Syrian opposition rebuffs Arab delegates’ plea for talks

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Syrian opposition rebuffs Arab delegates’ plea for talks

Post  zhendeainia on Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:45 pm

A high-level delegation of Arab officials told Syrian President Bashar al-Assad Wednesday that he had to start a dialogue with the country’s popular opposition, even as tens of thousands of Syrians protesting across the country said they reject the idea.

“How do you want us to have a dialogue with the killer of children and wholesale jerseys women when all laws say that the killer should not be negotiated with, but put on trial?” one poster read.

The principal opposition organizers inside Syria, known as the Local Co-ordination Committees, reported that 15 protesters or innocent civilians were killed by pro-Assad forces Wednesday, most of them in the flashpoint central city of Homs. Two children, one four-years-old, the other a year-and-half, were among the dead, the LCC said. It also was reported that nine Syrian soldiers were killed by a rocket fired at their vehicle by armed men.

Damascus appears to have grudgingly agreed to the Arab mission, cheap mlb jerseys led by the Prime Minister of Qatar and including the foreign ministers of Egypt, Algeria, Oman and Sudan. The mission follows a meeting in Cairo last week at which the 22-nation Arab League gave Syria until the end of the month to end military operations, release detainees arrested in the crackdown, and start a dialogue.

Bassma Kodmani, a spokeswoman for the recently-formed Syrian National Council, said it is “impossible” to talk about a dialogue while the security crackdown rages. “And even if the right conditions for dialogue prevail, the only thing to discuss would be a road map for the peaceful transfer of power,” Ms. Kodmani told reporters.

Strong words, but minus any outside military assistance, the best leverage Syria’s opposition has could well be those Arab officials.

It’s not likely to be the Free Syrian Army, a relatively small force of deserters headquartered in a refugee camp in Turkey. First established in late July, FSA leaders argue the only way to topple the regime is by armed resistance. However, the force’s small numbers – no more than a nfl jerseys cheap couple thousand men, observers say – means it can carry out little more than small-scale hit-and-run operations. It is no match for Syrian tanks or fighter jets.

The FSA’s commanding officer, Colonel Riyad al-Asaad, has appealed to NATO or other forces to establish a Libya-style no-fly zone within Syria to encourage more defections. So far, no one appears inclined to take up the proposal.

Besides its small numbers, there may be another problem with the FSA.

While Col. Al-Asaad has insisted his force does not view jerseys wholesalethe conflict as sectarian – it includes members of President al-Assad’s own tribe, he points out – the FSA is entirely composed of Sunni Muslims. The Syrian National Council has come under criticism, too, for its seemingly Sunni orientation.

Though established to try to unite disparate opposition groups, the SNC is missing substantial representation from some of the country’s substantial minorities. It also has come under fire for its lack of real presence on the ground in Syria.

Like it or not, Bashar al-Assad has significant support among Syrians, icheap jerseysncluding minority groups who fear they will be targeted if the Sunni majority takes over. He also retains control over the vast majority of the country’s armed forces.
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The opposition SNC can claim verbal support from the Barack Obama administration that continues to advocate a peaceful approach to protesting against the al-Assad regime. The United States’s outspoken ambassador to Syria, Robert Ford, was withdrawn from Damascus on Saturday, not so much out of protest against the regime, but in fear for his safety.

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