In the absence of leaders, no dialogue is possible, and in the absence of dialogue no salvation is possible for a state crumbling along ethnic and regional lines. But with killers representing one side and nincompoops the other, our tragedy is bound to drag on for many months to come, and Syria’s fate might have already been sealed. Our only hope lies in having those few voices of rationality out there, represented by the like of opposition leader Moaz Al-Khatib and the Revolution’s top thinker, Yassin Al-Haj Saleh, finding enough soulmates in time to enable the opposition to project a strong alternative that can be embraced and empowered both by the international community and rebel leaders. Perhaps when one side finally stumbles on capable leadership and a viable program, the other side will be compelled to do the same to stave off defeat.
Impossible Dialogue, Improbable Politics
The willingness of Syrian opposition leader Moaz Al-Khatib to dialog with the Assad regime was misrepresented and misinterpreted by all. For in order to conduct such dialog with regime figures, Mr. Al-Khatib stipulated the release of all 160,000 political prisoners currently languishing in regime jails, granting Syrian passports to all Syrian exiles, and holding the talks somewhere outside Syria. A regime that has already failed to honor its commitment to release 2,300 detainees as part of a much publicized prisoner exchange program that led to the release of 50 Iranian hostages held by rebels, the regime released only 200 detainees to date, is unlikely to accept these conditions, and Mr. Al-Khatib knows it. So, why even make the overture, one might ask? Smart politics.
Rejecting dialog outright when international leaders are calling for a political solution is simply not smart politics, entering dialog without any conditions as some opposition groups who recently met in Geneva seem willing to do is equally dumb. But asking for something that makes sense, sch as freedom for all political detainees so they can take part in monitoring the dialogue, and so that conditions on the ground for making dialogue possible are created, now that’s smart politics. That’s brave politics, and Mr. Al-Khatib has shown to be a capable leaders. Unfortunately though, he has also shown himself to be a lone voice in a political wilderness. The criticism he has received from the very coalition he is leading proves it.
The regime pound the city of Tabaqa, Raqqa Province, with barrel bombs http://youtu.be/Kql50ylJHsI Rebels try to take down the planes with their heavy guns http://youtu.be/TPeuzf38y0Y
I have commented on this leaked video before, but now it comes with English subtitles: Soldiers of Al Assad's army arrest a civilian and torture him to entertain themselves. They try not to hit him hard in order to keep him alive so that they can have more fun. He begs them to let him see his kids one last time, but they insult him by agreeing on one condition which is letting them sleep with his wife. At the end of this footage, some of them get angry and sad because he died and they lost their enjoyment! http://youtu.be/XGcQoScTWn8
Rebels in Deir Ezzor City celebrate the liberation of the political security headquarters http://youtu.be/DpCdnu50d-w
Rebels in Al-Qadam Neighborhood, Damascus City keep repelling attempts by regime forces to storm the neighborhood http://youtu.be/bobI6rme95U , http://youtu.be/JlWP2gqB1xA , http://youtu.be/Zp6T29uHhF8 The pounding of the nearby Yarmouk Camp continues http://youtu.be/_92HRVUSWpc In Eastern Ghoutah, this goes for a quiet day in the suburb of Harasta http://youtu.be/cmZXt-kJfPo
Rebels in Salaheddine Neighborhood, Aleppo City, stand by a no-man’s land separating them from positions of regime loyalists http://youtu.be/u7uj67yevu0