, wrangling as to the exact makeup of the SNC continues, but the rather than going in the right direction, that is, of fairer representation and greater inclusiveness, things are going in the opposite direction. The number of seats to be allocated continues to go up and down from one minute to another, with most of the 70 members of SNC 1.0 now back in play, with all the baggage they bring. So we now have on board: SNC 1.0, the Damascus Declaration, the Ghalioun Block, the LCCs, the Muslim Brotherhood and individual Kurdish and Assyrian representatives. Out is the Syrian Revolution General Commission which has announced that it will not take part in the Council because their request for one third of the seats to be used as the blocking third was denied.
The Antalya Group is still debating whether to take part, but its share has now been reduced to 6 seats, so its participation will not make any difference. Some Kurdish groups have already distanced themselves from the process with others planning to follow their lead, and the tribal coalition is divided on the matter. Liberals, Alawites and Christians are out of any serious consideration except as necessary decorative pieces. Exclusion rather than inclusion remains the central theme.
Champions of resistance ideology seem to be manipulating the process to their benefit. Their drive, it seems, other than serving their own personal egos and ambitions, is to ensure that regimefall does not lead to a change in “national constants” as they, and not necessarily the people, see them. So, as protesters burn Hezbollah, Iranian, Russian and Chinese flags (as we see here in this video from Ghanto in the Homs province http://youtu.be/hnX1-1W2K8Q and this video from Damascus’s Midan District http://youtu.be/1VxKHDwvflc among many others taken earlier today in demonstrations throughout the country), given the chance, these people will likely hoist them high.
I am still all for regime change of course, even if it paved the way for the temporary empowerment of these figures, but then the transitional period ahead will not lead to democracy but to a new phase in our struggle for it. The fight for our freedom will continue. But, for now, it’s this third rate drama that continues to unfold, as the Assads go on with their killing spree.
Still, the SNC should be engaged, but engagers should beware that, regardless of SNC leaders have to say, people want a no-fly zone as well as a strong international stance on Assad’s crackdown including recognition of the Free Syrian Army and its legitimate role in protecting the people and fighting against the regime with all the support that this recognition entails. Most protesters want the SNC because they believe its development will encourage the international community to toughen its stands on the Assads, but as far as realities on the ground are concerned, defectors and the local popular committees (no, not necessarily the LCCs which are small though visible part of the phenomenon of popular committees) have far greater legitimacy than any council.
The Zainab Saga
Well, it has now been confirmed by Zainab Alhusni’s family that the girl interviewed ion Syrian TV is indeed their daughter. But now the Assads look even worse. Because, as Lebanese human rights lawyer, Nabeel Al-Halabi argued, it’s Syrian authorities that told Zainab’s family that the mutilated body belonged to their missing daughter, after conducting an autopsy, and they officially signed on to it to allow for the burial of the body. So, local and international human rights activists and organizations are not to blame here, as Syrian TV wants us to believe, because their identification of Zainab was based on official findings. And we are still left at end of the day with a mutilated body that needs to be identified, a heinous crime that needs to solved, where political motivations might still have played a role. In fact, some are speculating that this could be the body of teenage blogger Tal Al-Mallouhi who hasn’t been heard from since her arrest in 2009.
And did the authorities apologize to Zainab’s family for this case of misidentification, not to mention the death of Zainab’s brother? No, on the contrary, as the Guardian reports: “The Syrian Human Rights Network, a loyalist organisation, demanded an apology for Hosni and the Syrian people.” Talk about impunity.