Syrian Rebels Fail to Agree on ‘Exile Govt’

Divisions Remain in Islamist-Dominated Umbrella Group

by Jason Ditz, January 21, 2013

The Islamists’ virtual takeover of he Syrian National Coalition (SNC) at its meeting last month was expected to effectively end the divisions in the rebel lobbying group, albeit not in a way many Western nations were comfortable with. The divisions, however, seem to have remained and even grown in the new meeting.

That’s because despite the Islamists holding a large number of seats in the 70-member group they belong to several different factions, and today’s efforts to form a “government-in-exile” to rule rebel-seized lands has failed.

Deals were so remote that the SNC President Moaz Alkhatib left mid-conference to go fundraising in Qatar, and several of the key factions didn’t even nominate anybody for the position of prime minister in exile.

Indeed, the only nominee that was even suggested for the position was Riyad Hijab, who was the actual prime minister of Syria for a little over a month last summer before defecting. Before that he had served as Agriculture Minister.

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