The US has launched an aggressive campaign to re-establish a new Syrian opposition force with its Secretary of State rejecting existing opposition leaders as “a bunch of out-of-touch exiles” that should be replaced by a group representing active insurgents.
“We’ve made it clear that the SNC (Syrian National Council) can no longer be viewed as the visible leader of the opposition,” said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday during an official visit to Croatia.
She further declared, “That opposition must include people from inside Syria and others who have a legitimate voice that needs to be heard.”
Clinton’s assertions clearly confirm the leading role of the American government, the closest Israeli ally, in fueling the anti-Syria insurgency aimed at removing the pro-resistance government of President Bashar Al-Assad.
The development comes as hundreds of opposition figures plan to gather in Doha, Qatar, next week in an attempt to establish a new insurgency group, presumably under the auspices of the Arab League but organized in effect by the US government.
Clinton, meanwhile, affirmed that she had been heavily involved in planning the Qatar gathering, including recommending individuals and organizations to include in any new leadership structure, according to a New York Times
According to the report, “some analysts are expecting that the United States could become more deeply involved by supplying weapons, including antiaircraft weapons, to the opposition.” Thus far, it adds, the US has insisted that it has only supplied nonlethal aid, “although it has been directing weapons from other states to favorite groups.”
Although the US and its allies are making great efforts to bring out military commanders from Syria for the Qatar meeting next week, there was no guarantee that the overall effort would succeed, the report says, adding that prior attempts to establish a more unified opposition have ended in “spectacular failure, with a similar meeting in Cairo last June descending into acrimonious shouting and fisticuffs.”
According to another report, US officials expect at least 50 opposition representatives, many from inside Syria, to attend the meeting and choose an executive council containing eight to 10 members. They, however, declined to name Syrian attendees, citing what they claimed as “security concerns.”
US Ambassador Robert Ford, who was withdrawn from Damascus for security reasons a year ago, plans to attend the meeting as well.
Not all members of the so-called Friends of Syria group agree with the American initiative.
Qatar and Turkey continue to support the SNC as the principal opposition group, while the Obama administration has spent much of the past several months trying to persuade them to see things differently.