Syrian Rebels Wait to See if Opposition Leaders Can Get Weapons

Fighters Doubt New Umbrella Group, But Hope for Arms

by Jason Ditz, November 16, 2012

This week brought us the creation of the Syrian National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces (CORF), the self-proclaimed unifying organization behind all rebel fighters inside Syria.

CORF talks a good story, and Western nations are on the bandwagon already. The rebels fighting in Syria, however, aren’t nearly so enthusiastic. They’re not condemning them, but they’re not going to pledge any loyalty to the group just yet.

The relevance of CORF begins and ends with the as-yet-unanswered question of whether Western endorsements of the group will lead to any actual weaponry. France has hinted at this, but other nations are holding off.

The various fighting forces could care less about CORF’s internal politics, and from the start loyalty has been bought or lost by the ability of factions to smuggle in weapons. If CORF could become the gold standard of Western arms smuggling into Syria, that would make them a real player inside the nation’s rebellion. If not, they will likely go the way of the Syrian National Council (SNC), holding the occasional meeting but ignored by the combatants on the ground.

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