Head of Syrian opposition to resign
Syria's main opposition council is crumbling under the weight of the revolution.
Syria's main opposition council is falling over the issues that cut to the source of the revolution, which includes accusations that the movement is as domineering as the regime it wishes to drive out.
The deterioration of the Syrian National Council could interfere with Western efforts to support the opposition.
Once a replacement is found, SNC leader Burhan Ghalioun stated that he was ready to step down. The decision was made after he was re-elected for a third, three month term
"I will not accept under any circumstances to be a divisive candidate, and I am not after any post," said Ghalioun, an exiled Syrian and professor at the Sorbonne in Paris. "I will resign as soon as a new candidate is picked, either by consensus or new elections."
Ghalioun, who has led the council since it formed in September, has been criticized by opposition figures of being close to the Muslim Brotherhood and for trying to monopolize power. Syria's opposition is struggling to overcome rivalries and power struggles that delay the movement from gaining any progress it needs to present a credible alternative to Assad. After 15 months, the conflict is becoming more violent, with rebels taking up arms, the attempt to work together has become difficult.
"Although it (the SNC) was conceptualized as a formation designed to represent society as a whole, it has played a very polarizing role. By mishandling personality issues, it has alienated more prominent opposition figures than necessary," said Peter Harling of the International Crisis Group think tank.
In March, the violence in Syria has left over 9,000 people dead. Hundreds more have been killed since then, as the revolt has turned into an armed conflict. Some accuse the SNC leadership of "being out of touch with reality" and "autocratic," forcing several important dissidents to quit the organization. Some Syrian protesters have taken to carrying banners with "The SNC does not represent me" written on them.
Protestors have held a poster mocking Ghalioun, saying that preparations were being made to "crown him as emperor because no alternative among Syria's 23 million population could be found." Unlike Libya's National Transitional Council, which was quickly recognized all over the world, the SNC has no real leadership and has not been officially recognized by major powers.
"We have seen nothing in the past months except political incompetence in the SNC and a total lack of consensus between its vision and that of the revolutionaries," the LCC, a network of activists both inside and out of Syria, said. The network accused the SNC leadership of "marginalizing council members and acting alone on major decisions."
Ghalioun ran against George Sabra, a Christian council member, that has been seen by many as a better choice to soothe the concerns made by Syria's religious minorities. A number of those minorities have remained loyal to Assad out of fear for their future.
Differences within the Syrian opposition is a sign of democracy, according to Bassma Kodmani, a Paris-based senior figure in the council.
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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