Tag Archives: nonviolent conflict

The Syrian Resistance

4 Oct

Last week, openDemocracy published my co-authored article on the Syrian struggle.

Together with Mohja Kahf, we assess the role and impact of the Syrian nonviolent resistance when it lasted and show how the armed resistance jeopardized what civil resistance had achieved. We also address myths pertaining to the resort to arms by the Syrian opposition. The decision to engage Assad regime on its own terms and where it is the strongest – via arms – was based on the misplaced beliefs in the efficacy of armed protection and the inadequate knowledge of the effects of civil resistance.


Comment ….

Maxims on Civil Resistance part I

1 Oct


  • Civil resistance is a voluntary collective experience that imparts pluralism before state becomes pluralistic.
  • ‘Rule of law’ occludes the fact that without people’s consent there cannot be any rule of laws, institutions, or elites.
  • Gandhi, King, Havel, Walesa, Mandela agreed on this point: idea of political violence to overthrow dictatorial regimes is NOT RADICAL enough.
  • Resistance is about preeminence of action. Inaction is less effective than violent action. Violent action is less effective than nonviolent action.
  • No nonviolent resistance that mobilized at least 3.5% of the population ever failed. In China, it would be 45 million people…
  • Transactional demands: higher wages, better working conditions pave the way to transformational demands: equitable distribution of wealth.

See Maxims on Civil Resistance part II


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