More than 30 nations, including the United States, on Friday declared that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's regime is no longer legitimate and formally recognized Libya's main opposition group as the country's government.This action has repercussions far beyond Libya; it should be studied closely by opposition movements in Syria; both countries are in the midst of a massive crackdown by their respective autocratic despotic regimes but the world has essentially ignored the plight of the Syrian opposition while the Libyan opposition has coalesced into a coherent group that is now recognized as a legitimate government of the country.
In a final statement following a meeting of the so-called Contact Group on Libya, the nations said: The "Gadhafi regime no longer has any legitimate authority in Libya," and Gadhafi and certain members of his family must go.
The group said it would deal with Libya's main opposition group — the National Transitional Council, or TNC — as "the legitimate governing authority in Libya" until an interim authority is in place.
Syrians need to take similar actions, and hope that its country's foreign diplomats defect and otherwise distance themselves from Assad's brutal regime so as to give the opposition a chance to stand up against the ongoing crackdown. Assad has been successful in cracking down against opposition groups so that they can't make the kind of gains that the TNC has seen in Libya, but hasn't successfully quashed the protests (the death toll keeps rising as protesters are killed on a daily basis with no sign of any letup).
The biggest rallies on Friday occurred in cities that have tested the government’s ability to impose its authority: Homs and Hama in central Syria and Deir al-Zour in the poor, drought-stricken northeast. Protesters also gathered in Dara’a, the southern town where the uprising began, suggesting that a fierce military crackdown in April has not broken the opposition movement there.Assad is not going to give up his grip on power - power that has been in his family's hands since his father rose to power more than 40 years ago.
“Dara’a is still under siege,” said Anwar Farres, an activist in the town. “Nothing has changed. They’re still sending more and more security forces here.”
Omar Idlibi, a spokesman for the Local Coordination Committees, which has sought to document and organize the protests, said one person was killed in Dara’a on Friday and another in Homs. Three people were killed in the restive northwestern province of Idlib, where the military has carried out campaigns against what it calls Islamist insurgents.
The protesters in Hama, Syria’s fourth-largest city, numbered in the tens of thousands for a third straight week. Even larger crowds turned out in Deir al-Zour, knit by deep clan loyalties, and in Qaboun, which is emerging as a flash point on the outskirts of Damascus. Demonstrations in Homs have also proven resilient.
“Leave, Bashar,” the crowds in Homs chanted, according to an activist there. “No to dialogue!”
In a predominantly Kurdish area of the country, protesters unfurled a Syrian flag emblazoned with “Azadi,” the Kurdish word for freedom.
Four months into the uprising, some activists have spoken of a stalemate, as the government trumpets tentative and ambiguous steps toward reform while a fractious and immature opposition struggles to provide some kind of alternative. Meetings of opposition figures are scheduled to take place on Saturday inside Syria and in neighboring Turkey, but divisions have threatened to derail the meetings. Though the government allowed a rare opposition meeting last month, some fear that security forces may now seek to prevent one from convening in Damascus.
“I am pessimistic,” said Muntaha al-Atrash, a member of Sawasiyah, a human rights group in Damascus. “I feel like it’s going to be a long, long journey.”
“This regime won’t easily submit to people’s demands,” she added.