Sunday, November 4, 2012

'Crafted in Foggy Bottom': Two, not one, Syrian 'transitional governments'

(AP) — "Sharp disagreements arose Sunday on the first day of a Syrian opposition conference meant to forge a more cohesive leadership ....
The main opposition group in exile, the Syrian National Council, balked at a U.S.-backed plan that would largely sideline it ..... the SNC, widely seen as dysfunctional and out of touch, ...... Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was unusually harsh, suggesting the SNC's leadership days are over.
Failure to reach a deal in Doha could further heighten tensions between Syria's political opposition and the international community.......
Abdel-Rahman al-Haj, a spokesman for the group, said the international community's criticism of the SNC is meant to deflect from the world's failure to stop the bloodshed in Syria.
"The international community … did not give us any help, support and weapons," he said. "We just hear talking."
Al-Haj, a 41-year-old Syrian exile in Malaysia, said the SNC is considering the possibility of setting up its own transitional government if it decides to reject Seif's plan.....
However, divisions among political leaders are not the only concern.
Rebel fighters are split into small largely autonomous groups, some led by local figures little known outside Syria. Most nominally belong to the umbrella Free Syrian Army, but their ties to it are often just lip-service. In many hotspots, fighters from a radical Islamic group inspired by the al-Qaida terror network have taken on prominent roles..."

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