Perhaps Assad will fall from his chair and the opposition will still be occupied by its differences over council leadership and chairs. Then the rebels would have taken the leadership to another realm. Or maybe the opposition abroad becomes fragmented into various categories and the liberated land ends up divided.
After the meeting in Oman, the Doha meeting partly covered up the cracks in the dam, but the large councils remain competing against each other. Time is running out for Syria and the risks are growing.
Riyadh Saif, a respected opposition member, presented a new political scheme that is up to the appropriate level. It sets out a clear framework of where should the opposition head toward, despite their hosts and adverse external pressures. But there is no value to the initiative without real concessions from all parties to work within the framework of one. They will represent a united entity that is a viable alternative political system.
Earlier, the Free National Council had the prime position in the opposition leadership abroad. However, this failed to accommodate multi-Syrian forces, which represent different sects. It became a semi-closed private club that had gatherings and other councils meetings until the Syrians in Istanbul awakened.
From the perspective of a distant observer, the days ahead will shape the future of Syria — and should they all agree, there would be a unified Syria. However, if differences remain, Syria would be divided, the revolution would fail, and possibly turn into a civil war. Do those who sit in air-conditioned rooms realize the grave consequences of this equation for the future of their country because of them?
It is not credible to be blame key regional countries, as well as Western countries, when the opposition itself is stalling and refuses to sacrifice their interests in support of its people. Therefore, the general framework put forward by Riyadh Saif and Riyadh Hijaab remains the best option for all parties concerned if they accept the plan.
And as long as we are trying to understand the symptoms of the failure of the Syrian opposition, remember the history of the Iraqi opposition, which failed to topple Saddam’s regime between 1993 and 2003. Although they closed in on him, smashed most of the capacity of his forces, the application of the no-fly zone for two-thirds of Iraqi skies, and the success of the Kurds in the establishment of a liberated zone in the north, Saddam remained standing, while the opposition were arguing in hotel rooms, and blamed the West, skeptical and accusatory. So why did they not topple the butcher of Baghdad? They want others to do their job.
Of course, if the 9/11 incidents did not occur, perhaps Saddam would still be ruling Iraq today.
We cannot equate Iraq back then to the events in Syria today, but we can see common denominators between opponents: The blaming of others, preferring to narrow their interests, which are not necessarily personal, but nevertheless favoring factional interests over the interests of their country, which sits on the edge of the abyss.
(The writer is the General Manager of Al Arabiya. The article was published in Arab News on Nov. 13, 2012)