A group of Syrian protesters meeting in exile in Istanbul, Turkey today announced the creation of a “National Transitional Council” aimed at leading the splintered opposition movement demanding the ouster of dictator Bashar Assad.
The announcement revealed that the NTC will have 94 members, including 52 that are currently in exile. The membership aims to represent a broad array of interests across the protest movement.
At the same time, the protest movement is so broad, including student pro-democracy demonstrators, Islamists and reformists, that the council’s membership is almost inevitably going to be hotly disputed, with groups complaining about too little representation for themselves, or too much for some rival.
The biggest issue, however, will be the split between the nonviolent protesters and the handful who are hoping to parlay the crackdown into an armed rebellion, or potentially a US-backed invasion propping them up.