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World Citizen: Divided Syrian Opposition a Sign of Post-Assad Risks

Thursday, Jan. 19, 2012

If you look closely at the grainy pictures of anti-government protests in Syria, an intriguing symbol emerges: Protesters calling for the end to the dictatorship of President Bashar al-Assad are waving two different versions of the Syrian flag. It may seem like a small detail, but it points to deep divisions among anti-Assad forces -- divisions that are keeping Syrians from coordinating their efforts, sending mixed signals to the international community and creating concerns about how well the fractured opposition's leadership would be able to function if it toppled Assad and suddenly found itself having to build a new government.

For foreign backers of the Syrian opposition, the rifts have created an obstacle to supporting the protesters’ efforts. That explains why there has been great excitement every time it appeared as if the main groups had finally managed to bridge their divisions. Despite a number of efforts, the rifts remain. ...

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