What Now in Syria?

23 Aug

Reuters reports the following:

Some opposition figures expressed fears that Libya’s endgame might encourage voices among the opposition calling for the arming of a hitherto largely peaceful movement in Syria.

“I fear that some in the opposition who are in a hurry to end the regime, who we have always warned against repeating the Libyan example, will say now it has been successful and resort to arms,” said Hussein, who was detained during the uprising.

“But we will resist such proposals, regardless of where they are coming from.”

Good on you, Hussein.

According to my research with Maria Stephan, resorting to violence will reduce the odds of success for the Syrian uprising by over 30%–even if a hypothetical violent Syrian uprising gets military backing from the international community (which it won’t).

Resorting to violence will also reduce the odds for democracy by about 40%.

Some movements have found it useful to make repression even more costly by switching to unpredictable methods like strikes, boycotts, go-slows, and stay-aways. These are low-risk for opposition activists, yet they keep the momentum moving. Strikes are particularly crippling and agitate the economic elites. If the security forces remain more or less united, the economic elites might be vulnerable to coercion. Apparently, the Syrian uprising is now a well-developed, national, coordinated campaign. Check out some of the innovations the campaign has implemented.

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