MATTHEW R. LEE, Matthew.Lee at innercitypress.com, @innercitypress Lee covers the UN for Inner City Press. He questioned U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power and other officials at the UN yesterday about the resolution on Syria and wrote several pieces on events there. He said today: “While the resolution agreed to by the U.S. and Russia says the U.S. would have come back to the Security Council to argue that Syria had not complied and seek enforcement under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, already it is being argued that military action could flow from any claimed breach.” He has extensively covered procedures at the UN, including how most of the 15 members of the Security Council have been marginalized in the process.
Lee added: “Meanwhile, France on Thursday hosted Saudi-sponsored Ahmad al-Jarba inside the UN, claiming he’s the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people. But who gets to decide that?”
Yesterday John Kerry called Jarba’s group “the legitimate representative” of the Syrian people. Full comment: “President Jarba understands that Syria can have a different future. And he understands that Syria can be a nation defined not by this kind of chaos and personal ambition and recklessness, but defined by its rich history of diversity – not by the forces that are content to destroy them. And through our close partnership with the Syrian Opposition Coalition, the legitimate representative, we believe, of the Syrian people, we can lay the foundation for a peaceful Syria where all Syrians have a say and a shape in a shared future.”
RIM TURKMANI, rimturkmani atgmail.com, Skype: reem.turkmani, @Rim_Turkmani
Turkmani is a co-founder of Building the Syrian State Current. She is available for a limited number of interviews. She said any attempt by outside forces to name a representative of the Syrian people is “outrageous.”
She added: “If the ultimate aim of heading to Geneva II is to implement what was agreed on Geneva I, which means coalition government, then it makes no sense that any party is recognized by the international community, or any party in it, as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
“We want to change the regime because it hijacked our right to choose our representatives, we do not wish to hand this right to the U.S. Until there are free, internationally monitored elections in Syria, no one can be named as legitimate representative. For us the regime is not the legitimate representative, but we also don’t think that any other party can play this role. Such a step would only increase the polarization which is not good for any dialogue or negotiation. By naming the SNC as the legitimate representative to the Syrian people then the US is putting itself in direct confrontation with the Russians which will now try to proves that the regime is actually the legitimate party here, such confrontation will only benefit the regime. We want the Russians and the Americans to back one solution to this conflict, not a particular party to the conflict”
JAMES PAUL, james.paul.nyc at gmail.com
Author of Syria Unmasked, until recently Paul was executive director of Global Policy Forum, a think tank that monitors the UN.
HOWARD FRIEL, howardfriel at gmail.com
Friel is author of several books including the forthcoming Chomsky and Dershowitz: On Endless War and the End of Civil Liberties. His past books include, with Richard Falk: Israel-Palestine on Record: How the New York Times Misreports Conflict in the Middle East and The Record of the Paper: How the New York Times Misreports U.S. Foreign Policy.