Today, with the declaration of “Day of the Clans,” it becomes obligatory for one to distance oneself from the dominant reactionary forces within the Syrian opposition. It is clear that the same reactionary forces that have been at the heart of the Iraqi opposition under occupation are there in the Syrian opposition. What about the leftists in the Syrian opposition? They are clearly a minority, as evidenced by the celebration of the clans and tribes. It also signals a role of Gulf countries in dispensing cash payments to tribal elders. In the Middle East, there is no group in society that is more bribable than tribal elders. I expect that the Syrian opposition will call for a day of “sects and sectarian tensions” next week. Similarly, the Ba’thist rules in Syria and Iraq have also used and manipulated tribes and sects in Syria and Iraq.
As’ad AbuKhalil is a professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus. This note was published on his blog The Angry Arab News Service on 4 June 2011; it is reproduced here for non-profit educational purposes. Cf. As’ad AbuKhalil, “Muslim Brotherhood and US Representatives at Syrian Opposition Conference in Antalya, Turkey” (Angry Arab News Service, 4 June 2011); “‘The United Nations Security Council is now working on Syria. In the face of violence, we can not continue to support Syria. We do have relatives living in Syria,’ Erdogan said” (“Syrian Issue Is Not Like Libya for Turkey, Erdogan Says,” Anadolu Agency, 10 June 2011).