Syria’s Rebellion Ain’t So Popular
The Syrian rebellion has never been a popular revolution, but now even some who advocated the demise of the Assad regime have begun to doubt the value of the brutal civil war and what it has done for Syria.
McClatchy has a brilliant report on “Ebrahem,” a Syrian revolutionary who “openly wonders whether he and his fellow revolutionaries have done the right thing.”
“What will we tell our children? That we started this revolution and destroyed the country?”
…The first demonstrations, particularly in Damascus, were hopeful ones and deliberate in their displays of unity among the country’s sects and ethnicities. But as the violence grew, it was the Sunni Muslim Arab population that armed itself. Though the narrative that has persisted is that arming the rebellion was the only choice, many peaceful demonstrators like Ebrahem are tepid in their support of that decision, and some oppose it outright.
…Ebrahem, who openly questions the existence of God, did not help start the rebellion in Hasaka to see it empower conservative Islamist militias, though that is exactly what it has done across the country.
And this is coming from a self-described “revolutionary.” Imagine what the rest of Syria – the majority of the population by most accounts – thinks of the Free Syrian Army and the alleged humanitarian imperative to arm them to victory.
Update: See also this Bloomberg report from September:
Although foreigners can be outraged that people would get upset over small inconveniences, given the suffering and atrocities caused by government forces, it is striking that a “silent majority” in Damascus and Aleppo is blaming the rebels and the uprising.
At first, “Aleppo witnessed an amazing number of civil disobedience and popular movements that included unions, lawyers, doctors, engineers and university students,” said Fadi Salem, a Syrian academic based in the gulf region who visited Aleppo recently. But that support fell away when violence came with the flow of armed rebels to the city.
“The population was not ready for this,” he said. “The armed rebels are mostly not from the city itself. They don’t have organic popular support.”