US Initiative to Set Up Syrian Opposition Council Collapses

One day before the official start of the conference, opposition leaders selected by the US began to drop out

by John Glaser, November 08, 2012

The Obama administration’s initiative to set up a new Syrian opposition council, possibly to serve as an interim government following the fall of the Assad regime, appeared to have failed on Thursday before the convention in Qatar even began.

One day before the official start of the conference, at which Syrian opposition activists selected by the State Department were to meet, “three of the dissident bodies included in the US-backed initiative refused to attend,” diplomats and opposition figures told the Daily Telegraph.

“There are too many people against this initiative for it to work now,” said a western diplomat who chose to remain anonymous.

News of the US’s latest failure in solving the Syrian crisis came as Turkey said it was aiming to deploy NATO’s Patriot missiles on its border with Syria as a response to the alleged cross-border threat posed from Syria. But talk of that threat is incomplete without mentioning the fact that Turkey has been aiding the rebels and aiming for regime change in Syria.

This is only the most recent failure in a catalogue of past US failures to gain control of Syria, going back several decades. But it seemed doomed to failure from the beginning, as the technocrats in Washington have very little local knowledge of the internal dynamics in Syria.

Many opposition activists not included in the Doha meeting expect the effort to be another failed attempt to unify the opposition.

“Right now, the opposition groups are very vague and there’s no agreement on who’s representing who and what and where,” one opposition activist told The Cable last week. “Right now there is a lot of risk that this will be another failed approach that will not achieve anything.”

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