A draft declaration from talks in Marrakech on the situation in Syria from the Friends of Syria has recognisedthe opposition as ‘the legitimate representative of the Syrian people’. Which is nice for them, I guess. Not so nice, one would presume, for the president of Syria, Bashar Al-Assad and his friends. Syria has generally been on the wrong side of US foreign policy, and even when the US has needed its support, for example in the lead up to the Invasion of Iraq in 2003, the extent to which it was willing to court Syrian support was arms length and defensive. President Obama’s declaration of support for the opposition coalition yesterday was not unexpected, and is likely to hasten the demise of the ruling family in Syria, which has been in place for over forty years.
What is the role of expectation in determining legitimacy? Is legitimacy a relative concept? Tonight Egypt is again in the throws of more demonstrations, while rumours fly about the health of former President Mubarak. Some suggest this is the end of the revolution, much as Ukraine went through a cycle of demonstration against Viktor Yanukovych‘s allegedly rigged victory in 2004, only to return to him after several years of failed ambition in 2010. So Egypt may also revert to its previous state – most likely sans Mubarak, though age waits for no man, and his demise was inevitable anyway. Why does this happen? Is there an unreasonableness to the ambition of crowds?