Hillary Clinton Says Syrian National Council No Longer Viewed As Leading Opposition


U.S. media is reporting that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is dismissing the Syrian National Council (SNC), an opposition group with strong Muslim Brotherhood representation, as no longer the “visible leader of the opposition.” According to a New York Times report:

The United States indicated on Wednesday that it was undertaking its most aggressive attempt yet to reshape the Syrian opposition, with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton dismissing the current leadership as a bunch of out-of-touch exiles who should be replaced with a group more representative of the fighters on the ground.‘There has to be representation of those who are on the front lines, fighting and dying today to obtain their freedom,’ Mrs. Clinton told reporters during a trip to Croatia. ‘This cannot be an opposition represented by people who have many good attributes, but have, in many instances, have not been inside Syria for 20, 30 or 40 years.’ Hundreds of opposition figures are gathering in Doha, Qatar, next week to try to form such a group — ostensibly under the auspices of the Arab League but really pushed there by the United States. Mrs. Clinton said she had been heavily involved in planning the meeting, including recommending individuals and organizations to include in any new leadership structure. ‘We’ve made it clear that the S.N.C. can no longer be viewed as the visible leader of the opposition,’ Mrs. Clinton said, referring to the Syrian National Council. It can participate, she added, ‘but that opposition must include people from inside Syria and others who have a legitimate voice that needs to be heard.’ Although council members are likely to have up to one third of the seats on the new body, which is expected to have 35 to 50 members, Mrs. Clinton’s very public announcement could well be the council’s death knell. ‘The S.N.C. has been over with for a long time now; fighters only talk about it sarcastically,’ said Khaled Youssef al-Aboud, a pilot in northeast Syria.

Read the rest here.

A post from late August reported that a third individual was identified who is tied to the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood and who is also a part of the SNC. Previous posts had noted that the SNC includes at least two other known members of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood- Louay Safi, a leader in the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and Najib Ghadbian, a board member of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID). The relationship between the SNC and Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi should also be noted.

In 2007, the Wall Street Journal reported on moves by the U.S. Government to reach closer relations with the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.

For a comprehensive account of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood in 2006, go here.

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