The Syrian opposition groups, who recently met in Doha, seem to be in a confused state of mind. Their endeavour to put in a credible opposition to dismantle the regime in Damascus is faced with tough tasks. First and foremost is the absence of a charismatic figure in their midst, and secondly the lack of coordination among various groups who apparently never came to know each other before amassing against President Bashar Al Assad. Such a notion has rendered their political stance literally fragmented and ineffective, and at odds before the international community. Another of their pressing problem is the fact that almost all of them are in exile, and doesn’t seem to possess vibrant roots back home. So the gulf between the political opposition elements and the armed rebels fighting on the ground in Syria is quite evident, and this will go on to act as a strategic wedge in times to come when a real solution is sought.
The most disturbing aspect of the dialogue in Qatar, which had its earlier episodes in Turkey and Jordan, is that differences are apparent among the members as to what should be the form of next dispensation, and what modus operandi should be put in place. Moreover, the task of overhauling the opposition’s organisational structures and bringing in new blood has further compounded the equation. This time-consuming evolutionary process will certainly come to benefit Assad’s administration that is in command as far as realpolitik is concerned.
The opposition will have to take a holistic look at their equation of confrontation with Damascus, and revolve their priorities if it is serious in pulling Syria out of the abyss of bloodshed and destruction. This academic exercise at work in Doha, and elsewhere, merely to appease the external audience is unwarranted and an attempt in futility. Last but not the least, the stance of the opposition that it won’t enter into a dialogue with the government in Damascus is like putting the cart before the horse. As a political entity they have to keep their doors open for a broad-based dialogue with the explicit intent of addressing the grievances of the people of Syria. This is the time for the opposition to rise above petty differences and recast a national agenda.