Thursday, July 05, 2012

The Opposition



We devote this report to the Syrian opposition overseas.

     Syria is a multiethnic society with countless opposition groups. In addition Syria has many different independent activists who oppose the government and are much respected. We cannot begin to list the entire pantheon. We have listed what we regard as the senior members of the more prominent groups to give you a flavour. In doing so we will doubtless offend many good friends. We hope they will forgive us. We will try and do better next time.


1.       THE SYRIAN NATIONAL COUNCIL

The Syrian National Council remain the lead external opposition group due to its financial backing from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey and the support of the West, though Russia has been hesitant because of the strong Islamic presence. Minority groups in Syria, such as the Kurdish opposition, are also hesitant to unite with them due to the Muslim Brotherhood influence. The Syrian National Council is made up of 310 members, from different opposition groups both from within and outside Syria. The council is headed up by a Secretariat General, which is composed of representatives nominated from the various groups. There are currently 33 representatives in the Secretariat General. The Secretariat elects a smaller and representative eight member Executive Committee. The Committee elects a President for a renewable term of three months. Below is a list of the Secretariat General members and in bold the Executive Committee:

·             ABDULAHAD ASTEPHO, Assyrian Democratic Organisation, Belgium
·             ABDULBASET SIEDA, Kurdish independent, Sweden, President
·             Abdulelah Almalham, tribal leader, Saudi Arabia
·             Abdulhamid al Atassi, Damascus Declaration, Paris; National Peoples’ Party
·             Abdulkarim Bakkar, “national figure”, Saudi Arabia
·             Ahmad al Assi al Jarba, Independent, Saudi Arabia
·             AHMAD RAMADAN, National Bloc, London; longstanding Hamas activist
·             Ahmad Sayed Yusef, Muslim Brotherhood, Jeddah
·             Anas al Abdah, Damascus Declaration
·             Bashal al Heraki, National Bloc, Amman, Jordan; Assistant to Imad al Din Rashid 
·             BASMA KODMANI, Paris, spokesperson; leftwing technocrat; the only woman in the inner circle
·             Bassam Ishak, “national figure”, Cairo
·             Geroge Sabra, Christian Independent
·             Hamza Alchamali, LCC, Germany
·             Hozan Ibrahim, LCC, Hasaka (currently living in Berlin as political refugee), Kurdish
·             Imaldeldin Al Racheed, National Bloc; links with the Muslim Brotherhood
·             Jabr Alshoufi, Damascus Declaration, Cairo
·             KHALID AL HAJ SALEH, National Bloc, USA
·             Khalil Al Haj Saleh, LCC, Paris
·             Mohamad Bassam Yusef, Muslim Brotherhood, UK
·             MOHAMAD FARUQ TAYFUR, Muslim Brotherhood
·             Mohamad Walid, “national figure”
·             Mohammed Yasser Almosadi, Muslim Brotherhood, Jeddah
·             MOTI’ AL-BATIN, National Bloc, Imam of Dera’a Mosque
·             Najib Ghadbian, National Bloc, USA; University of Arkansas, Member of National Initiative for Change
·             Nazir Hakim, Muslim Brotherhood, France
·             Sadiq Jalal al Azm, “national figure”, Princeton University, USA
·             Saied Lahdo, Assyrians Organisation, Netherlands
·             SAMIR NASHAR, Damascus Declaration, Istanbul; National Liberal Alliance
·             Serdar Murad, Kurdish Bloc, Iraq
·             Wael Merza, Secretary General
·             Zouhair Salem, “national figure”

2.       MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD

The Muslim Brotherhood is an Islamic political organisation and in the uprising has been seen to play a dominant role against the Assad government, particularly with influence in the internationally supported Syrian National Council.

