5355211 (original text)
|Subject||Syrian Opposition breakdown|
154205_Whiteboard Doc.docx (195.9 KB)
|Date||Dec 14, 2011 17:18|
|Released||Mar 19, 2012 12:00|
This goes to show how many players there are in the opposition--there
isn't just one main opposition leader. Several groups and several players
within those groups too, all highlighted in the attachment. Ashley is
going a good job of keeping up with all of this.
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: Syrian Opposition
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 2011 09:57:52 -0600 (CST)
From: Ashley Harrison <email@example.com>
To: Korena Zucha <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Attached is one of my docs on the opposition, it is actually the shortened
version and is still 14 pages. I haven't updated it in 1-2 months, but
much of it still stands.
From: "Korena Zucha" <email@example.com>
To: "Ashley Harrison" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 2:47:46 PM
Subject: Syrian Opposition
We've provided an overview of the Syrian opposition in the analysis below
but do you have any more info on specific leaders within these opposition
players and main figures beyond Ali Bayanouni? No need to do any special
research for this at this point. I know you've looked into this so was
just wondering if you had a list of key players? Whatever is most simple
works. For example "name--organization/sect/group whatever."
If not, that's fine, just let me know. Thanks.
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: syrian opposition
Date: Tue, 13 Dec 2011 14:30:24 -0600
From: Korena Zucha <email@example.com>
To: Fred Burton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
CC: 'korena zucha' <email@example.com>, Anya Alfano
We provided an overview in an analysis below. Multiple actors that make up
Makeup of the Opposition
There are factions of the opposition that operate both inside Syria and
outside. The external opposition is highly fractured, composed of people
who cannot account authoritatively for the reality on the ground.
The protests on the ground consist primarily of young and middle-aged men,
though women and children are also present at times. The largest protests
materialize after Friday prayers, when participants congregate on the
streets outside mosques. That is not to say protests are relegated solely
to Fridays; a number of demonstrations have been held on other days of the
week but on a smaller scale. These protests also consist of men, women and
children of all ages.
But the opposition is ideologically diverse. A key element of what is
considered Syria's traditional opposition - groups that have long been
opposed to the regime - is the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (MB), which the
regime has demonized throughout the unrest. In 1976, the Syrian MB began
an armed insurgency against the Alawite regime, led at the time by al
Assad's father, Hafez. By 1982 the group was crushed in the notorious Hama
massacre that allegedly killed some 30,000 civilians. The MB was driven
underground, and dissenters in other Sunni majority cities, including Jisr
al-Shughour, were quickly stamped out.
Today, the Syrian MB remains a key participant in the opposition movement,
but its capabilities inside Syria are weak. Syrian MB leader Ali Bayanouni
resides in exile in London, and the Syrian MB outside Syria has become
increasingly involved in the external opposition movement, participating
in conferences such as the NCS conference in Istanbul in late August.
However, the Syrian MB is unable to maintain much influence in Syria due
to a limited presence inside the country, and it would take a concerted
effort on the part of the Islamist group to earn the trust and fellowship
of other Syrians. Since the banning of the Syrian MB in 1980, al Assad's
regime has been quick to blame the organization for militant attacks as a
means of instilling fear of the MB among Syrian citizens. Christians,
Alawites, and even other Muslims are wary of a conservative Sunni group
gaining political influence in the regime.
Opposition has also traditionally been found in Syria's mostly Kurdish
northeast due to the Kurds' long-standing grievances against the regime,
which has denied the group basic rights and citizenship. The Kurds have
taken part in conferences led by the external opposition, such as the NCS
meeting in Istanbul. Protests have meanwhile occurred in Kurdish majority
cities such as Darbasiyah, Amuda and Qamishli, but they have not reached
the scale of unrest as those in Sunni-concentrated areas. The Kurds and
Sunnis may share the desire for regime change, but once the goal of regime
change is achieved, whoever is in power, aside from the Kurds, will seek
to contain Kurdish separatism. There already have been indications that
Kurdish representatives among Syria's protest movement are being excluded
from the process of drafting demands.
The Syrian MB and the Kurds are two of several groups that have tried to
coalesce, without much success, into a more substantial opposition force
inside Syria in recent years. These groups took advantage of the Syrian
regime's weakened position following the withdrawal from Lebanon in the
spring of 2005 by drafting and signing the Damascus Declaration in October
of the same year. Written by Syrian dissident Michel Kilo, the declaration
was a statement of unity calling for political reforms. Declaration
signatories include the Kurdish Democratic Alliance in Syria and the
Kurdish Democratic Front in Syria. The Syrian MB was originally part of
the Damascus Declaration, but internal disagreements led the MB to
distance itself from this opposition movement in 2009. Disunity among the
opposition remains to this day.
Despite the disconnect between the external and internal opposition
forces, some progress is being made to bridge the gap. Of the various
councils formed by opposition members outside Syria, the NCS has recently
emerged as the only council that has received the support of the Local
Coordinating Committees (LLC), a group that claims to unite roughly 120
smaller coordinating committees across Syria. The NCS was selected by a
diverse committee of independents, leftists, liberals and Kurds and claims
that roughly half of its members, which include grassroots activists and
traditional opposition supporters, are based inside Syria.
In the past, the LLC and many other internal Syrian opposition groups,
fearing competition, have been quick to denounce the formation of these
external councils. Although many logistical constraints of uniting the
external and internal opposition persist, the fact that the LLC has
pledged support for the NCS and called upon the Damascus Declaration
parties and Kurdish leadership to do so mean this should be watched as a
potential sign of the opposition gaining coherence.
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