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The presence of the Iranian nuclear problem on the agenda of the Security Council and as a topic for all discussions between heads of states has determined a reluctant attitude in terms of the way in which Iran conducts both its foreign and internal affairs. Despite the fact that Turkey is reluctant to create a situation in which Syria would eventually depend on the support of the Iranian side, given all the above, Turkey cannot afford to invest diplomatic and political efforts that would attract sufficient visibility both internal and external into a Syrian project that cannot rely on the strength and desire of the Asad regime to impose certain reforms that would reduce both the pressure and the expectations of the international community. Therefore, seeing that on the one hand, Syria is reluctant to undergo internal massive reforms and on the other hand is vulnerable to outside influence from Iran, one of the most negatively discussed subjects of the international community, Turkey's stand was deemed to change and take a different stand against the Asad regime. In this sense, with due regard for the fact that aside from the suspended seat in the Arab league, no clear cut action is being taken against the Syrian leader as opposed to the Libyan situation, Turkey cannot undergo any drastic measures against the regime but it can influence the way in which the opposition in Syria can provide support for the riots underway in the Arab state.
In general terms, it can be said that there is a strong opposition organized against the Syrian regime of Asad. However, the major problem with the groups forming the opposition is their lack of organization in the form of a strong unified force that would eventually manage to topple the Syrian regime. Although almost all the population is represented, to a larger or smaller degree inside the opposition groups, it cannot be said that the actions undertaken at this level are visible and identifiable by a single voice that would eventually offer the population a clear identity of the potential successor or replacement of the Asad regime.
There are numerous groups that oppose the regime. These include "the Syrian National Council (SNC), the National Coordination Committee (NCC), the Free Officers Corps and the Free Syrian Army have coalesced under one organizational umbrella"
. One of the most important aspects to be taken into account when discussing the issue of the Syrian opposition is the strong representation of youth activists, Shiite, and Sunni that, in the eventuality of a change in regime can become the base for a new type of democratic government with full representation for all the groups of the society.
Another aspect is related to the successful creation of a political opposition, more precisely, the Syrian National Council and the Syrian National Coordination Committee. They are considered as the main forces of the opposition against the regime in the country. However, despite the consideration for the same outcome, they fail to take full coherent action. The National Council is viewed, according to its leader, Burhan Ghalioun, as "the representative of the Syrian opposition"
. Furthermore, the discourse presented by the Syrian National Council leader points out the "friendship" that exists with the European countries and with the international community. From this point-of-view, it appears that the SNC is strongly anchored as symbol of the opposition.
In terms of the financing that the SNC is being provided, this is largely the contribution of the Syrian businessmen and further pledges from Arab countries as well as the Syrian population are being recorded
. This comes to point out that there is a strong support for the SNC to ensure a strong opposition to the regime in Syria. The main aspects promoted by the SNC are related to the insurance of civilian protection against the atrocities on the Syrian population. However, Ghalioun points out that the main issue is in fact represented by the inability of the Security Council to unblock the stalemate resulted from the reluctance of the Russian and Chinese representatives to the UN to vote for humanitarian assistance in the form of humanitarian corridors. Furthermore, Ghalioun strongly supports the idea that there is no need for military intervention as per the Iraq situation and the regime must topple as a result of the Syrian population and its pressures and not international forces
. This aspect is important to be taken into account because it provides an approach that has not been used in the Middle East. More precisely, the fact that the opposition is reluctant to encourage international intervention comes to point out that the experiences undergone by the other countries in which such means were used for regime change (Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan) did not have the sufficient reverberations that would enable the Arab world to entrust the outcome of a popular revolution, with the casualties as they are, to an international force that would provide sufficient military and political power to change the regime.
Furthermore, the approach provided by the SNC is relevant in the conditions in which the general approach to international intervention, as seen in cases such as Iraq, is met by a reluctant attitude from the local population. In the conditions in which a democracy would take place the regime of Asad, the democratic theory suggests that the change must come from the people and not imposed by outside factors. A popular change of regime offers legitimacy to the forces that replace a toppled regime and ensures a more successful transition. At the same time though, the case of Egypt that had the prerequisites of the popular uprising and lack of international intervention points out as well that the opposition must be a full fledged united body that is able to take control of the state in order to avoid a power vacuum that is imminent after a popular uprising.
The Syrian National Coordination Committee (NCC) was established in June 2011, "to push for democratic reforms (…) and to press ahead with a peaceful uprising"
.To a large extent, the objectives of the NCC are similar in nature to those of SNC; however, they are significantly more vehement against a potential foreign intervention. One of the leading voices of the NCC, Haitham al-Manna considers that "the worse case scenario, (…), would be external powers controlling the destiny of Syria and manipulating the uprising for their own objectives. Of particular fear for Al-Manna is a military intervention that Turkey will seek to monopolize. This Turkish led move would also be conducive to the interests of Syrian Islamists (Muslim Brotherhood)"
. From this point-of-view, the tone of the discourse is slightly changed. While the SNC considers European and other countries as "friends," the NCC views potential threats in an international intervention not to the well-being of the new democratic regime that would be in place, but rather to the influence that one country or another, even Turkey, may exercise on the creation of the new democracy.
As part of the Syrian opposition, the Free Syrian Army represents the armed opposition, the rebel groups that orchestrate constant attacks from the camps established at the Turkish border. They are dissidents of the Syrian Army, "a relatively flat organization, with a command and headquarters in Turkey, possibly a set of regional or area commands with subordinate groups in Syria, and, according to media reports, one or two combat elements in Lebanon"
; however, their actions include offensive attacks across the border. However, this type of opposition is against the principles advocated by the political opposition of the SNC and NCC. Given the different modus operandi, the representatives of the Free Syrian Army argue on the limited means through which the political opposition can achieve positive change in Syria. In this sense, "tensions were rising with Syria's main opposition group, the Syrian National Council, over its insistence that the rebel army limit itself to defensive action. They said the council moved this month to take control of the rebel group's finances.(…) "We don't like their strategy," said Abdulsatar Maksur, a Syrian who said he was helping to coordinate the Free Syrian Army's supply network. "They just talk and are interested in politics, while the Assad regime is slaughtering our people." Repeating a refrain echoed by other army officials interviewed, he added: "We favor more aggressive military action."
The actions undertaken by the Free Syrian Army are not possible outside a clear support from the Turkish side, given the fact that these actions are conducted from a refugee camp strongly protected by the Turkish troops. This comes to point out that not only is Turkey politically engaged against the Asad regime, but, from the perspective of the assistance provided to the Free Syrian Army, it is also involved in more practical aspects of the opposition to the regime. At the same time though, it must be pointed out that the political opposition formed by…[continue]
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