Syrian Rebel Coalition Crumbling: President Resigns

Rebel Military Chief Rejects New PM

by Jason Ditz, March 24, 2013

Syria’s National Coalition for Opposition and Revolutionary Forces (CORF) has repeatedly claimed to be on the brink of unifying the rebel movement in a way that would facilitate more international aid. This weekend though, it looks like the CORF is on the brink of collapse.

The group’s president, Moaz al-Khatib has announced his resignation today, citing the lack of international support as a principal reason. Khatib had only held the position for a few months, and was controversial in being one of the few rebel figures who gave lip-service to a negotiated settlement, something which riled others in the CORF.

Khatib’s departure leaves Ghassan Hitto, who was named “prime minister in exile” last week, as the closest thing the group has to a leader. Yet his position is enormously weak, and that weakness stretches beyond him being just a few months removed from being a middle manager for a small company in Dallas.

Gen. Salim Idris, the head of CORF’s military branch, has announced that he will not recognize Hitto as prime minister, and says the Free Syrian Army (FSA) won’t endorse Hitto unless he gets more support.

Though Hitto got a solid majority of the votes cast last week, he had the bare minimum of votes needed, with 15 of the 63 active members refusing to vote for anyone at all. There is concern that the lack of unity on Hitto would make him a weak leader, and this is doubly so without the FSA’s imprimatur.

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