U.S. seeks new Syrian rebel leadership
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaking in Zagreb, Croatia on Wednesday. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
October 31st, 2012
07:13 PM ET

U.S. seeks new Syrian rebel leadership

By Jamie Crawford

An umbrella group that fashions itself the head of Syria's political opposition should no longer be considered the "visible leader" of efforts to form a government to replace Bashar al-Assad, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday.

Clinton said the Syrian National Council, which is made up mostly of Syrian expatriates cannot alone shape the future of Syria apart from those fighting and dying inside the country amid a civil war that has claimed more than 30,000 lives.

"This cannot be an opposition represented by people who have many good attributes, but have in many instances not been in Syria for 20, 30 or 40 years," Clinton said during a joint news conference with Croatian President Ivo Josipovic in Zagreb. "There has to be a representation of those who are on the front lines fighting and dying today."

Her remarks come as preparations are underway for Arab League-sponsored meetings next week in Doha, Qatar, that will focus on the composition of a post-Assad political leadership in Syria.

"We have recommended names and organizations that we believe should be included in any leadership structure," Clinton said. "We've made it clear that the SNC can no longer be viewed as the visible leader of the opposition. They can be part of a larger opposition, but that opposition must include people inside Syria and others who have a legitimate voice that needs to be heard."

The SNC was formed last year after the once-peaceful uprising against al-Assad's rule turned deadly, but it garners little credibility from opposition forces inside Syria. While it was recognized as an interlocutor with the United States and other governments seeking a way to stanch the carnage of the al-Assad regime, the Obama administration has been frustrated by the lack of cohesion and infighting that seemed to define its workings. There are also questions of whether the group truly represented the interests of the wide variety of religious and ethnic groups inside Syria.

Clinton reiterated concerns that opposition forces are not doing enough to stem the tide of Islamic extremists who are exploiting the violent situation on the ground in Syria.

"We also need an opposition that will be on record strongly resisting efforts by extremists to hijack the Syrian revolution," she said. "There are disturbing reports of extremists going into Syria and attempting to take over what has been a legitimate revolution against a repressive regime for their own purposes."

As to a recent attempt by Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N.-Arab League special envoy, to bridge a temporary cease-fire in Syria, Clinton said she was "not surprised" that it failed to take hold.

The Assad regime "did not suspend its use of advanced weaponry against the Syrian people for even one day," she said. "And the shelling in the suburbs of Damascus was as bad last weekend as at any time in the conflict."

Clinton is on a trip that already has included stops in Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo. She is scheduled to visit with leaders in Albania before returning to Washington later this week.

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Filed under: Assad • Hillary Clinton • Syria • Syrian National Council
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. Rocky

    hillary clinton and Barack Obama should be tried for treason for watching the Ambassador, the two Seals and the other man getting killed via drone. The democratic party is made up of a bunch of left-over 60's anti-Americans and a bunch of baby-killing degenerates. 55 million babies (human life) have been murdered since the 1970's because of radical mean democrats. God gives life and only God can take life away. Dramatic as it sounds, it is true. Abortion should only be done in extreme situations, not kill off a whole generation of people. How would Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton or Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid, Bill Clinton like to be an abortion?

    November 4, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Reply
    • Cknlitl

      How DARE you!!

      You should be ASHAMED!!

      President Obama and SoS Clinton are true PATRIOTS!!

      /sarc

      November 5, 2012 at 11:31 am | Reply
  2. Sean

    the only leader in Syria is Assad the others are all terrorists!!!!!

    November 2, 2012 at 9:48 am | Reply
  3. Chuk

    Good luck finding legitimacy among these "freedom fighters". These are people who were went abroad and enjoyed success. And for icing-on-the-cake, they want power, but know they can't have it legitimately while Asad is in power. And they found their chance once war broke out so they pose as "freedom fighters" because they know the West will eat it up. The West always does, from the days of Soviet occupation of Afganistan when they back anyone opposed to their #1 enemy with no questions asked; thereby training and arming Osama. Still haven't learned their lessons, as evidenced in Libya. And they never will as long as warmongers like John McCain is in Congress stoking the fires of puting "boots on the ground" in every conflict in the world, so not to appear to be "leading from behind".

    November 2, 2012 at 8:46 am | Reply
    • Prad33pShrestha

      well said.

