Syrian Opposition Leader to Step Down (INN) ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS) By Gabe Kahn 05/17/12)
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Syrian opposition leader Burhan Ghalioun announced Thursday that he
is resigning from his post just two days after being re-elected by a
vote of 21-19.
“I will not allow myself to be the candidate of division, I am not
attached to a position, so I announce that I will step down after a
new candidate has been chosen, either by consensus or through new
elections," he said in a statement.
Ghalioun, who has led the dissident Syrian National Council by
consensus since its founding in October 2011, was re-elected as the
main opposition bloc´s chairman in a vote held in Rome on Tuesday.
He said he would remain a member of the SNC, “hand-in-hand with the
young people who struggle, the young people of the revolution of
dignity and freedom, until victory."
Ghalioun’s announcement came shortly after the Local Coordination
Committees, a network of activists on the ground in Syria, threatened
to pull out of the SNC over its “monopolization” of power.
The SNC was particularly criticized for not sufficiently coordinating
with activists inside the country, and for the strong influence
wielded by representatives of Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood.
Ghalioun’s re-election in Tuesday’s leadership contest was also
criticized by activists for "being decided by the Brotherhood." It
came despite SNC rules that require the chairman’s rotation every
Left-leaning and Arab nationalist in his thinking, Ghalioun was
deemed capable of representing a coalition composed of multiple
tendencies, including Islamists, nationalists, liberals and
While most opposition forces agreed in March, after laborious
negotiations, that the SNC would be the “formal representative” of
the Syrian people, it has little actual control over events on the
Of particular note is the inability of the SNC to exercise authority
over the rebel Syria Free Army, commanded by dissident Syrian
officers who have sought refuge in neighboring Turkey.
The SFA, itself poorly organized and equipped, consists of over
20,000 lightly armed defectors from the Syrian armed forces who have
focused on a strategic of deadly hit-and-run raids and ambushes
targeting forces loyal to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
Recently, the SNC backed a UN-brokered peace-plan that included a
ceasefire to begin in April, but could not convince SFA forces to
commit to the plan. SFA commanders tentatively accepted the ceasefire
insofar as it was mutual, but it has not been observed by either side.
Meanwhile, Assad´s embattled regime retains a fiercely loyal core of
Alawite officers and security officials who control the Army and
pervasive secret police agencies that rule the country. US officials
have said, without an external intervention to dislodge him, Assad is
likely to remain in power.
Ghalioun´s resignation underscores the disarray Syria´s opposition
finds itself in even after 14-months of bloody unrest and an
estimated 12,000 plus deaths in the country. It is unclear if a
candidate capable of uniting Syria´s divided opposition exists.
(IsraelNationalNews © 2012 05/17/12)
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