Key individuals:
1.            ALI SADREDDINE BAYANOUNI                   Former Leader (UK)
2.            MOHAMMED RIAD AL SHAQFA                 Syrian MB Secretary General (Turkey)
3.            MOUAMEN KUWAIFATIYEH                      
4.            ZAOHAIR SALAM


3.       KURDISH NATIONAL COUNCIL
The largest minority group in Syria are the Kurdish-speaking Sunnis. The Kurdish National Council, established after the start of the uprising, includes fifteen Kurdish parties:
  • Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria led by Abdul Rahman Aluji
  • Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria led by Yusuf Faisal
  • The Azadi Kurdish Party in Syria led by Mustafa Jumaa
  • The Azadi Kurdish Party in Syria led by Mustafa Oso
  • The Kurdish Democratic Equality Party in Syria led by Aziz Dawe
  • The Kurdish Democratic National Party in Syria led by Tahir Sfook
  • The Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria (al-Parti) led by Dr. Abdul Hakim Bashar
  • The Kurdish Democratic Party in Syria (al-Parti) led by Nasreddin Ibrahim
  • The Kurdish Democratic Progressive Party in Syria led by Hamid Darwish
  • The Kurdish Democratic Unity Party in Syria (Yekiti) led by Sheikh Ali
  • The Kurdish Democratic Wifaq Party led by Nash’at Muhammad
  • The Kurdish Left Party in Syria led by Muhammad Musa
  • The Kurdish Yekiti Party in Syria led by Ismail Hamo
  • The Syrian Democratic Kurdish Party led by Sheikh Jamal
  • Yekiti Kurdistani led by Abdul Basit Hamo
The council is in alliance with several groups, such as the Kurdish Democratic Union Party. The council aims for a parliamentary Syrian state with some autonomy for the Kurdish region.
Key figures are listed below:

·         ABDUL HAMID DAWISH
·         ARESH JABBO
·         DR. KAMRAN HAJABDO
·         DR. SADREDINE MULLA
·         MOHAMMED RASHID
·         MURSHID AL KHAZNAWI


4.       PYD/PKK/PAYEDEH

The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (formerly the PKK now also referred to as PYD, Payedeh or the Party for Unity and Development). This is the largest of the Kurdish groups. PYD have been criticised by other opposition factions over their possible collaboration with Damascus, it remains unclear if they have connections to the Syrian government.
The PYD has historically had tense relations with the other Kurdish groups, such as the Iraqi Kurdistan backed Kurdish National Council (KNC). The party’s aim is to establish a Kurdish state within Syria, not simply autonomy. The PYD are opposed to the internationally backed Syrian National Council (SNC); PYD has vocally criticised the SNC and fears it promotes international intervention, including Turkey, in order to set up an Islamic government that would oppress the Kurds.   
Key individuals in the UK:

·         DR AHMED SHAMO, also called Alan Semo (UK)
·         WIJDAN DIRKI, (Birmingham) 

5.       NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC COUNCIL

The National Democratic Council is a newly formed secular group. They join together the United Nationals Democratic Alliance, headed by Dr Rifaat Al Assad, elements of the Kurdish parties, independents, former Ba’ath Party members and Syria’s Women’s party.

Key committee members:
  • ABDELNASSER ARAB
  • ABDUL BAKY KULO
  • FAROUK AL-MOSARRE
  • LINE AL-KHAYER
  • MOHAMMED AJLANI
  • MOHAMMED AL-DEIK
  • RIFAT AL-ASSAD
  • YOUSSEF ANWAR
6.       SYRIAN PATRIOTIC ACTION GROUP

At the Tunis Conference in February 2012, differences were laid bare as splits appeared in the SNC. Influential figures Haitham al-Maleh, Kamal al-Labwani, Walid al-Nabi, Catherine al-Talli and Louay Al Mouqdad broke away from the SNC. This was followed by the resignation of Fawaz Tello, another liberal activist. Haitham al-Maleh, Kamal al-Labwani and Catherine al-Talli formed the Syrian Patriotic Action Group (SPAG) whilst Louay Al Mouqdad went off to join the Free Syrian Army. The SPAG criticised Ghalioun and the Council for inaction and inefficiency, and disagreed majorly on the peaceful means for democratic reform. Key members:
·         HAITHAM AL-MALEH: Former judge and veteran activist. Founded the Haitham Maleh Foundation for the Defence of Syrian Human Rights Defenders. Has been imprisoned numerous times for opposing the regime.
·         KAMAL AL-LABWAMI: Doctor, artist, and veteran activist. Has been imprisoned numerous times for opposing the regime.
·         CATHERINE AL-TALLI: Lawyer and human rights activist with the Syrian Human Rights Organization. Forced into exile in September 2011, currently resides in Boston, USA.

