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Treatment of Louay Hussein, Mouaz al-Khatib Reveals No Place for Moderates in Syria

All those who call for negotiations, or to stop the bloodshed and the external interference will end up in a prison, the grave or in exile
Treatment of Louay Hussein, Mouaz al-Khatib Reveals No Place for Moderates in Syria

Syrian authorities have detained prominent Syrian opponent Louay Hussein, the leader of the 'Building the Syrian State Current', an internal peaceful opposition group.


Reports said Hussein was arrested at the Syrian Lebanese border while on his way to visit his family who lives in Spain. Hussein is accused of "weakening the national spirit and decreasing the national morale”.


Hussein has also been criticized and accused by the external opposition of being “an agent of the regime” because he is Alawite. On one occasion, one member of the external opposition severely objected to inviting Hussein to attend an opposition conference that was held on the east coast of the Dead Sea in April 2012, arguing that Hussein was an agent of the regime even though he had spent many years in its prisons. Hussein’s only fault was writing an article that explained the relation between the concepts of the state and citizenship, and led to a disruption in this relation within the current Syrian situation.


Prior to his arrest, Hussein, along with others, was organizing meetings in an attempt to unite the internal opposition, perhaps in order to prepare for negotiations with the regime, if by any chance Russia’s recent efforts were successful or if the Geneva III conference was held in the light of the rising hopes of a possible political solution for the Syrian crisis.


We cannot ignore the relation between Moscow’s efforts to form an opposition pole that handles negotiations with the regime, and the arrest of one of the internal opponents, who had been nominated as part of this pole. The case is similar to what had happened to Abdul Aziz al-Khair and Rajaa al-Nasser, the two leaders of the National Coordination Committee For Democratic Change. The regime has not admitted to the arrest of Khair, who mysteriously vanished on his return from Moscow, while Nasser was kidnapped from Baramkeh, in Damascus.


The message is clear here and the regime’s friends must have understood it by now, especially Russia, its most important ally: that the regime is in a continuous state of denial and has been since the early days of the crisis. It repudiated the independent national opposition (or "sovereign"oppposition as they call themselves), and the intentional mixing between terrorism and opposition in an attempt to show that all opponents are similar to ISIS, including Hussein modest and limited 'Building the Syrian State Current'.


Meanwhile, just a few days after the detention of Hussein, Sheikh Mouaz al-Khatib, the former leader of the Syrian National Coalition who had just returned from Moscow, announced on his Facebook page from Doha that his life was endangered by “envious philosophers and broke intellectuals". The moderate Islamic sheikh, who is known to have no lust for the money stained by Syrian blood or showmanship, said this after receiving information that the external opposition – which pretends to be the only legitimate representative of the Syrians –  is fed up with his position and criticism, and mostly with his attempts to reach a political solution even through negotiations with the regime. This information suggested more than just opposition annoyance, but also suggested threats.


Khatib is leading a current inside the external opposition, which exists even inside the Coalition and its caretaker government. He is also trying to find channels to negotiate with the internal opposition to form an opponent pole that believes in Syrian unity and maintaining the independence of decisions by both the opposition and the regime.


Khatib’s attempts to stop the bloodshed are based on his ethics and patriotism, which he has displayed since he was the leader of the Coalition. This stand cost him his position, as is was not accepted by the hotheads and the corrupt opponents who are led remotely from the capitals of the regional and international decisionmakers.


The opposition is blaming Khatib not only for his initiative, but also for the fact that it wasn't been consulted when he went to Russia – in other words, that he hadn’t asked for their permission. They wonder how he dare do such a thing, considering that the external opposition is the only legitimate representative of the Syrian people that doesn’t speak unless it is told to, often by a phone call from the black ops rooms.


The opposition's annoyance with Khatib is similar to that of the regime’s with Hussein. All those who call for negotiations, or to stop the bloodshed and the external interference will end up in a prison, the grave or in exile. These people are not accepted by the regime nor by the opposition,  and thus observers of the Syrian scene are pessimistic about reaching a political solution and about the future of the country in general.


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