      November 8, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Reply
  4. hillaryTheBest

    The Assad regime "did not suspend its use of advanced weaponry against the Syrian people for even one day," she said ==> The Obama regime "did not suspend its use of advanced info-weaponry against the Syrian people for even one day," i said

    November 1, 2012 at 11:26 pm | Reply
  5. jayakumar

    If the syrian rebels who hope to overthrow Al-assad cant unite under one leader, how do they plan to settle their differences and unite and create a democracy. I dont think these people are ready for a democracy yet and they deserve their dictator. Most middle eastern countries have not developed culturally to a level that a democracy can take roots. They still have age old rivalries and hatreds that is totally incompatible with a democratic philosophy.

    November 1, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Reply
  6. Taskmaster

    Hillary Rotten Clinton giving advice to Syrian terrorist .She really needs to take look at herself. She is the one that needs advice. LOTS of it.

    November 1, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Reply
  7. Mohamed The PEDO

    Hey SYRIANA....I can't wait to watch your leader die a horrible death..
    I can honestly say I will enjoy the sectarian violence against you Alawites for what you did to so many innocent people..how sad is it that your life has already seen its best days? You brought this upon yourself. The people have spoken.

    November 1, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Reply
    • Taskmaster

      Mohamed The PEDO Pig Eating Donkey Offal.

      November 1, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Reply
    • jayakumar

      Trust me if it was not the ala-wites killing sunnies and shiites, it would have been the sunnies killing the other two or the shiites. They are all the same with no group any less civilized than the other. It makes no difference who is ruling the country, it is the clans and tribes that rule those countires and the ruling club will make sure everyone else will suffer. These people are not yet civilized to the level where tolerance and social sense takes precedence over tribal hatreds and differences.

      November 1, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Reply
    • syriana

      THE pedo is SANDUSKY and the millions like him lives in SAN FRANCISCO [N AMERICA most likely you are one of them,are you a boyscout leader,YOU breed pedos in AMERICA by the thousands.KEEP THEM IN AMERICA,

      November 3, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Reply
  8. Julie

    ...and finds none because they are all opportunists or al-Qaeda sympathizers

    November 1, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Reply
  9. petroskies

    the perfect new leader for that fanatics muslim , is mr netanyahun another perfect fanatic leaders of the fanatic jewish settlemen , if this two fanatics people we will go something for the world when they go away

    November 1, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Reply
  10. LoL

    US seeks new Syrian rebels, non-islamist ones. :)

    November 1, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Reply
    • cok f@g

      fuk all the chinks

      November 1, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Reply
  11. CSA

    Clinton -> monica lewinsky is waiting for me , we'll go pick her up togather LOL (:

    November 1, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Reply
    • cok f@g

      that doesn't matter you stupid chinks. she isn't dating Monica.

      November 1, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Reply
  12. lolwut

    Is this the same Hillary Clinton who was praising Bashar Assad as a "reformer" in the not-too-distant past?

    November 1, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Reply
    • David

      She forgot..........We haven't heard anything from her friend Nancy yet. She too was a great admirer of Assad. Remember her photo op wearing a brand new headscarf.

      November 1, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Reply
    • cok f@g

      is this the same chinks that supports assassination presently

      November 1, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Reply
      • cok f@g

        is this the same chinks that supports assad presently

        November 1, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  13. Mark Baird

    So many experts with so much information with so many opinions. There should be a forum for every person that works so that we can all comment and suggest how they should do their job.

    November 1, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Reply
    • David

      ....but that's the whole idea. People sharing their views and opinions. If you have any, I would be very interested in hearing them.

      November 1, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Reply
  14. Alois Saint-Martin

    The United States ( Wall Street, The Pentagon, NATO, The EU, The Queen, The Bi-Partisan Political Establishment Administration. ) is finally formally expressing, what we have known for months.
    That it is not the Autonomous will of the Syrian People, ( The Arab Winter ) that The West is Interested in, with regards to Support For, or Against, the De Facto extension of the Class Polarization Crisis, ( Right Wing Austeritism ) into the Third Word;
    But the dissolution of the Socio-Political, ( And Economic ) Status quo.
    For much of last year the Occupy Movement was welcomed in the American Media, until the impending elections turned the Intellectual Atmosphere back in the direction of the Kitchen and the Bedroom. Likewise the Demonstrations in Europe, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Bahrain, and Syria, were received with Open Arms, until the throngs of Students, Government Workers, LGBT`s, and Immigrant Mexican Mothers with Dependent Infant Children, turned into Battalions of Heavily Armed, Green, Red, and Black, flag waving Revolutionaries ?
    Ms. Clinton; you, and your Islamophobic, Campaign Band Wagon, Tryglyceride gathering husband, ( No not Barack Obama, I`m talking about the other Henery Hawk at the Podium ) Fool No One !
    The recent "Double Down" Rhetoric from Washington is nothing the Islamist Rebels haven`t anticipated for Weeks. The only question seemed to be, when would the Blue Helmets and Predator Drones, turn the Arab Winter into another Yemen or Afghanistan ?
    The Arab perspective does not change along Bi-Partisan lines as would those of the Pentagon; ( Or Politburo ? ) The West ( Capitalism ) is fighting a War it will never win, and no amount of Socio-Economic Hegemony, ( On behalf of Her Puppet Plutocrat`s, or otherwise ) will change that !

