Boston, MA- Originally from Damascus, Emerson College Professor Yasser Munif says he feels very skeptical about the fact that people now refer to the rebellions in his home country as a civil war. Munif believes that the Syrian uprising is part of The Arab Spring and is completely related to the events of its neighboring countries: Egypt,Libya and Tunisia. The reason why the Syrian Uprising has lasted longer is because, even though they hold common grounds with the Arab population, there is a Syrian specificity which is the fact that in his country the Military is part of the regime, and cannot rebel against the government like in Tunisia and Egypt. This is why it has been so difficult to overthrow President Bashar Al-Assad and also the reason why The Free Syrian Army was created.
“So far the main common ground Syria holds with its neighboring countries is the right kind of context, yet it lacks a weak ruling class and and organized opposition” says Munif who feels the reason why the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt ans Libya was more successful than in Syria is because the country’s opposition is fragmented: “They don’t have a charismatic leader who is going to save them.” Another factor that has influenced the lack of success is their refusal to accept help from the west. This is also a big difference between Syria and Egypt since Mubarak was a French-Western idealist and Egyptians were looking for an independent Egypt; whereas Assad is Anti-Imperialist and completely against the west “the Syrian population doesn’t like the west but they don’t want Assad either, so that’s why its so tricky.” says Munif.
He hopes the regime topples soon since the longer the uprising lasts, the bloodier it will become and the worse the repercussions. However, he speculates that conflicts will end eventually since the Syrian government lost all its credibility when it rose against its own population:”As bloody as it has been, this is still just a rebellion against an oppressive regime not a Civil War.”