The Arab Spring is often characterized as a ‘democratic’ revolution for liberty and the dissipation of political repression. Unfortunately, the term ‘Arab’ has no business being used due to the lack of the ethnic element of these uprisings. One could even argue that the uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria, and Libya were all birthed in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafism.
There is much discussion on the role of Sunni Islam in the governments of the Middle East. Some Sunni scholars call for Sharia Law, while others call for a more secular rule. Nevertheless, it has created strife within this religious denomination as many Sunnis find themselves at odds with fellow members. In Syria, the disunity and antipathy for one another cannot be more apparent. 75 percent of the Syrian population belongs to the Sunni sect of Islam; this sect is comprised of more than 15 million Syrians.
Since the inception of the protests in Syria, Sunnis have been immersed in a civil war within their own sect in the country. Some Sunnis have tried to remain neutral, but it has been to no avail. Many are assorted as regime sympathizers by the Opposition and vice versa. On a micro-level, this cannot be misconstrued. However, on a macro-level, they are consolidated and misquoted.
The event that created a colossal shockwave through Syria was the recent attack on a mosque in Damascus that took almost fifty lives. Who were considered the perpetrators? Sunni Muslims. Yes, groups like Jabhat al-Nusra are Sunni Muslims, but they do not represent all Sunnis. In fact, many Sunni Muslims in Syria condemned this act of terrorism. For some of the Opposition members, this is not what they envisaged when they thought of changing Syria. The Sunnis who support the regime were disgusted by this complete disregard for human life.
Sunnis in Syria have been subcategorized into one faction. The action of one Sunni has been deemed the will of all Sunnis. This cannot be far from the truth. The foreign insurgents ‘jihading’ in Syria do not represent these people. The governments of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Qatar do not represent Sunni Syrians. So, why have they imposed their will onto these people? It is in their benefit. They realize that the majority of the people are Sunni and by falsifying the number of supporters, they are succoring their cause, while systematically destroying a sovereign country in the Middle East in the name of their own sectarianism.
There are many Sunnis serving in the Syrian Arab Army and in support of Dr. Bashar al-Assad. Bashar’s wife is Sunni. Maher’s wife is Sunni. There is no sectarianism on behalf of the regime, but rather, on behalf of the Opposition. Remember, it was Moaz al-Khatib who attacked the Alawis and Shiites on television. The government has not targeted Sunni mosques and people. The army did not desecrate the beautiful Ummayad Mosque. This conflict is not about Syrian against Syrian; it’s about fundamentalists against Syrians.