    Support the Arab Winter !

    Down with the Turkish Placator Opprotunist`s !
    Support an Autonomous Kurdish Republic, If it is Good Enough for Kosovo, It is Good Enough, for Kurdistan !

    November 1, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Reply
    • kudson

      yes for kurdistan
      erdoggone is a war criminal
      free ocalan

      November 1, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Reply
    • CanisLupis

      You are a little too full of yourself. I will use smaller english words as they are all that are needed. You express you think the US in a comspiracy against Islam. There are many in the USA that are Islamic non-extremists. You use words like bi-partison, not even understanding that all it means "the two major political groups are working to gether". Repleace those words in your statement and you will see how foolish you sound.

      If Syria wants an end to war, then all it needs to do is stop fighting. The current leader will die eventually, live as he wants until he dies. Try to assassinate him, but don't plunge the entire country into war because a small group of people don't like the way the game is played and have money to do so. All you do is make it worse for the others that are simply trying to live in peace.

      I live in the USA, and I don't agree with the way many of the policies are placed here; but you don't see me getting a group together to fight the government. Follow the laws of Islam, forgive your brothers and sisters for their misdoings as many times as required as the Prophet Jesus Christ said to do. Do you not understand that Allah has put every Government official in their position and given them the right to rule as they wish? Don't you think he's watching their actions? Why are interfere in Allah's plan? Why?

      November 1, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Reply
  15. Alex

    These guys are Islamic fighters. No matter their lip service to "freedom" what they want is replace the Syrian secular government with their beloved Sharia religious dictatorship. Some of them are related directly to AlQaeda, others are Salafi radicals(which is worse, I dunno), most are armed and paid by Saudi Arabian Wahhabi billionaires.

    Their hero model is Osama bin Laden. Nice "friends of the West". Sheesh.

    November 1, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Reply
  16. Joseph E. Espindola

    This article does not make sense! From my understanding, the U.S. govt. has had a descent relationship with Syria & it's leaders!

    November 1, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Reply
  17. David

    Lets stay out of this one Hillary, it's a lose-lose situation.

    November 1, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Reply
    • kudson

      hillary needs to get L...d

      November 1, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Reply
      • David

        There's no line up!

        November 1, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  18. zlulz

    I see Hillary is hard at work to orchestrate another Benghazi.

    November 1, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Reply
  19. Liberty

    Well done, Secretary Clinton.

    Far too often the U.S. has supported and installed leaders, who have been the worst and most corrupt leaders that foreign countries could have: The Shah of Iran, Marcos, Noriega, etc..

    This kind of thing is, no doubt, why so many hate us. Of course making a hasty decision and supporting the wrong leader can ultimately result in terrible misery for the U.S., as well.

    Fortunately Secretary Clinton is a wise and decent person.

    There's a good chance that Ms. Clinton will be president one day, and I plan to vote for her.

    By the way, I’m a registered Republican.

    Well done, Ms. Clinton. Keep up the good work! You have my support and can count on my vote.

    November 1, 2012 at 11:57 am | Reply
    • KSquared

      Seriously? By putting in a member of the Muslim Brotherhood as leader you think Clinton is doing a great job? Because that's who the rebels are, radical Muslims. And they like the Syrian regime aren't worried about killing civilians in the name of their religion.

      November 1, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Reply
  20. Tariq

    Only the President of Syria can save us from the terrorists. Blessings on Bashar al Assad, it is he who loves his country and his people. The outsiders who practice genocide on Syrian citizens, are financed by the puppet government of Israel...the USA.

    November 1, 2012 at 11:36 am | Reply
    • Towel Head Alert System

      Warning..........Warning.............Warning!!! Towel Head Alert!!!!!!!!!

