Saturday, December 17, 2011

This is "the best we have!"

"... This may bolster the SNC’s standing with Mr Assad’s enemies abroad, especially those in the United States who see in Syria’s conflict a chance to isolate Iran and tilt the regional balance of power against it. But Mr Ghalioun’s comments did not go down well with some colleagues, who think he jumped the diplomatic gun. Nor did some rude remarks he made about the Kurds, an important minority in Syria. Ghalioun has yet to win the avuncular mediating status of his Libyan counterpart, Mustafa Abdul Jalil, now the interim president...Barely two months old, the SNC is still fragile. Many of its members, both in exile and within Syria, grumble that policies are often conjured up on the spur of the moment and are sometimes naive. Views differ within the SNC on whether to seek foreign intervention. And some SNC members think Islamists are over-represented. The enthusiasm of Turkey’s Islamist government for the SNC may account for the Islamists’ disproportionate presence in it.
The Free Syrian Army is also causing problems for the SNC. It is probably smaller and less united than its leader, Colonel Riad Asaad, says ... But the SNC is trying to keep the uprising peaceful and wants to bring the Free Syrian Army under tighter political control. Representatives of the council and the army recently met in Turkey and agreed to co-ordinate, with the soldiers promising to scale back their attacks. But a few days later defectors killed seven pro-government soldiers at a checkpoint in the north-western province of Idleb.
The defectors think the SNC too timid. Borderlands close to Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon are becoming more violent; some opposition people want outsiders to create buffer zones and humanitarian corridors...
Wary Western diplomats describe the SNC, whether or not it can contain the Free Syrian Army, as “the best we have”, though it is far from achieving the recognition given to the National Transitional Council in Libya..."

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