SPAG consists of at least 20 other former secular and former ‘neo-Islamist’ members of the SNC.


7.       BUILDING THE SYRIAN STATE

It is a small but active movement with a strong presence in the UK. The group describes itself as opposed to military intervention, opposed to arming the rebels, though they do indeed want regime change.  They are opposed to foreign political interference supporting one specific party, opposed to economic sanctions and they reject violence as a solution to the conflict. They believe that sectarian war will produce a sectarian solution, and not a democratic one. Founders:
  • LOUAY HUSSEIN
  • RIM TURKMANI (UK)

Some of the current members:                
  • Akram Antaki
  • Bahaa Al-Din Al Rakkad                 
  • Eiad Shurbaji
  • Elham Adwan
  • Fadi Salem (UAE)                                            
  • Fadwa Suleiman                                              
  • Fakhr Zeidan
  • Farazand Omar                
  • Hasan Kamel
  • Hassan Jamali (Canada)                
  • Jihad Sino
  • Joan Ayyo                                                          
  • Khudr Abdulkarim
  • Mihyedin Iso
  • Mohammed Dibo                                           
  • Mouna Ghanem                                              
  • Moussa Hanna Issa
  • Quteipa Alhusseini                                         
  • Saad Loustan
  • Samir Seifan                                                      
  • Subhi Jassem Al-Muhamed
  • Talal Al-Mayhani (UK)
  • Zuhair Albush

8.       SYRIAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY
(FORMERLY DISIDENT BA’ATH PARTY)

Key individuals:
  • A’ADI HADIlawyer
  • AHMED MUSTAPHA KOUSA, lawyer
  • FAROUK MSARRA’
  • GEORGE JIBRAIL
  • GEORGE MALKEY
  • GEORGE MERGANYengineer
  • YOUSSEF YASSIN

9.       NATIONAL SALVATION FRONT

Led by Abdul Halim Khaddam is a Paris based Sunni group with some secular Syrian support and a strong financial position though its membership is small. Khaddam has little widespread support due to his long participation in the Syrian government. The group disintegrated in 2009, but have reformed since the start of the uprisings in 2011. In recent years they have had a pragmatic alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood but that alliance fragmented prior to the present uprising in Syria. Key figures:
ABDUL-HALIM KHADDAM
BASSAM BITTAR

