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Entries in Riad al-Seif (2)


Syria Audio Special: Regime's Leadership Defiant as Opposition's Disintegrates --- James Miller and Scott Lucas with Monocle 24

See Also Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Opposition Still Seeking Leadership

Syria Video and Transcript: President Assad's Interview with Russia Today
Thursday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: What Next for the Opposition? Miller speaks to Monocle 24 about two subjects that made waves this week. The first, an interview that Syrian President Bashar al Assad gave to Russia Today (see our separate feature for the video and the transcript. The bottom line - Assad says he's not leaving Syria after statements by UK's Prime Minister that suggested he could flee to the British Isles if it would end the crisis. Assad is closing his own doors, decreasing the probability of a negotiated settlement to this crisis.

The second story that made waves was the meeting in Doha, Qatar, of the Syrian National Initiative, a new leadership group that was set ti replace (but incorporate some of the leaders from) the Syrian National Council. By late yesterday that initiative had crumbled - the Syrian National Council, the "old guard" of the Syrian opposition leadership, blocked the organization from appointing new leaders, leading to the resignation of many, including Riad Seif whom the new plan was named after. Meanwhile, in a parallel meeting in Doha, the SNC changed its own leadership - increasing the presence of radicals and Muslim Brotherhood members, and eliminating women from the leadership team entirely. By the end of the day, dozens of moderates and liberals (and women) had resigned from the SNC, and the entire delegation from the Local Coordination Committees was drafting a resignation letter.

The direct link to the show can be found here. The conversation starts at 1:07:30.

Scott Lucas also talked with Monocle's "Globalist" program. He points out that Assad, speaking to the world in English, timed this statement to come out during the opposition's talks in Doha. Scott also echoes that the "new leadership" is designed to confront the minority of insurgents who are radical, but it is unclear whether this group will actually gain any traction with elements inside Syria.

There's also a discussion about Turkey's role, and the potential for a no-fly zone in northern Syria.

The conversation can be found here, and starts after 11:30.


Syria Feature: A US Plan to Replace Assad? (Ignatius)

As the Obama administration steps up its support for regime change in Syria, the Arab Spring is moving into what could be its hottest phase. The puzzle is how to help the Syrian opposition gain power without foreign military intervention — and without triggering sectarian massacres inside the country.

For months, as protests mounted in Syria, President Obama waited to see if President Bashar al-Assad could deliver on his talk of reform. Last week, the administration all but gave up on him and switched gears — and began working actively for a transition to a democratic regime.

Click to read more ...