Tim, I think it’s a misconception that people in Syria in 2011 (or Russia 1917, or France 1789) all decided to have a revolution. It doesn’t happen like that. Instead, regimes collapse when they can no longer bear the weight of their own economic/social/political contradictions. And yes, Islam has an idea about loyalty to the ruler even if he’s unjust – but it’s not an idea I agree with. I don’t blame the revolution for what’s happened in Syria, but the violence of the counter-revolution.
I do blame the revolution in Syria, Robin because State violence was met with protester violence. Pretty impossible for most of us not to, I know. But then that shows how important it is to rebel only if you are of the amazing calibre and of the heroic stature of a Gandhi or a Dr Martin Luther King Jnr or one of their many tens of thousands of followers who resisted even revenge over the decades of suffering. But, in the process, slowly wearing down the powers that be - and winning!
I think governments (if they do what America, Britain and France want) or regimes (if they don't), Robin will always stifle any opposition either by force as in Syria in 2011 or, much more sensibly as in London by Police action (like kettling) to allow dissent on the streets but only up to a point. Like last year, the Establishment put the fear of God up some Scots to make them vote 'No' to independence. The English government and all major parties threatened the Scots with all kinds of dire consequences if they rebelled and voted 'Yes'. In countries like Ukraine, Syria and Israel, dissent is met with violence. The West uses violence, coercion and coups to get their way in countries that are not part of their supposedly so very free and democratic Club of nations that toe their line (the Western aligned countries).
"The unrest began in the early spring of 2011 within the context of Arab Spring protests, with nationwide protests against President Bashar al-Assad's government, whose forces responded with violent crackdowns. The conflict gradually morphed from prominent protests to an armed rebellion after months of military sieges."
"The Arab Spring (Arabic: الربيع العربي, ar-rabīˁ al-ˁarabī) was a revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests (both non-violent and violent), riots, and civil wars in the Arab world that began on 18 December 2010 in Tunisia with the Tunisian Revolution, and spread throughout the countries of the Arab League and its surroundings."
"Many Arab Spring demonstrations were met with violent responses from authorities, as well as from pro-government militias and counter-demonstrators. These attacks were answered with violence from protestors in some cases. A major slogan of the demonstrators in the Arab world is Ash-sha`b yurid isqat an-nizam ("the people want to bring down the regime")."