The uprising in Syria may have started as a call for more freedom but it has transformed into a war of extreme Sunnis versus moderates and minorities. There is no doubt that Freedom is an essential right to all Syrians, but it cannot go unnoticed that Syrians in general have enjoyed one of the highest standards of living in the Arab world. Further, the crisis in Syria ignores the underlying reality that this is more about a Sunni/ minority conflict than a war about Freedom.
It may be cloaked under the guise of a move toward democracy but the " rebels" have not worked at all with the legislative tools that are available to them. Instead, they have dismissed the call to participate in the electoral process and advocated armed rebellion that inevitably will leads to thousands of deaths..
Early this month, the Syrians passed a new constitution that opened up the legislative process in Syria allowing, at least on paper, the right of Syrians to become involved in a more open political system. Assad may be a dictator but unlike Saddam, there are moves by him to open up the political system.
Unfortunately, the reason that the " rebels" are not looking towards peace is because they are under the spell of our old friend but also our nemesis Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is involved in a power struggle with its arch rival Iran and Syria is the battleground. I call Saudi Arabia our nemesis because it is a fact that the underlying extreme religious ideology that motivates al Qaida emanates directly from the Saudi extreme interpretation of Islam- Wahabism; And it is this interpretation that would wreak havoc in Syria for this ideology allows for no discussion.
It is wrong for the rebels to reject such an invitation if they are truly seeking peaceful reform. There is no doubt that the transition of power is not going to happen quickly but it could happen smoothly if given a chance. Instead of killing, the armed rebels should openly participate in the political system in Syria and use the international goodwill to ensure that a transition takes place. And the United States could be more constructive by working in conjunction with Russia in creating the political environment for that transition to take place. Instead of calling for arming Syrians, Senator McCain should call for political participation for the Syrians.