When Syrian former representative in People’s Assembly Riad Seif, launched his initiative to bring together all components of the Syrian opposition, many Syrians were not optimistic by such move considering the former experience with the Syrian National Council.
When the Syrian National Council was first established in Turkey, it was thought that this newly born institution will take a full responsibility in managing the political, economic and humanitarian needs of the Syrian people. At first, the Council gave the rebels inside Syria a moral lift, but after a while and as the baby started to grow, deep differences and disagreement started to appear on media. As weapons started to stretch inside, the opposition outside was unable to follow up the intensity and fast growing needs of the Syrians fighting on many levels. For many months the opposition was dominated by Ba’ath mindset in dealing with each others, accusations of treason and search for personal gain. I don’t want to prejudice all SNC members, there were some sincere individuals who worked to serve the revolution and ease the sufferings of their people, but in some way, these members were limited in the Council. To tell the truth, the Council was mainly dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood which no one objects the group by itself, but the actions of the group in the SNC brought the end of the claim that SNC is a sole representative of the Syrian people. For so long, the Muslim Brotherhood controlled the SNC from behind the scenes, and this hindered any agreement between its members. When Riad Seif launched his initiative to unite the opposition, many members of SNC were not happy about it, and they accused him of carrying out a US agenda – the most easiest and affective accusation to make anyone lose credibility – but everyone knew that this comes at the most needed time for the Syrian opposition to finally unite and work together, rather than losing energy, time and money on meaningless meeting to fix the endless disagreements. This means that the SNC will be under a wider umbrella that gathers all Syrian parties and groups inside and outside the borders.
To be fair to the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, they witnessed a savage and extreme violence by the Ba’ath regime after the 80’s wide scale massacre in Hama. Afterwards, a law was issued in Syria, anyone who is member of MB will get death as a penalty. This law by itself was used as a pretext to imprison or execute anyone who has different views from the regime, Christians and even Atheists were arrested and prosecuted and torture under the claim of being part of the MB. This long history of grave violence against this group might created in its inner conscious that it suffered a lot for long and it is time for them to take control. Though this group has every right to be part of the new Syria, but it wasn’t the only group that suffered. The entire Syrian population had enough aggression and hegemony during the rule of one family and all Syrians are now fighting it and going through a larger scale massacre than what happened in the 80’s, and we are all in this. No one is allowed to solely control the country after 2 excruciating years of struggle against the sole 40 years rule of one criminal family.
The announcement of the new formed body “Syrian Coalition” was relieving. Its newly elected President Mouaz Al Khatib, a Damascene moderate Islamist Sheikh, honorable and respected, also intellectual, was announced as the head of the new body that unified all opposition. He was a preacher in the Umayyad mosque who studied applied Geophysics, and he is a member in the Syrian Geological Society and also a member in the Syrian Association of Psychological Health. He was one of the first people to support the revolution when it started, and was arrested many times in 2011-12. He is known for calling for social justice and rejecting sectarianism. The New coalition made a smart move by choosing him as a president.
Mr. Riad Said was chosen as deputy president. He is a Liberal, decent and respectable former politician, his son was killed by the Syrian regime and was imprisoned because he objected the mobile network deal in Syria which was given to President Assad’s greedy cousin Rami Makhlouf. The other deputy is a woman called Suheir Attasi from Homs. She is a liberal activist and staunch opposition member against Syrian regime, she came from family had a great history in participating in the building of modern Syria before Assad family came to power.
No one opposed the structure of the new coalition, in fact, this gave us a new moral lift and we hope that this coalition would keep it. Now more than ever, Syria needs a political body that steer the aid and weapons, supervise the battles and run the freed territories. This new body was promised to be recognized and granted financial aid. All hopes and eyes are now clinging on the coalition, this step might bring change for a new Syria.
Please don’t screw it.