Assad's foes meet for makeover
Qatar: The opposition Syrian National Council begins a four-day
meeting Sunday in Doha, where the United States will reportedly press
for an overhaul of the coalition aiming to topple President Bashar al-Assad.
Details have emerged of plans to reshape the opposition into a
representative government-in-exile, after US Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton charged that the SNC was not representative.
Washington is pressing for a makeover of the opposition, with
long-time dissident Riad Seif reportedly touted as the potential head of
a new government-in-exile dubbed the Syrian National Initiative.
Seif and about two dozen other leading opposition figures gathered in
Amman on Thursday and came up with proposals for a new body to represent
the disparate groups opposing Assad.
Among those in attendance were some SNC members, former premier Riad
Hijab, who defected in August; Ali Sadreddin Bayanuni of the Muslim
Brotherhood and Kurdish and tribal representatives, participants said.
Participants sought to quell concerns the overhaul is aimed at building
an opposition that would be willing to negotiate with Assad.
"Assad and his entourage leaving power is a non-negotiable
precondition for any dialogue aimed at finding a non-military solution,
if that is still possible," they said in a statement.
The Amman meeting also supported "efforts underway to put in place a
unified political body for the whole of the opposition," according to