Marc Lynch’s thoughtful post on how Syria has affected the narrative of the Arab “Spring” had me thinking about what might have been in Syria. I hope scholars eventually will work to address these questions – well, the first four anyway:
1) Had the protests stayed largely peaceful in Syria, would Asad be gone by now?
2) Exactly how much did outside aid for armed rebels undermine non-violent mobilization?
3) Did the Libya model cause elements of the Syrian opposition to put too much emphasis on the idea of external intervention and (wrongly) set their strategy with the expectation that such military intervention would come?
4) If/when Asad falls and if he is replaced by a regime that is not ruling over a fragmented country, acting as a brutal dictatorship, or executing ethnic cleansing, will the Arab Spring narrative shift toward a “positive” direction again?
5) Can we say enough times that “These revolutions…will continue to unfold for many years to come”?