US backs away from Syrian National Council

The Syrian opposition appears split on American intervention to shape its leadership. The Syrian revolution is a grassroots affair, with hundreds of small groups on the ground, some of them neighborhood associations, others bigger organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood.

The umbrella group for the fighters on the ground inside the country is the Free Syria Army. Expatriate leaders had founded the civilian Syrian National Council, which has less grassroots support and is sometimes resented by FSA fighters who see it as out of touch and as not on the front lines.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday that the US can no longer recognize the SNC as the sole representative of the opposition. She seems to want a new organization that will incorporate the Free Syrian Army. A new leadership will be hammered out at Doha, Qatar, next weekend.

Some SNC members applauded the US move, while others angrily denounced it as imperialist meddling.

The US is concerned that Muslim hardliners might come to dominate the opposition if the current drift continues. The FSA is frustrated with he US for its part because Washington is blocking heavy weapons from reaching the rebels. At a time when the Baath regime is intensively bombing their positions from the air, they want anti-aircraft batteries and shoulder-held missiles. The US fears such weaponry could reach al-Qaeda affiliates.

Aljazeera English has video

4 Responses

  1. Dear Professor Cole

    One wonders what on earth these guys in State Department were thinking of?

    Sowing Dragon’s teeth like this is going to come back and bite everyone in the ass.

    The borders into Europe from Turkey are porous, so it is inevitable that these weapons will endanger European air travel. I don’t really want to experience the thrill of riding a run in to land at Athens or Rome or Malaga with one or both engines on fire.

    link to washingtontimes.com

    We now know why Ambassador Christopher Stevens had to be in Benghazi the night of 9/11 to meet a Turkish representative, even though he feared for his safety. According to various reports, one of Stevens’ main missions in Libya was to facilitate the transfer of much of Gadhafi’s military equipment, including the deadly SA-7 – portable SAMs – to Islamists and other al Qaeda-affiliated groups fighting the Assad Regime in Syria. In an excellent article, Aaron Klein states that Stevens routinely used our Benghazi consulate (mission) to coordinate the Turkish, Saudi Arabian and Qatari governments’ support for insurgencies throughout the Middle East. Further, according to Egyptian security sources, Stevens played a “central role in recruiting Islamic jihadists to fight the Assad Regime in Syria.”

    In another excellent article, Clare Lopez at RadicalIslam.org noted that there were two large warehouse-type buildings associated with our Benghazi mission. During the terrorist attack, the warehouses were probably looted. We do not know what was there and if it was being administrated by our two former Navy SEALs and the CIA operatives who were in Benghazi. Nonetheless, the equipment was going to hardline jihadis.

  2. And what is it about “Muslim hardliners” that Our Government finds so, ah, scary again? That Government that has gone to war how many times now under the nominal rubric of “bringing democracy to the heathens”? Which of course is BS from the git-go, excreted by our own cadres of idiot war-wimp “hardliners?” Is it just that Big Brother can’t stand it when cousins and siblings are saucy enough to say “You’re not the boss of me”?

    Some SNC members applauded the US move, while others angrily denounced it as imperialist meddling.

    And that’s the usual species-wide dilemma: everyone that’s attracted to power and wealth looking for personal and tribal advantage, nobody giving a sh_t about the shape of eventual “tension reduction” landscape and the silly old General Welfare.

    Still waiting for the Wiser People to state what “US interests” are involved and at risk over there. It shouldn’t be enough to just bleat “Well, if you don’t know…”, wouldn’t one think? Given the trillions of dollars getting dumped into the maw of the politico-military machine, and the costs and real threats, economic and environmental, to real ordinary real-wealth-generating people who have to fund, willy-nilly, all the freakin’ idiocy that’s done to “protect them” and “in their names?”

  3. Still waiting for the Wiser People to state what “US interests” are involved and at risk over there.

    None. Our involvement is altruistic. We want to see people who are oppressed by dictatorship live in freedom.

    Insisting that national interest is the only legitimate driver of foreign policy is inhumane and imperialistic. Henry Kissinger might ask this question.

  4. Our involvement is altruistic. We want to see people who are oppressed by dictatorship live in freedom.

    Even if it is altruistic, our engagement cannot be naive and driven by old bureaucratic biases or outright hijacking of foreign policy by a choice group who sees everything in that region through the eyes of one country.

    I say that finally some sense is coming to the state department bureaucrats and they are realizing that the conflict in Syria is not a Spring of Democracy but a nuclear winter of old, sectarian clash.

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