Syrian opposition needs to resolve differences soon
The war-torn country can rebuild successfully only if there is unity or cooperation among those who seek to replace the Assad regime.When it comes to the Middle East, so much can happen, and yet so little edifying information emerges. Take for example the recently reported incident in which the Syrian government of Bashir al-Assad accused Israeli warplanes of violating his country's airspace.
The regime also accused the Israelis of bombing a scientific-research facility. Reports quoted Western security sources as saying the attack was against a convoy of "sophisticated heavy weapons" destined for the Hezbollah militants harassing Israel.
The problem is that no one is saying anything more specific than this, thus fuelling concern that Syria's bloody civil war is evolving into a regional conflict. If so, where would it end?
The situation inside Syria is bad enough, with more than 60,000 lives lost since the uprising against the dictatorial administration erupted two years ago. More than 4 million people have been displaced internally, while thousands are stranded in refugee camps on the Turkish, Jordanian and Lebanese borders.
Opponents of the Syrian regime often say the government's power is weakening. What they don't say is that the fighting is getting nastier, with civilians increasingly on the receiving end. Starvation and disease are becoming widespread.
This past week's incident - if indeed a convoy of weapons was heading to the Hezbollah - suggests that future prospects are not good.
Israel's air strikes are unlikely to change the situation, and might not even draw retaliation from the Syrian armed forces, which are taking too much of a pounding from the anti-regime rebels.
Further afield, Russia is still giving diplomacy a chance. In other words, Moscow has not about to join Western countries in backing the Syrian opposition forces. Perhaps only time will tell where the various international viewpoints settle.
The Hezbollah is also staying quiet, perhaps out of concern that it can't deal with this issue at this moment. It's one thing to go on the record and accuse Israel of anything, but it's another thing to accuse it of carrying out this particular attack, because the very next question will go to the Hezbollah. People will want to know what the Shi'ite militia will do about it. And in this part of the world, either you put up or you shut up.
This is very unlike the Thai military and those of neighbouring countries. Within days of border clashes, sometimes hours, the two sides usually sit down and have lunch together. It's part of the damage control designed mainly for domestic consumption. One can say it's an Asian way of doing things. But, of course, everybody has his own way of doing things.
And then there are the various fanatics who are itching to get into Syria to help remove the regime. Too many cooks can spoil the broth, though, especially if one of the cooks is an Islamist radical whose position is often uncompromising.
All the conflicting parties know that how the war is fought will determine how the peace unfolds. Alliances made today might not hold tomorrow.
In order to prevent so-called brothers in arms from turning their guns against each other after the Syrian dictator and his regime are ousted, it is best that they get their views out in the open and resolve their differences now.