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September 05, 2011

Traboulsi dissects the Syrian opposition

September 05, 2011

September 05, 2011


FT: I think the Syrian opposition inside Syria is multi-layered and very dispersed. You have the leftovers of the old parties crushed by the Ba‘thist regime, which are mostly leftist parties and nationalist parties. You have the remnants of the civil society movement of the late ‘90s, composed mostly of symbolic figures who are morally influential but don’t have any real power. You have an Islamic current, which was not organized under Hafez al-Assad or Bashar. We don’t know much about their degree of organization but we know they exist and have been on the streets. You also have another wider layer of religiously minded people, people who are religious but anti-authoritarian and don’t have any particular project for society. And finally you have very localized rank-and-file young people, organized at the grassroots level into small cells and organizations which are called tansiqiyyat, or coordinating committees. They have loose forms of coordination that consist mainly of passing on information. A lot of what is happening is the product of localities and neighborhoods taking initiative. People from one neighborhood moving to the next, asking them to join the movement – that’s been one of the traditions in the major demonstrations.


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