…From its blog:
Steering Reform in Syria
While Western powers watch Syria’s growing regional isolation and tightening ties with Iran, a new report spotlights the nation’s divided internal opposition to the Assad regime. The report, from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, describes three groups.
The first is a moderate mix of sidelined regime members, lower-level Baathists looking for a party shakeup and older business elites who have lost ground to regime members. This group wants Assad’s Baath party to keep power, but seeks greater competition within the regime. A second set combines secular intellectuals within Syria, the Muslim Brotherhood — which has leadership based in London and Egypt — and secularist opponents living abroad, mostly in France and the U.S. This circle has been weakened by years of repression and has few ties to the population. The final opposition element is a poorly understood group of local Syrian leaders, mostly likely of Islamist leanings. Arguably, they may be the best able to mobilize if the Assad Regime teeters, yet they remain largely unknown.
In any case, the report, released July 17, concludes: “The specter of civil conflict and non-democratic successors–whether Islamist or secularist–leaves many Syrians wondering if they may not be better off with the devil they know than that which they don’t.”