Here’s Mazda Majidi, always worth reading, on Syria. A refreshing alternative to Gilbert Achcar.
The revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia have thrown into question all established authorities in the Arab world and unleashed political forces everywhere that see this as a golden opportunity to make their bid for power. This does not mean each one of these forces is progressive.
It is not possible at this point to weigh the relative strength, or politically characterize, all the various trends within the Syrian opposition movement. The current protest movement appears to have begun with a spontaneous protest against an incident of police brutality in a working-class Damascus neighborhood. It undoubtedly includes many thousands who simply a desire a society free of poverty and state repression. But it has also included sectarian religious forces who want to overthrow the country’s secular orientation, and have chanted “Alawis to the coffins, Christians to Beirut.” The Alawis are a religious minority group—about 12 percent of the population—to which many of the leading Ba’ath officials belong.
Read Majidi’s analysis in full here.