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

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid