To a large extent the “National Salvage Congress” was a success. Through this conference the opposition, and consequently the Syrian revolution, has been able to achieve many objectives.
First, the opposition exposed the hypocrisy of the regime. The regime promised reforms. The “president” announced that he was “cancelling” the state of emergency. However, when the opposition decided to hold a meeting concomitantly in Damascus and Istanbul, the regime response was so violent, killing more than 24 persons in front of the hall in which the Damascus section of meeting was supposed to be held. This response revealed the real face of the regime and exposed its hypocrisy to the Syrian people and the International community. Till recently the American Administration had a small glimmer of hope that the regime could be faithful with its promised reforms, but after this massacre this glimmer of hope has surely completely faded.
Second, the meeting was an excellent political exercise for the opposition in which they proposed conflicting ideas, discussed with respect and open mind and reached compromises and consensus. This was a rare scene in Syrian politics. The Syrian opposition has infamously known for its division due to personal and ideological differences. In this meeting, the opposition showed us that it can transcend its trifling personal conflicts and it can overcome its destructive ideological rigidity, when the interest of the country requires that. For long time, the Syrian regime played on these differences to paralyze the opposition; today, the opposition pulled that card out from the hands of the vicious regime. For long time, the Syrian opposition brought to itself the ridicule and distrust of the international community (as clearly shown in the Wikileaks documents); today the opposition redeemed itself. For long time, the opposition made us worry about its narrow mind and fragmented condition; today, the opposition calmed and exalted our concerned mind.
Lastly and most importantly, the opposition has put, in this meeting, a plan of action to carry out the political fight against the regime. Although this plan still primitive, it is an important step in the right direction. Since the Syrian revolution started four month ago the development on the ground has been rapidly progressing, with additional cities and larger number of people involved every week. However, the various political solutions proposed came unviable or timid at best. In this meeting, the opposition with a united voice elected a “council of national salvation”, which will actively conduct the political fight at the national and international scenes, to bring the regime down. By far, this is the most mature and workable solution for the current Syrian crisis.
In my opinion the “National Salvage Congress” has succeeded to a great measure. However, it is important to see the extent to which the opposition can be effective in its fight with the Assad regime. Further, it is important to see whether the international community and the Syrian people would perceive the unified, active and pragmatic opposition as a viable alternative to the dying regime.