As the international community debates how to slow the bloodshed in Syria, leaders in the Syrian government and the opposition have tried to use elections to gain popular support. Yet parliamentary elections in Syria and the presidential election at the Syrian National Council in May both led to more division. In a new backgrounder from the Institute for the Study of War, Research Analyst Elizabeth O’Bagy examines the effects of the May 2012 parliamentary elections in Syria and the power struggle within the Syrian National Council and other developing political opposition groups.
President Bashar al-Assad’s regime held parliamentary elections in early May in an effort to create a narrative of democratic transition and to offer fence-sitters the belief that peaceful reform was possible.
As UN monitors arrive and the international leaders continue to debate how to support the opposition in Syria, the next step may be determining who would lead if President Bashar al-Assad’s government falls.
This report provides detailed information on the diverse groupings of the Syrian political opposition in order to inform the international community’s response to the conflict. It distinguishes between the expatriate political opposition and the grassroots protest movement operating on the ground in Syria.
As participants head to Baghdad for this week’s Arab League Summit, the Institute for the Study of War takes stock of the opportunities and challenges for Arab leaders at the conference.
This briefing will track the Free Syrian Army’s evolution over 2011 and 2012, providing information on the movement and highlighting where structure does and does not exist within the movement.