      November 1, 2012 at 11:48 am | Reply
      • SYRIANA

        Tall stars and stripes hat,sissors tail coat.AL YOU NEED IS A RED NOSE AND YOU ARE A PERFECT CLOWN.The rags are used to sheild the sun to avoid headache,YOU hat shows you to be a perfect clown

        November 1, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • Ahmed

      People like you who are back Assad are equally responsible for the genocides of the innocent people in Syria. Go and get yourself a better hallucination medication.

      November 1, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Reply
      • Ahmad

        And your "rebels" didn't kill innocent people? do you go on youtube and watch what the rebels have done and how behead people's head just because they don't agree with them? has profit Mohammed done this? the scenery of the rebels and the way they kill anyone who doesn't stand by them, is very disturbing and no way the base of FREE country.
        Get yourself a new hallucination medication

        November 1, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
    • SYRIANA

      Only the wise will understand.Bashar is our president and ONLY the citerzins of SYRIA has the right to choose their leader.We will not allow or accept ANY installed or foreign suckbutt leader.ANYONE who intervenes in our political affairs WILL pay the price.We will expand this conflict beyond the control of the UN,USA (UNITED SNAKES OF AMERICA) AND THE UK(EUROPE) THE UNITED COLONIAL KILLERS

      November 1, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Reply
  21. josh p.

    Too bad too sad Clinton,Assad ain,t going nowhere.Keep funding terrorist to kill leaders you don,t like,How is that Viagra lie in Libya working for you and your fellow murderers.

    November 1, 2012 at 11:32 am | Reply
    • SYRIANA

      She go someone to try viagra on her and she like it,now she wants a camel to try viagra n he.SATISFACTION GUARANTEED FOR SURE,then she would adopt th cmel as her PET

      November 1, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Reply
  22. Paul

    She is only trying to give insight to the future, and what needs t5o be done to end Asaads days as leader..Funny how no one has any ideas posting on this matter..At least she's trying t6o give some ideas of strucuture to develop help and unity..far more than the UN or any other country or leader has attempted to do

    November 1, 2012 at 11:19 am | Reply
  23. George Patton

    Just where does Hilary Clinton get off demanding any kind of "leadership change" for the so-called Syrian "rebels"? In fact, Syria's biggest problem is the Interference of both the U.S. and it's "allies" and the Arab League. If the outsiders would only leave Syria alone, this needless bloodshed could end!!!

    November 1, 2012 at 11:03 am | Reply
    • SYRIANA

      For sure this conflict woud end if there is NO interference and arms suport FROM OutSIDe,

      November 1, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Reply
    • Marc

      That's a good question, George. Where does she demand a "leadership change"? Certainly not in this article. Here, she is simply pointing out that it is unrealistic to consider this group of expatriots as representative of a post-Bashir Syria because they are disconnected from the violence that is part of the new national consciousness. That seems to be what one should look for in a Secretary of State – a thoughtful, intelligent voice that is able to think rationally about the best way for the US to interact with other countries.

      November 6, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Reply
  24. sam

    Hillary Clinton speaks for the US unlike the coo coo posters responding to this article. From poster "AM" to poster "nader": Coo Coo!!

    November 1, 2012 at 10:47 am | Reply
  25. AM

    Why in the world do we even bother with people in the Middle East? Who gives a hoot about them? Not me for sure... They want to kill each other, let them... America is a beautiful country with all we need, right here. To hell with the Middle East.

    November 1, 2012 at 9:45 am | Reply
    • Guest273

      AM you are the definiton of pathetic. The only essence your life stands for is self-preservation. Do you think all the children who have been killed by the shellings deserve that. You are the kind of person who will push a baby out a life raft to save your own life.

      November 1, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Reply
    • SYRIANA

      Boy your country is certainly not happy for a long time at present.Economc misery,school shootings,katrina,sandy and forest firers are making havoc and it will never ever go away.The AMERICAN dream is a nihtmare.But you have a right to stay in YOUR home sweet home,(AMERICA THE BEAUTIFULL? KEEPIT FOR YOURSELF

      November 1, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Reply
      • PureEvil

        Minor problems every place in the world has to deal with. But you crazy muslim extremists in Syria get to deal with a madman who is trying to kill you and all those crazy muslim terrorists trying to kill you. L-M-A-O I can walk to the store without getting blown up by a carbomb, suicide bomber, machine gun fire, sniper, tanks, etc. If you tried to prove an American is worse off than you, it was an EPIC FAIL!

