It’s a confusing time in Syrian rebel politics.
Moaz al-Khatib, the Sunni rebel cleric, has resigned as the head of the Syrian National Council after his call for negotiations with Assad was rejected by much of the opposition.
It’s unclear why he resigned, but al-Khatib had previously claimed that anything that “impeded the unity of the Syrian people” would be a red line leading to his resignation. And in his resignation statement, he claimed that a red line had been crossed. This can be read in any number of ways.
In the practical sense, al-Khatib had failed to move Obama Inc. closer to arming the Syrian rebels or intervening militarily on their behalf. Ghassan Hitto, who has spent a good deal of time in the United States, may just be thought to be the better man for the job.
Meanwhile Ghassan Hitto, a former Vice President of the CAIR chapter in Dallas, was selected to be Prime Minister of the SNC, which seems a bit premature considering that the SNC doesn’t control all that much of Syria and much of rebel held territory is in the hands of Al Qaeda linked Salafist groups like Al Nusra which collaborate with SNC affiliated troops, but reject its authority, despite the SNC’s acceptance of their legitimacy.
Hitto’s selection alienated even more members of the SNC leading to still more resignations. The Free Syrian Army has announced that they reject Hitto and don’t accept him as Prime Minister leaving the SNC once again in the opposition of looking like someone else’s puppet regime.
Hitto and al-Khatib are both Brotherhood men, but the Muslim Brotherhood has its own divisions and there are a lot of players in this game. Turkey and Qatar have pushed the rebellion and tried to take control of it. Selecting Hitto, a Texas Islamist businessman who had spent too long in exile, was a calculated insult to Syrians and a terrible idea. The response was largely predictable.
Obama Inc. has tried to tie together a “legitimate” Syrian coalition under Qatari and Turkish aegis. That move was always a bad idea, both from the standpoint of American interests and the Syrian fighters.
The Muslim Brotherhood has managed to embed its people everywhere in leadership positions, but the risk still remains that much of the Syrian leadership will be uninterested in allowing a group that has come to be seen as a Qatari puppet to run Syria.
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood regime has made major concessions to Qatar in exchange for propaganda help from Qatar’s Al Jazeera arm and loans of money. Even many Syrian Islamists may not be too fond of the idea of turning over their country to Qatari rule.