The official representative of the Syrian people is the Syrian people. They communicate with the world through daily protests, banners and by fighting back against all odds.
The Argument over Intervention
This diplomatic outreach by Col. Al-Ass’aad to the SNC notwithstanding, the man is clearly and unequivocally asking for international military support, including providing material support to the Free Syrian Army, as well as imposing a no-fly zone, a sea blockade and a safe haven along the Turkish border. The titular leader of the SNC, however, Burhan Ghalioun, is rejecting any form of foreign military intervention, including by NATO, all while calling for the protection of civilians. These two discourses are irreconcilable, but it’s clear that it falls on the shoulders of the SNC leadership to modify their discourse and philosophy in order to provide the political cover that the Free Syrian Army needs, otherwise, it might just form its own.
It should be borne in mind here that Col. Al-Ass’aad is considered a national hero by the protesters and his FSA has more popular credibility and legitimacy than the SNC at this stage, while Mr. Ghalioun’s popular standing seems to decrease with very public utterance he makes. His recent attempt at rectifying his public image by coming out and for the first time describing Bashar Al-Assad as criminal is too cynical and late to reverse the tide. Mr. Ghalioun’s path to real legitimacy among the protesters must go through Antakya where Col. Al-Ass’aad resides. A direct meeting between the two men and their teams is needed and solid agreement needs to be hammered out between the SNC and SFA. The SNC needs to start the real issues, rather than continue to wrangle over names and roles.
Finally, and in order to be on the right side of the Revolution, Mr. Ghalioun and others in SNC better heed these two messages, the first sent today by the protesters in Baba Amr Neighborhood in Homs, where the large banner carried by protesters calls for “military strike against the regime” http://youtu.be/h2mk9vEiaxo, while the second is sent in French by an inhabitant of Rastan to President Sarkozy http://youtu.be/BQ2gd5Zf1CI