News / Middle East

    Clinton: SNC No Longer Leads Syrian Opposition

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a news conference with Croatian President Ivo Josipovic in Zagreb, October 31, 2012.
    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a news conference with Croatian President Ivo Josipovic in Zagreb, October 31, 2012.
    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that the Syrian National Council can no longer be seen as leading the opposition to embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Washington is hoping new rebel leaders emerge next week from a meeting of Assad opponents in Doha.

    Secretary Clinton said Syria needs a united opposition dedicated to representing and protecting all of the country's ethnic groups, and resisting efforts by extremists to hijack what she says has been "a legitimate revolution against an oppressive regime."

    Clinton said the Obama administration no longer believes the Syrian National Council, or SNC, fills that role.

    "We've made it clear that the SNC can no longer be viewed as the visible leader of the opposition," she said. "They can be part of a larger opposition. But that opposition must include people from inside Syria and others who have a legitimate voice that needs to be heard."

    Members of Syrian opposition groups seen during a press conference after three-day meetings outside Istanbul, Turkey, October 31, 2012.Members of Syrian opposition groups seen during a press conference after three-day meetings outside Istanbul, Turkey, October 31, 2012.
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    Members of Syrian opposition groups seen during a press conference after three-day meetings outside Istanbul, Turkey, October 31, 2012.
    Members of Syrian opposition groups seen during a press conference after three-day meetings outside Istanbul, Turkey, October 31, 2012.
    The United States has grown increasingly frustrated by the SNC's failure to include more opposition leaders inside Syria, its personality-driven leadership struggles, and its inability to attract a broad cross-section of Syrians, particularly minority Alawite and Kurds.

    "This can not be an opposition represented by people who have many good attributes but have, in many instances, not been in Syria for 20, 30, 40 years," said Clinton. "There has to be a representation of those who are on the front lines fighting and dying today to obtain their freedom."

    Speaking to reporters in the Croatian capital, Zagreb, Clinton said the United States has recommended names of individuals and organizations it says should be included in any leadership structure that emerges from next week's meetings in Doha.

    Clinton said Washington has not given up on the mediation efforts of United Nations and Arab League Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi, but that three Security Council vetoes by Russia and China mean there is little momentum for a political transition with consequences for those who violate its terms.

    "While we urge Special Envoy Brahimi to do whatever he can in Moscow and Beijing to convince them to change course and support a stronger U.N. action, we cannot and will not wait for that," added Clinton.

    Clinton said she is not surprised that the recent Brahimi-mediated cease-fire in Syria failed because the Assad government did not suspend its use of advanced weaponry against the Syrian people.   


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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Richard from: North Carolina
    November 01, 2012 8:22 AM
    The US really doesn't have enough chips in the pot to be able to advise the Syrian opposition. I'm sure, from their perspective, what they're doing is a matter of survival. Since they're not getting much outside help they're probably right. It's amazing the vacuum that Washington lives in.

    by: Michael from: USA
    November 01, 2012 2:46 AM
    I agree that making an ideal-laded Syrician platform adds a needed idea in the crisis, especially after the cease-fire did not work out

    by: Dawn from: Canada
    October 31, 2012 2:24 PM
    Here we go again, US putting their noses where they don't belong. "US outines vision for New Syrian Opposition" ? Why does US have to have a vision for Syria? They are just using 'helping' as a way to go into their country and bomb even more people.
    In Response

    by: tod
    October 31, 2012 3:12 PM
    If we are going to lend military and/or other aid to a new Syria, it needs to be one that we can agree with. That's not putting our noses where they don't belong, that's due diligence.

    by: Sharin from: Lite
    October 31, 2012 1:55 PM
    One year later? What is wrong with this picture? Does anyone understand what exactly has happened? USA has lost control, if it ever had any, and the jihadists are the winners.

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