Syrian National Council Fails To Keep Pace with Revolution

Article Summary
Firas Qassas argues that the Syrian National Council, widely expected to be the revolution’s political cornerstone, is suffering from a lack of internal and democratic organization which has impeded its ability to further the revolution and resulted in avoidable losses. Its inexperience in politics is a result of Syria's stifled political climate.

It has become crystal clear that the Syrian National Council (SNC), declared by the Syrian rebels as their representative, is suffering from a serious and increasingly complex crisis. It has also become clear that some people, including some supporters of the revolution, now perceive the SNC to be a real burden that weighs down the revolution. The SNC was widely expected to be the revolution’s political cornerstone, and to be able to effectively and productively manage the revolution’s affairs.

The extent of the negativism displayed by the SNC in dealing with the revolution’s affairs, the very slow pace in responding to the revolution’s developments and its internal conflicts are all evidence that the crisis it is grappling with is structural in nature. This is a reflection of the forces that scrambled to found the SNC — and eventually became its main driving force — and the organizational foundations that were adopted as it was established.

As these groups were traditional opposition forces, there is no evidence that they were liberated from their fanatical affiliations or that they were aware of the sensitivity and the constrictions of the transitional phase. Thus, it was only natural for them to be inconsistent with the spirit of the revolution or to fail to rise to the level of the sacrifices made by the rebels. These forces worked to establish the SNC in accordance with the rule of consensus, which concealed their true intentions of domination. Hence, they failed to realize that their rejection of democracy as a practical instrument in the internal organization of the SNC in favor of a consensus system would inevitably lead to a structural disorder. This disorder has prevented the council from operating properly.

Any political organization that lacks democracy in its internal relations will eventually fall prey to structural weakness and disintegration, which then leads to destabilization and the need for structural unity. Internal democracy has a central role in the formation of successful and effective political structures, and it is the only system capable of providing any political institution with structural stability, along with dynamic internal interaction. It is the most important factor in guaranteeing the fulfillment of the organization’s function.

The role of those forces in causing structural and functional deterioration in the SNC is not only limited to compromising democracy, but also extends to the mismanagement of the SNC's political decision-making.

Being elite and ideological forces, they were not able to overcome their self-absorption. Moreover, they did not get the chance to experience normal political behavior because of the political despotism in Syria. Their separation from the harsh reality and their failure to deal with it in a creative and productive way affected their performance in the SNC, which ultimately affects what they can pragmatically achieve.

As a result, the council's performance was weak and limited to the improvised media and diplomatic side, failing to further the stages of the revolution in the concrete and creative sense.

The weak performance of the SNC, its failure to achieve positive interactions within itself and the challenges faced by the revolution are all factors that increased the amount of human and national sacrifices to the revolution. They also show the importance of democratizing the internal affairs of the SNC.

Without democratization, the SNC will no doubt continue to yield to forces that are incapable of crafting on a daily basis productive, practical and strategic directions that are necessary for the revolution. This requires a coherent and interactive political structure that is engaged in politics, according to the real definition of politics.

Found in: syrian national council, syrian, structural weakness, snc ineffective, snc corruption, snc, democratization