I came across this interesting interview in Le Figaro, in which Michel Kilo, a dissident historian, says that it is up to civil society (and implicitly, not foreigners) to oust Assad.


via Le Figaro
The article is in French but here is my translation in case you don’t read French well:LE FIGARO: The Syrian opposition seems divided. How to fix it?
MICHEL KILO: There is the popular movement, which is close to the intellectuals, and the opposition by organized parties, such as the National Syrian Council on foreign shores or the National Committee of Coordination (CNC) within. But these organizations are always late arrivals on the scene of popular movements, historically speaking.
What do you think about the announcement that a military Council has been created, directed by the deserter general Moustapha al-Cheihk?
With several thousand soldiers, who do not comprise an army, he wants to attack an army of 400,000 troops! It will throw the country into endless chaos. It’s insanity. Protect the civilians, of course. But one cannot create the illusion of a war against the regime. And then we do not want, after victory, to be once again ruled by military men. The military must obey politicians.
So what is the solution?
One cannot rest content saying that we want to knock down the regime. We must explain how. At the beginning, we the intellectuals, we proposed national dialogue.
The dialogue with who?
With everyone, even the regime. The goal was to win for our cause new sectors of the population. Certainly, the regime would have refused to budge. But that was exactly the goal: show to those undecided that there was a political situation which the regime itself was refusing. At that moment, amassing on the streets was legitimate.
Are we now at an impasse?
Yes. The regime cannot force the protesters to clear out from the streets, and the latter cannot bring down the government. The recent talks show that Bachar el-Assad is desperate. Everything he promises is just a “war against terrorism” with which he thinks he can gain the support of the West, or at least scare the West. But it’s a phony concept. In Homs, the heart of the rebellion, there is no Islamist on the committee directing the revolution. Now, I think el-Assad wants to regionalize the conflict: referring to Iran, Hezbollah, the Iraqis, and threaten the Gulf states with a long war.
What do you propose?
The revolutionaries are in the process of organizing better the populist forces, and of convincing those who are still neutral to join their movement. They push now for the formation of base committees all around the country. These are the ones that shall form the future government of Syria, with the CNS or the parties of the interior. In Europe, in the Eastern countries, the intellectuals, the civil society, were the ones who overthrew dictatorships. We fought for 50 years against the regime. Most people of the CNS live abroad, and have for a long time. They are almost strangers to the people at home.
Can the Syrian people hold out for much longer?
Until the end of history. I posed such a question to some people in Deraa. They answered: ‘We do not have the courage to stop.’ If they stop, the repression will be comparable to that which was waged on Hamas in 1982, when there were 46,000 dead.
Is the exile of Bachar el-Assad inevitable?
It is necessary to find a solution.
You are going to return to Syria. Isn’t that dangerous?
In Syria, people are dying each day for freedom. It is shameful to be afraid.