The internet is still down in Syria, and fighting is raging in multiple locations across the country in what people fear could be the beginning of a more brutal and destructive phase of the civil war. “In some ways, it’s a Cyclops stabbing itself in the eye,” Joshua Landis, a Syria expert at the University of Oklahoma, told the Washington Post. “They’re turning the light out on themselves here, which is not good.”
Google and Twitter quickly launched a cooperative effort known as Speak2Tweet so that Syrians without internet can leave a voicemail that gets automatically posted to Twitter. However, Syrian phone networks have also been cut in many places, and it’s not clear from the Speak2Tweet feed that many actual Syrians are using it to get information out to the rest of the world.
Meanwhile, the U.S. is moving closer to diplomatic recognition of the Syrian resistance. “A decision to recognize the group could be announced at a so-called Friends of Syria meeting that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is expected to attend in Morocco on Dec. 12,” reports the NYT. After recognition, the next step will be economic, military and humanitarian aid. The Gulf Arabs, the Europeans and the Americans are weaving a net and step by step are taking the political decisions that ultimately will bring Assad down. The fractiousness of the Syrian opposition has slowed this process but hasn’t stopped it.
The question, of course, is what comes after Assad. Here the danger remains great that the unity forged on paper by the opposition will fall apart when it comes time to try to restore order and government to Syria.