Members of the Syrian National Coalition, Syria’s main opposition group, are expected to choose an interim prime minister from within their ranks to administer rebel-held Syrian territory when they meet today in Istanbul. The vote comes at a time when the opposition is fiercely divided over the issue of allowing former members of Bashar Assad’s regime to take on active roles in the new rebel-led government, Arab news outlets report.
The Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat emphasizes in their headline story that today’s vote is the most serious attempt by the opposition to form a rival government yet.
While the Syrian National Coalition has already taken the Assad regime’s place as the Syrian representative to the Arab League and begun administering a few Syrian embassies abroad, the act of instituting itself as a governing power on Syrian territory may dash chances for a peaceful accommodation with Assad.
“The elected prime minister will choose members of the new government at home and abroad in order to manage the liberated areas in the next stage,” Khaled Saleh, the director of the opposition’s main information office, said in an interview. “The coalition has received great support from a large number of Arab countries, particularly Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. They are contributing to the acceleration of the process of the formation of the interim Syrian government.”
However, all this foreign involvement is being used as fodder by Assad’s press spokesmen, who claim that “the Syrian National Coalition is nothing more than a plot by foreign influences to cause Syria to implode from the inside.”
Sixty-three members of the Syrian National Coalition will pick among 12 candidates for the prime minister’s post, including two from North America. Osama Kadi, from London, Ontario, is the coalition’s economic adviser and Ghassan Hitto is an IT manager from Dallas, Texas.
Both men are Syrian emigres who moved back to the region in the past year to assist the rebels. The Dubai-based media network Al-Arabiya reports in a major leak that Kadi and Assad Mustafa, a former agriculture minister in Hafez Assad’s government, are the two leading candidates for the position. This information is a contradiction of a report in A-Sharq Al-Awsat that Hitto’s chances of receiving the job were improving.
Muslim Brotherhood activists beat journalists
Egyptian democracy activists opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood and the government of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi descended on the Brotherhood’s main headquarters in Mokkata to protest yesterday. According to the London-based Al-Hayat, the activists and a number of impartial journalists were then assaulted by Muslim Brotherhood loyalists and security forces.
The violence is reported to have begun when protesters tried to graffiti anti-Morsi messages on the walls of the headquarters.
“Demonstrators set fire to tires and wood in the middle of the road, which caused nearby trees to catch fire too,” the article states. Journalists trying to cover the event were targeted by the Brotherhood loyalists, leading to dozens of people injured.
After the incident, the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi reports that dozens of Egyptian journalists gathered for a vigil in front of their union building to protest the beatings. The journalists carried banners denouncing the attacks and chanted in support of freedom of speech.
Those responsible for the attacks were members of a Muslim Brotherhood youth movement who were charged with protecting the building. Egypt is facing a security crisis as thousands of police officers remain on strike. In response, Muslim Brotherhood supporters have created private security committees to restore order. Their actions have been consistently denounced by Egyptian opposition leaders as undemocratic and unconstitutional.
|Like us on Facebook||Get our newsletter||Follow us on Twitter|