A Critique of the Syrian National Council

Article Summary
Mohammad Moaeied Alkhznaoui offers advice to the Syrian National Council on how it can best reach out to a majority of Syrians and help drive the revolution. Among other things, he calls for an institutionalization of decision-making, the creation of humanitarian committees and greater public relations professionalism.

I was initially hesitant to bring up this sensitive issue so bluntly in public. However, advocates of the Syrian National Council (SNC) insisted that I address our loved ones in the SNC so they would shoulder their national responsibility toward their broad popular support inside and outside Syria. God knows that I have [good] intentions.

  1. The SNC’s media [campaign] has been noticeably inadequate. In fact, the media plays a key role in mobilizing global opinion and the whole world has a responsibility toward the afflicted [Syrian] people. [The SNC] needs people who specialize in media who are able to employ modern media methods to shape world opinion. Everybody knows the [Pulitzer Prize-winning] photograph that depicted a naked Vietnamese girl [running from a burning village] - tarnishing the [image of] the United States as a global power. This is only one example out of many [successful media campaigns]. [A good campaign requires] thorough planning. We must harness all our energies - and in every possible way - for the sake of our beloved Syria in order to achieve freedom.
  2. Unilateralism: Individuals are in control of the decision-making process at the SNC. [The process is not institutionalized] and is in effect similar to the methodology of the regimes you [seek to] get rid of. [If this were not the case], there would be no pact between [the SNC and National Coordination Committee, NCC] considering that it was rejected by [the Syrian] people and even by SNC members. I have no idea how you are going to tackle this problem; it is a catastrophe for you and for us. If those who control decision-making [in the SNC] die, will the council die as a result? No, dear brothers. [I thought that we] all called for institution [building] and institutionalization, which are the most basic rights and the tenets of the democracy and the freedom that you believe in. [Institutionalizing the SNC] will  have unimaginable benefits on the course of the revolution [and will lead it] to success.
  3. Humanitarian and relief [efforts] to our people at home and abroad: No [SNC] committee [has been set up] to handle this issue. All you need [to do] is name [members] of the specialized committee arising from the SNC body, and supplies will pour in from all over the world. This will have unimaginable benefits on the course of the revolution [and will lead it] to success.
  4. Lack of transparency: The SNC does not have a clear and direct plan of action for toppling the regime. [This is] unless you agree with the NCC on overthrowing the repressive regime in Syria as Yemeni [President] Ali Abdullah Saleh was toppled. However, if you have a clear plan aimed at bringing down the regime, there are several ways to do so. It is so strange that the ominous pact signed between you and the NCC did not explicitly or implicitly mention that we seek to overthrow [Bashar] al-Assad.
  5. [One more] remark: There are inconsistencies in the statements made by the same people [in the SNC], on the same topic, and on the same TV channel. This is a serious mistake that should not be made by [a political body] seeking to access power in Syria and establish democracy. [This is] unless [it is a body] that wants to be under the mercy of Assad or his close ministers, or believes that the idea of sharing [power] with the current regime in future Syria - that is, [including Assad] loyalists and the opposition in a new government under His Excellency the president, doctor, colonel, beloved, leader of the rejectionist [front] and resistance, builder, protector, and inspirer of Syria comrade Abu-Hafez Bashar Hafez al-Assad.
  6. You have not included the issue of Kurds and other minorities in your new constitution, and this is a disaster. In fact, [their presence] is a reality and a fact [that cannot be ignored]. The Kurdish population is not too small to be neglected to such an extent. Democratically speaking, they must be respected no matter how few they were. Therefore, the Constitution should grant them social and cultural rights. It should grant them freedoms in the name of the unified Syrian citizenship. We are fed up with this artificial, chauvinist and racist phobia.
  7. The issue of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) should not be tackled in such a deplorable way (the Manna and Ghalyoun document which was secretly leaked). It should not be undervalued. I hope you have a committee with a military background. The FSA and the Syrian Arab Army – with the exception of those whose hands were tarnished with the blood of martyrs - should be the essence of the future army. This strategy will stabilize Syria in the future, and I highlight the word “stabilize” […]. This way, we can maintain the largest part of the military because it is of the utmost importance that the FSA be the essence [of the future army] in order to achieve full stability.
  8. There should be a committee for exiles, refugees, missing persons, martyrs, wounded and prisoners. [This committee] should immediately raise these issues at the regional and international levels in order to serve the interest of Syrians. I do not know why you have not yet raised [these issues]. Are you afraid? Or is it that you regret the fall of the regime? I really have no idea. I am really confused.
  9. Activists, writers, intellectuals, journalists, doctors, lawyers, workers, peasants, scientists, preachers and Sheikhs should have a committee representing them and they should work under the [patronage] of the SNC. God willing, you will feel the amazing difference and the positive impact [these categories] will have on the path of the revolution.
  10. The issue of unifying the opposition is a mystery which will [always] remain unsolved, so do not give it much importance. Focus on the demands of the Syrian people. This is how you will be representing the entire sincere and real opposition. [This is how] you will be the largest body in Syria. This is life. No matter how hard you work, you will still have opponents. As the proverb says, "There's no accounting for taste.”
  11. Women should have a bigger role in the SNC. I think you are aware of the important role that our free compatriots are playing in beloved Syria, be they inside or outside the country.

I hope that the SNC will gain insight into these demands in order to achieve the desired goals, knowing that we do not lack skilled laborers. All we are asking you to do is accelerate the decision-making process to achieve these demands. Consequently, free Syrians of all sects will rally around you and help you through their efforts, time and energy in order to serve their beloved country. Thus, the revolution will change its course and stop listening and executing (international) demands; Rather, it will start applying the motto (Hold your head up high, you are a free Syrian).

Consequently, you will reach freedom and you will manage to change your current government and turn it into a civilian democratic government, which embraces devolution of power. As a result, you will have reached the demands of the rebels in beloved Syria. [These demands] should be the priority and focus of every decent and free member of the SNC, which claims that it represents the demands of the rebels in the afflicted Syria and seeks to serve these rebels with the help of both God Almighty and the FSA. [...]

Found in: snc, opposition, ncc, minorities, future, constitution, assad

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