— The Erimtan Angle —

‘Syria’s main opposition group, the Syrian National Council, has agreed to join forces with other opposition groups at a meeting in Qatar Made up of various anti-government factions, in a step toward forming a broad-based interim government, the new umbrella organisation will be called the Syrian National Coalition. Al Jazeera‘s Hashem Ahelbarra reports from Doha (10 Nov 2012)’.

Also from Doha, Reuters’ Regan Doherty reports that the “new chief of the main Syrian opposition group overseas said on Saturday [. 10 November] he still had hope for more military aid from Western powers in the revolt against the rule of Bashar al-Assad. “Now we will push the Arab countries and the international community to change their position. We need a new decision,” George Sabra told Reuters in Doha, where Syrian opposition figures have been meeting for the past week to try to forge a new leadership including activists overseas and in Syria itself. He spoke after the Syrian National Council (SNC), formed last year as Damascus tried to crush the protest movement for democratic reform, voted him as its new leader on Friday night. “We need military equipment – rockets against tanks and airplanes to protect ourselves… We hope we will get something soon,” said the 65-year-old Sabra, when asked if the SNC had received any assurances of more military support forthcoming”.[1]

Now that the CIA seems to have admitted that its Syria strategy is not working, given Petraeus’ unexpected departure, would a Christian figurehead at the helm of the anti-Assad coalition inspire sufficient confidence to overtly arm the “rebels” or “terrorists”???  Last June, Eric Schmitt disclosed in the pages of the New York Times that the CIA was funnelling arms and training towards Syrian recruits in an effort to oust Assad.[2]  Petraeus was undoubtedly the brains behind that semi-covert attempt at regime change in Damascus . . . now the General is gone and a Christian has been appointed the public face of the “United Opposition to Assad” . . . As long ago as last April, the journalist and blogger Malik Al-Abdeh wrote that “George Sabra is being increasingly touted as a future leader of the Syrian opposition, and potentially, of Syria itself”.[3]

Al-Abdeh continues his sketch as follows: “Many factors have shaped the forceful yet understated politician that is George Sabra: disillusionment, as for so many other Syrians communists, with the Soviet brand that forced itself onto them and against which they rebelled; a work ethic that saw him distinguished as a primary school teacher then a Geography student at university, and which, by 1985, made him a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party – Political Bureau at the age of 38; perseverance, having spent two years in solitary detention, and almost a lifetime in a country where, up until very recently, the prospects for democratic change appeared very slim indeed”.[4]  In other words, Sabra has been a long-standing opposition figure, not necessarily enamoured with the U.S. or its agenda, and thus his current appointment will in all likelihood not last very long nor will it be very effective in steering the opposition into a more powerful position. But as a Christian, Sabra will undoubtedly be used to convince the leaders of the West that an extremist Islamic takeover following Assad’s demise can be avoided . . . Reuters’ Doherty even mentions that “Sabra also played down the presence of jihadist groups among rebels in Syria, saying such talk was ‘exaggerated’. Al Qaeda-linked militants from Iraq are thought to have joined the fight in Syria, where militants are accused of beheading some of those thought to support Assad and warring against the Alawi sect of Assad and much of the ruling elite”.[5]  And adding even more colour to Sabra’s rosy picture, the Reuters’ piece also states that “Sabra said the SNC would appoint some women to the general secretariat to make up for their failure to win seats”.[6]  I wonder what the ‘Al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaida-inspired Islamist militant group’,[7] in VOA parlance, would have to say about that . . .


[1] Regan Doherty, “Syria opposition leader still hopes for military aid” Reuters (10 Nov 2012). http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/10/us-syria-doha-sabra-interview-idUSBRE8A90DC20121110.

[2] “The New Cold War: The CIA Prepares Battleground Syria???” A Pseudo-Ottoman Blog (22 June 2012). https://sitanbul.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/the-new-cold-war-the-cia-prepares-battleground-syria/.

[3] Malik Al-Abdeh, “George Sabra: A man for all seasons?” Syria in Transition (09 April 2012). http://syriaintransition.com/2012/04/09/george-sabra-a-man-for-all-seasons/.

[4] Malik Al-Abdeh, “George Sabra: A man for all seasons?”.

[5] Regan Doherty, “Syria opposition leader still hopes for military aid”.

[6] Regan Doherty, “Syria opposition leader still hopes for military aid”.

[7] “Car Bombs, Air Strikes Kill Dozens in Syria” VOA News (05 November 2012). http://blogs.voanews.com/breaking-news/2012/11/05/car-bombs-air-strikes-kill-dozens-in-syria/.


Comments on: "Syrian Opposition United: George Sabra" (4)

  1. sitanbul said:

    Latest developments: “The Arab League has hailed the formation of Syria’s new rebel coalition, but stopped short of recognizing the group as the sole legitimate voice of the Syrian people. Leaders of Syria’s exiled opposition, beset by mutual suspicion and infighting, formed the new bloc on Sunday and are now seeking full international backing. Political analyst Lew Rockwell believes that by offering full support for the Syrian coalition, foreign nations may be hijacking the initiative (12 November 2012)”.

  2. Hey from across the ocean! This is just what I was searching for, and you wrote it nicely. Thanks very much

  3. levi-wheeler said:

    That will disappoint backers of the new initiative, including the UK and the US, who would like to see a unified Syrian opposition emerging as a credible alternative to President Assad’s government.

  4. ccassianosilva said:

    when i need to understand something i know that i will probably find it in here.

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