Syrian National Council to Re-Organize in Qatar
Syrian opposition leaders will be meeting in Qatar next week to revamp the structure of the Syrian National Council (SNC). The meeting will focus on the election of new leaders and ensuring the body is more representative of minority opposition factions, such as the Alawites and Kurds. Officials hope that the SNC will ultimately serve as a “proto-parliament” in exile, and that the Turkish government will embrace the new body. The U.S. Ambassador to Qatar, Robert Ford, will be present during the process. The prime minister of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, showed support for the opposition while accusing the Syrian government of waging “a war of extermination” and “genocide” against its people. According to the Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria, approximately 434 civilians died as a result of violence by the regime between October 26, the beginning of the proposed ceasefire, and October 31.
Due to the fractious nature of the current opposition movement, as well as recent clashes between “Syrian-Arab insurgents” and Syrian Kurds near the border, the PKK threatened to intervene militarily. Turkey has declared it will not tolerate such action. Robert Wright of The Atlantic suggested that a Mitt Romney presidential administration would be more likely to draw the U.S. and NATO into a “full-fledged war,” or limited intervention in Syria, should there an open conflict between Turkey and Syria. Whereas Wright suggested that a Romney presidency could potentially unite neoconservatives and “liberal interventionists,” Daniel Larson of the The American Conservative argued that there are more obstacles to such a scenario than Wright suggests. Larson stated that current U.S. public opinion, as well as Turkey and NATO’s overt aversion to war, significantly reduce the possibility of an intervention. However, he agreed that Democrats and Republicans are more likely to coalesce on the issue under a potential Romney administration.