SCOOP: Obama Administration Does it Again! Empowers Largely Islamist Leadership for Syrian Revolution

The leadership of the Syrian revolution, or at least those recognized as such by the United States and the European Union, has released the names of 19 of the 29 members of the General Secretariat and five members of the Presidential Council. A lot of research should be done on the individuals, but let’s do a quick ethnic and political analysis based on this information.

But first let me give you my analysis: I believe that the Turkish Islamist regime deliberately helped produce a Syrian leadership that is more Islamist and more Muslim Brotherhood-controlled than was necessary. Since Turkey's government was empowered to do this by the Obama administration, the White House is responsible for this extremely dangerous situation.  It is a blunder or a betrayal -- in effect, the motive and cause don't matter -- of the greatest dimensions. The Obama administration may "only" have paved the way for the triumph of Islamist regimes in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia -- we don't yet know the final result -- but it has been actively involved in helping promote an (avoidable) Islamist revolution in Syria.

Of the 19 members of the committee whose names have been published, 4 are identified as Muslim Brotherhood and 6 more as independent Islamists. That means 10 of the 19 — a majority — and hence 10 of the 15 Sunni Muslim Arabs (two-thirds) are Islamists!

Of the non-Islamist Sunni Arabs, two are leftists, two are liberals, and one represents the tribes. Some of the non-Islamists are really good people, as are some of those who have not yet been named publicly (and whose names aren't going to be made public by me).

Still, thanks, Obama Administration, for putting Islamist Turkey in charge of the negotiations!

There are also two Christians (one a representative of the small Assyrian community), one Druze, and one Kurd. So that 40 percent of the non-Sunni Arab population (there are no Alawites listed) has only 20 percent representation. This might partly be due to the walk-out of many Kurds to protest the Turkish bias favoring the Islamists. But the over-representation of Sunni Arabs sends a signal to the minority groups as well as helps empower Islamists.

Of course, it is true that 10 members remain anonymous because they are inside Syria, but there’s no particular reason to believe they are of a different composition.

To my knowledge, not a single journalist or expert in the entire world has yet used this publicly available information and done the simple math involved. Yet this is the body that's going to be receiving Western help and money, if any is offered to help bring a new government to Syria.


 NamePolitical Affiliation Sectarian Background
1Burhane GhaliounIndependent LeftSunni Arab / Homs
2Samir NasharDamascus Declaration CouncilSunni Arab / Aleppo
3Muhammad TaifurMuslim BrotherhoodSunni Arab / Hama
4Basma KodmaniIndependent LeftSunni Arab (spikesperson)
5Abdelbasit SidaIndependent Kurdish ActivistKurdish
6Abdel Ahad SteifoChristian: Assyrian Democratic MovementChristian / Hassakeh
7Ahmad RamdanOld SNC, Islamist (Syrian Hamas Adviser)Sunni Arab
8Ahmad Sayyid YoussefMuslim BrotherhoodSunni Arab / Homs
9Abdel Hamid AtassyDamascus Declaration CouncilSunni Arab / Homs
10Abdel Ilah MilhemTribal CoalitionSunni Arab / Homs
11Emadiddine RasheedOld SNC, Islamist (Religion Instructor)Sunni Arab / Damascus
12Jabr Al-ShoufiDamascus DeclarationArab / Druze
13Wa’el MirzaOld SNC, IslamistSunni Arab
14Muhammad Bassam YoussefMuslim BrotherhoodSunni Arab / Homs
15Anas Al-AbdehDamascus Declaration Council, IslamistSunni Arab / Damascus
16Kathryn Al-TalliLocal Coordination Committees, ChristianChristian
17Motei BateenLCCs, Islamist (Imam)Sunni Arab /Deraa (Hauran)
18Najib GhadbianOld SNC, Independent IslamistSunni Arab / Damascus
19Nazeer HakeemMuslim BrotherhoodSunni Arab


The Presidential Council:


1Burhane GhaliounIndependent LeftSunni Arab / Homs
2Samir NasharDamascus Declaration CouncilSunni Arab / Aleppo
3Muhammad TaifurMuslim BrotherhoodSunni Arab / Hama
4Abdelbasit SidaIndependent Kurdish ActivistKurdish
5Abdel Ahad SteifoChristian: Assyrian Democratic MovementChristian / Hassakeh


Note that the Presidential Council is much more balanced with only one Islamist, and the remaining names include a leftist, a liberal, a Christian, and a Kurd.  This seems, however, to be more for show to conceal the imbalance in the overall leadership.

Again, this doesn’t necessarily mean the actual leadership is highly Islamist, but it does indicate that the official leadership, chosen with U.S. participation,  is far more balanced with only one Islamist.

It should be clear that none of this reflects on the courageous Syrian people who have stood up unarmed to the massive repression and killing power of the regime which has killed over 3000 civilians in cold blood. Indeed, the majority of these people -- in contrast to what might turn out to be true in Libya or Egypt -- don't want to be ruled by a Sunni Arab Islamist government.  In that sense, this is a betrayal of their bravery and aspirations.

Now, with your permission, I will have a brief angry outburst:

Those fools in the U.S. government helped produce an official leadership that is highly Islamist, perhaps much more so than the actual participants. Might not U.S. interests require pushing for genuine moderates to lead?  After all, these are the people likely to get Western money and assistance. When it had a choice, the Obama administration preferred to empower the enemies of America and the West. (Shall I add, once again?)

One more time, this list isn’t a clear indication of the composition of those fighting in Syria, yet it suggests that U.S. policy prefers to help enemies take power in Syria when it could have very easily done otherwise.