10.    OTHERS
A few selected names in token of the fact that there are many Syrians of significance who are not in the major groups and some of whom are independent. This should not be regarded as a definitive list:
·         Abdul Basit Hammo, Kurdish People Union Party (Syria)
·         Abdul Hakeem Bashar, Kurdish Democratic Party of Syria (KDP)
·         Abdul Razaq Eid, Damascus Declaration for Democratic National Change
·         Abdulaziz Alkhaier, Damascus Declaration for Democratic National Change 
·         Abdulhamid Darwish, Damascus Declaration for Democratic National Change 
·         Abdullah Samir al-Mulhim, Leader of the Anzi tribe
·         Adel Saymeh, United Nationals Democratic Alliance
·         Ahmad Touma, Damascus Declaration for Democratic National Change
·         Ahmed Jitu, Damascus Declaration for Democratic National Change
·         Ahmed Yassine, United Nationals Democratic Alliance
·         Akram Al-Bunni, Damascus Declaration for Democratic National Change
·         Ali Khalaf, Centre Party
·         Amr Al-Azm, Elected to Consultative Council at Antalya
·         Anwar Al-Bunni, Damascus Declaration for Democratic National Change
·         Anwar Sate Asfari, United Nationals Democratic Alliance
·         Arif Dalila, Damascus Declaration for Democratic National Change
·         Ashraf Mikhdad, Movement of Justice and Development
·         Assem Aba Zaid (Dr), Movement of Justice and Development
·         Burhan Ghalioun, Damascus Declaration for Democratic National Change
·         Farid Ghadry, Reform Party of Syria
·         Ghada Ghasan, United Nationals Democratic Alliance
·         Ghassan Mifleh, Writer; Elected to Consultative Council at Antalya
·         Hani Namir, Communist Party in Syria / Kurdish Azadi Party
·         Hassan Howeidi, United Nationals Democratic Alliance
·         Hassan Ibrahim Saleh, Kurdish Unity Party (Yakiti) YKK or YKP Party
·         Hussein Assad, United Nationals Democratic Alliance
·         Ibrahim Alchakfi, Movement of Justice and Development
·         Ibrahim Almeriy (Dr), Movement of Justice and Development
·         Ibrahim Mustafa, Kurdish Democratic Party of Unity in Syria (Al Wehdeh Party)
·         Imad-El-Deen Al-Rashid, Syrian intellectual (Jordan)
·         Jawad Mella, President, Western Kurdish Association
·         Jean Antar Assyrian League (In Syria)
·         Khalil Al-Oukailli, United Nationals Democratic Alliance
·         Kurdish Democratic Party of Unity in Syria (Al Wehdeh Party)
·         Mahamoud Safo, Kurdish Leftist Party
·         Mahmood Muhammad, Kurdish Democratic Party of Unity in Syria (Al Wehdeh Party)
·         Malik Abdeh, Movement of Justice and Development
·         Malik Sufi, United Nationals Democratic Alliance
·         Maroof Mulla Ahmed, Kurdish Unity Party (Yakiti) YKK or YKP Party
·         Marouane Osman, Kurdish Unity Party (Yakiti) YKK or YKP Party
·         Marwan Swaidan, United Nationals Democratic Alliance
·         Michael Kilo, Damascus Declaration for Democratic National Change
·         Mohammed Fatouh, independent
·         Mohammed Mustapha, Kurdish Unity Party (Yakiti) YKK or YKP Party
·         Mohammed Saeed Hussein Omar, Kurdish Azadi Party
·         Mohammed Tammo, Kurdish Future Movement (Part of SNC)
·         Moheydin Sheikh Ali, Kurdish Democratic Party of Unity in Syria (Al Wehdeh Party)
·         Mouhja Kahf, Poet at the University of Arkansas
·         Mustafa Ibrahim, Kurdish Democratic Party of Syria (KDP)
·         Mustafa Jomaa Bakr, Kurdish Azadi Party
·         Nidal Naisi, Communist Party (Independent)
·         Nuri Brimo, Kurdish Democratic Party of Syria (KDP)
·         Osama Kadi, Co-founder, Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies, Washington, D.C.
·         Ousama Mnajjid, Movement of Justice and Development
·         Qadri Jamil, Kassioun
·         Radwan Ziyada, Director of Damascus Human Rights Centre (Washington, USA)
·         Razwan Badini (Dr) Kurdish; attended Turkish conference (Iraq)
·         Riad Seif, Former Syrian MP
·         Ribal Al-Assad, Organization for Democracy and Freedom in Syria
·         Riyad Al-Turk Democratic People’s Party (Until 2005 the Syrian Communist Party)
·         Sadiq Jala Azm, Syrian intellectual 
·         Saedoun Mohamoud, Kurdish Democratic Party of Syria (KDP)
·         Sahel Kado, Kurdish Leftist Party
·         Saleem Mu’nim, Damascus Declaration for Democratic National Change
·         Samir Aita, Economist and Chairman of “A Concept Mafhoun”
·         Sobhai Hadidi, Communist Party (Independent)
·         Sommer Al Assad, Party of the Democratic Arabian People
·         Suhair Al-Atassi, Damascus Declaration for Democratic National Change
·         Wael Al-Hafez, Movement of Justice and Development
·         Walid Al-Bunni, Damascus Declaration for Democratic National Change
·         Wisal Farha Communist Party (Bakdash Faction)
·         Yaser Tabbara Former president of the Syrian-American Relations Council
·         Youssef Faisal, Communist Party in Syria / Kurdish Azadi Party
·         Zara Saleh, Kurdish Unity Party (Yakiti) YKK or YKP Party
·         Zuhair Diyab, United Nationals Democratic Alliance

6 comments:

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Anonymous said...

I wonder why you list the name of each leader of the Kurdish parties within the Kurdish National Council (without giving UK representatives), but then for PYD you state the UK representatives but fail to give the name of the party leader. Is the a reason for this inconsistency?

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