Eid ul-Fitr marks end of violent Ramadan in Syria
Eid ul-Fitr is normally a festive time, but Syrian citizens say seven were killed today by security forces. The regime faces EU oil sanctions by week's end and weakening support at home.
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“While we understand the motivation to take up arms or call for military intervention, we specifically reject this position,’’ said a statement from the committee. “Militarization would . . . erode the moral superiority that has characterized the revolution since its beginning.’’Skip to next paragraph
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Many international powers, including traditional allies of Assad, seem to agree that the uprising has thus far maintained the moral high ground and sided with the grass-roots movement.
The Arab League dispatched its head, Nabil al-Arabi, to Damascus and urged Assad to "follow the way of reason before it is too late, and former ally Turkey said it had "lost confidence" in Assad's ability to rule, Agence France-Presse reports. Even Iran, Syria's closest ally, called on the regime to heed the "legitimate demands" of the protesters.
"Assad is increasingly isolated," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said. "The international community is increasingly speaking with one voice in demanding an immediate end to the violence."
Syria specialist Joshua Landis argues that the international community has fulfilled its role in the uprising by isolating Assad, but without an organized opposition, the uprising will go no further because other countries will not know with whom they can work. Yesterday's meeting in Ankara to form the Syrian National Council prompted significant infighting among the various factions of the opposition – including expatriates, whom he compares to Ahmed Chalabi, the Iraqi expatriate who played a high-profilerole in persuading the Bush administration to invade Iraq.
The stumbling block in the way of developing further momentum for the revolution is the Syrian opposition itself. Western capitals have been driving the momentum over the last weeks with condemnations, enhanced economic embargoes, and by herding Arab and Middle Eastern statesmen to make accusatory and condemning statements about the Syrian regime. If the opposition continues sniping among factions, momentum will be lost. To whom should aid be sent? To whom could arms be sent if a military option is to be opened? More importantly, whom should the Syrian people look to as an alternative to this government?
A full fledged food fight has broken out among opposition leaders over who should assume control over the revolution, whether it should take up arms, and what role foreign powers are playing. Underlying these overt clashes is the question of how much play should be given to Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood; Arabism versus Syrianism (the Kurds want recognition of their national and linguistic rights within a Syria that is not defined ethnically), and can ex-patriots lead or do they establish a “Chalabi effect?”