News / Middle East

US Looks for New Civilian Leadership in Syrian Opposition

US Looks for New Civilian Leadership in Syrian Oppositioni
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Scott Stearns
November 01, 2012 5:41 PM
The main opposition Syrian National Council long looked to be the foundation of a transitional authority to replace President Assad. But Washington has watched with frustration at the SNC's personality-driven leadership and its failure to incorporate more minority Alawites and Kurds.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks in Zagreb, Croatia, Oct. 31, 2012.
The Obama administration is looking for a new group of Syrians to lead the rebellion against President Bashar Assad. It says the Syrian National Council (SNC) has shown itself unable to unify the opposition and end the Assad family’s four decades of rule.

The SNC long looked to be the foundation of a transitional authority to replace President Assad. But Washington has watched with frustration at the opposition's personality-driven leadership and its failure to incorporate more minority Alawites and Kurds. They can no longer be viewed as the visible leader of the opposition, said U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"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," Clinton said, adding that Syria needs opposition leaders who represent everyone.

"It is not a secret that many inside Syria are worried about what comes next. They have no love lost for the Assad regime, but they worry, rightly so, about the future," said Clinton. "And so there needs to be an opposition that can speak to every segment and every geographic part of Syria."

That, she said, comes from inside Syria.

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

The push from the Obama administration comes as more local governance emerges in areas controlled by the rebel Free Syrian Army. Steve Heydemann, who directs Middle East programs at the U.S. Institute of Peace, said the new leadership in these areas have credibilty.

"They pose some very interesting new possibilities for how civilian control might emerge in Syria from the bottom-up rather than from the top-down or from the outside-in," he said.

Politicians outside Syria increasingly risk being eclipsed by FSA fighters, he added.

"One of the big challenges to the political opposition now is that the leadership of the FSA has moved its headquarters inside of Syria. And it increases the perception that the civilian leadership is out of touch, not in direct contact with the people who are on the front lines of this revolution."

Heydemann said the Assad regime sees limits of foreign military support for its opponents.

"They are feeling emboldened. They feel as if Russia, China, Iran, Hezbollah are very firmly on their side. They sense the prevarication of the international community in increasing its support for the opposition. And they feel that gives them the advantage. I'm afraid that their calculus in that regard could turn out to be correct," said Heydemann.

Still, Clinton said Washington is not giving up on the mediation efforts of United Nations and Arab League Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jamal
November 03, 2012 9:13 AM
Looks like Hillary didn't like the realities on the ground and is trying to change them through personnel change. This is a waste of time and it will come back to haunt the US.


by: Michael from: USA
November 02, 2012 1:09 AM
One could say that the early opposition proved to be unacceptable in leadership quality, but more so that the opposition was not true to the Palestinian struggle


by: musawi melake
November 01, 2012 2:26 PM
So, the US and its Western allies are finding it very very difficult to white-wash a terrorist group into a legitimate govt. There's only one legitimate govt. in Syria, i.e. the govt. led by President Assad, and no matter what the Obama-club tries, things can't change on the ground since their coolies are none other than a bunch of selfish-minded individuals who want to become rich and powerful by utilizing the usual cravings for change and betterment.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid