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The fact that the Kurds are perceived in some quarters as not wholeheartedly supporting the anti-Assad revolution and that some of their number may owe their loyalty to Kurdish separatist groups, such as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), should not stand in the way of correcting what is a fundamental human rights issue. The failure to address this travesty speaks volumes about what to expect from the opposition in a post-Assad Syria. It will probably be communal and clan politics as usual with discrimination practiced against less favoured and weaker groups.
There were also other clear indications that the delegates at the Cairo conference were not concerned first and foremost with the people’s interest after the revolution but rather with their own. Recognition of the Kurds was only one issue the delegates could not agree upon. There was also a power struggle between the two main opposition groups, the Syrian National Council and the Syrian National Coordination Body over a committee that would coordinate the opposition parties and implement decisions. One accused the other of being “too close to the Assad regime,” while the accuser then stood accused of being “a front for Western powers and the Muslim Brotherhood.” To top it off, another important opposition group, the Free Syrian Army, the ones actually doing the fighting, boycotted the conference altogether, calling it a “conspiracy.” And all this petty quarreling was going on while people were dying in Syria.
“They are so different, chaotic and hate each other,” said one Arab League official in what is probably the best character summation of the opposition.
All this does not bode well for the future of Syria when and if Assad is deposed. In Libya, the opposition was so fractured after Gaddafi’s downfall the writ of the National Transitional Council (NTC) did not extend much beyond Tripoli. There was constant fighting between the different militia factions and tribal fighting in southern Libya, over which the NTC had no control. And with the Libya going to the polls on Saturday in its first ever free election, the Muslim Brotherhood is expected to do well.
Such a forbidding fate most likely awaits Syria. After Assad’s downfall, the country will break down and fracture due to fighting between the different opposition and ethnic groups. The united-in-purpose Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist parties will then use the chaotic situation to advance their cause to a victory at the polls. And the Middle East will then just have exchanged one anti-American, anti-Israeli and anti-Western dictatorship for another.
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