        November 1, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
      • Mohamed The PEDO

        Actually the biggest problem I have had was not being able to charge my I-Phone due to the hurricane (FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS) LOL sure beats the heck out of wondering if a bomb is gonna fall on my house or not.

        November 1, 2012 at 8:50 pm |
  26. drag1

    Mrs Clinton is finally waking up to smell the coffee. It's finally sinking in that those fighting the
    Syrian regime are nothing more than criminal organizations. All the bombings they have orchestrated shows
    that they really don't care about the loss of Syrian civilian lives. Unfortunately its taken Mrs Clinton nearly 2 years to see this. Perhaps she can try and reclaim back the $25million of our tax dollars she gave the opposition. I really wonder which gang made off with that money. Good thing I read she is stepping down in January

    November 1, 2012 at 8:47 am | Reply
  27. Madeski

    Clinton seems to be as confused as the rebels. What happened to the so called 'Friends of Syria' seems like their friendship can no longer hold.

    November 1, 2012 at 4:18 am | Reply
  28. James

    Agreed, She looks exactly like Miss Piggy

    November 1, 2012 at 12:30 am | Reply
  29. lizzytalorburton

    She really thinks she knows who will take over from Assad? Her and Obama are so just power hungry. Obama gives free money because he believes America owes reparations. Clinton is a left-over hippie from the 60's stuck in a time warp.

    October 31, 2012 at 10:38 pm | Reply
  30. lizzytalorburton

    She looks exactly like Miss Piggy in the picture above!!! Amazing likeness, not kidding. How can anyone believe a word she says after she refused to protect the Ambassador and the other men in Libya and she won't even talk truthfully about Bengaze to the American people.about what happened, all because of her aspirations to be President (?) can you believe it? no qualifications for Secretary of State and absolutely no qualifications to be President. Why? because she was married to a President? I guess the Clintons have no excitement in their life anymore. But she might have saved the Ambassador's life and othe others if she had been competent instead of loving the enemy.

    October 31, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Reply
  31. billybob

    What she is saying is that some joeblow outside of Syria for 40~ years isn't going to waltz in and take control of the country, that it should be one of the individuals in the country putting their life on the line. Personally, if I was a Syrian rebel and I heard our future leaders were outside the country waiting for the fight to come to an end to take control, I would end their reign rather quickly.

    October 31, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Reply
    • brian wilson

      But remember also that those who are fighting inside Syria came from Turkey and Jordan as Qaeda Muslim Mjahedeedn and are also foreigners to Syria, mostly recruited by Turkey and few other Secret Services.

      November 1, 2012 at 10:41 am | Reply
  32. wahimpkpu

    How is Mrs. Clinton going to democratically pick the leaders of the Syrian Arab nation. Shameless hypocrisy, trying to impose leaders on a people from outside.

    October 31, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Reply
    • Mohammad

      no one in Syria accepts terrorists or those who support them from outside from US to Turkey, Qatar, France or Saudi Arabia make king for them. we will fight to last drop of our blood and kick out all Al-qaeda members (Free Syria Army) from our lovely country.
      What I am telling to Clinton is: Please Shu*t Up

      November 1, 2012 at 12:26 am | Reply
      • SYRIANA

        I am witH you for sure and i am sure there are others with us of our blood around the world.We will f ight to our last drop of blood.NO COLONIOL OR FOREIGN INTERVENTION atall

        November 1, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • nader

      The days of Clinton is numbered. HA HA HAAAAAAAAA

      November 1, 2012 at 12:28 am | Reply
      • Hahahahahahahahahaah

        Would the number 4 work for you? As in 4 more years? And then 4 + 4 as President? Hahahahahahahahaha

        November 1, 2012 at 11:48 am |
      • Liberty

        I do not share your beliefs. I say, Well done, Secretary Clinton.

        Far too often the U.S. has supported and installed leaders, who have been the worst and most corrupt leaders that foreign countries could have: The Shah of Iran, Marcos, Noriega, etc..

        This kind of thing is, no doubt, why so many hate us. Of course making a hasty decision and supporting the wrong leader can ultimately result in terrible misery for the U.S., as well.

        Fortunately Secretary Clinton is a wise and decent person.

        There's a good chance that Ms. Clinton will be president one day, and I plan to vote for her.

        By the way, I’m a registered Republican.

        Well done, Ms. Clinton. Keep up the good work! You have my support and can count on my vote.

        November 1, 2012 at 11:59 am |

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