By Barry Rubin

The leadership of the Syrian revolution, or at least those who are recognized as such abroad, has released the names of 19 of the 29 members of the General Secretariat and five members of the Presidential Council. A lot of research should be one done on the individuals but let’s do a quick ethnic and political analysis based on this information.

But first let me give you my analysis: I believe that the Turkish Islamist regime deliberately helped produce a Syrian leadership that is more Islamist and more Muslim Brotherhood controlled than was necessary. Since Turkey’s government was empowered to do this by the Obama Administration, the White House is responsible for this extremely dangerous situation. It is a blunder or a betrayal–in effect, the motive and cause don’t matter–of the greatest dimensions. The Obama Administration may “only” have paved the way for the triumph of Islamist regimes in Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia–we don’t yet know the final result–but it has been actively involved in helping promote an (avoidable) Islamist revolution in Syria.

Of the 19 members of the committee whose names have been published, 4 are identified as Muslim Brotherhood and 6 more as independent Islamists. That means 10 of the 19—a majority—and hence 10 of the 15 Sunni Muslim Arabs (two-thirds) are Islamists!

take our poll - story continues below

Is Biden's Vaccine Mandate Unconstitutional?

  • Is Biden's Vaccine Mandate Unconstitutional?  

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Completing this poll grants you access to The Lid updates free of charge. You may opt out at anytime. You also agree to this site's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Of the non-Islamist Sunni Arabs, two are leftists, two are liberals, and one represents the tribes. Some of the non-Islamists are really good people as are some of those who have not yet been named publicly (and whose names aren’t going to be made public by me).

Still, thanks, Obama Administration, for putting Islamist Turkey in charge of the negotiations!

There are also two Christians (one a representative of the small Assyrian community), one Druze, and one Kurd. So that 40 percent of the non-Sunni Arab population (there are no Alawites listed) has only 20 percent representation. This might partly be due to the walk-out of many Kurds to protest the Turkish bias favoring the Islamists. But the over-representation of Sunni Arabs sends a signal to the minority groups as well as helps empower Islamists.

Of course, it is true that 10 members remain anonymous because they are in side Syria but there’s no particular reason to believe they are of a different composition.

To my knowledge, not a single journalist or expert in the entire world has yet used this publicly available information and done the simple math involved.

Name Political Affiliation Sectarian Background
1 Burhane Ghalioun Independent Left Sunni Arab / Homs
2 Samir Nashar Damascus Declaration Council Sunni Arab / Aleppo
3 Muhammad Taifur Muslim Brotherhood Sunni Arab / Hama
4 Basma Kodmani Independent Left Sunni Arab
5 Abdelbasit Sida Independent Kurdish Activist Kurdish
6 Abdel Ahad Steifo Christian: Assyrian Democratic Movement Christian / Hassakeh
7 Ahmad Ramdan Old SNC, Islamist (Syrian Hamas Adviser) Sunni Arab
8 Ahmad Sayyid Youssef Muslim Brotherhood Sunni Arab / Homs
9 Abdel Hamid Atassy Damascus Declaration Council Sunni Arab / Homs
10 Abdel Ilah Milhem Tribal Coalition Sunni Arab / Homs
11 Emadiddine Rasheed Old SNC, Islamist (Religion Instructor) Sunni Arab / Damascus
12 Jabr Al-Shoufi Damascus Declaration Arab / Druze
13 Wa’el Mirza Old SNC, Islamist Sunni Arab
14 Muhammad Bassam Youssef Muslim Brotherhood Sunni Arab / Homs
15 Anas Al-Abdeh Damascus Declaration Council, Islamist Sunni Arab / Damascus
16 Kathryn Al-Talli Local Coordination Committees, Christian Christian
17 Motei Bateen LCCs, Islamist (Imam) Sunni Arab /Deraa (Hauran)
18 Najib Ghadbian Old SNC, Independent Islamist Sunni Arab / Damascus
19 Nazeer Hakeem Muslim Brotherhood Sunni Arab

The Presidential Council:

1 Burhane Ghalioun Independent Left Sunni Arab / Homs
2 Samir Nashar Damascus Declaration Council Sunni Arab / Aleppo
3 Muhammad Taifur Muslim Brotherhood Sunni Arab / Hama
4 Abdelbasit Sida Independent Kurdish Activist Kurdish
5 Abdel Ahad Steifo Christian: Assyrian Democratic Movement Christian / Hassakeh

Note that the Presidential Council is much more balanced with only one Islamist, and the remaining names include a leftist, a liberal, a Christian and a Kurd. This seems, however, to be more for show to conceal the imbalance in the overall leadership.

Again, this doesn’t necessarily mean the actual leadership is highly Islamist, but it does indicate that the official leadership, chosen with U.S. participation, is far more balanced with only one Islamist.

Now, with your permission, I will have a brief angry outburst:

Those fools in the U.S. government helped produce an official leadership that is highly Islamist, perhaps much more so than the actual participants. Might not U.S. interests require pushing for genuine moderates to lead? After all, these are the people likely to get Western money and assistance. When it had a choice, the Obama Administration preferred to empower the enemies of America and the West. (Shall I add, once again?)

One more time, this list isn’t a clear indication of the composition of those fighting in Syria yet it suggests that U.S. policy prefers to help enemies take power in Syria when it could have very easily done otherwise.

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His book, Israel: An Introduction, will be published by Yale University Press in January. Latest books include The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan). The website of the GLORIA Center is at and of his blog, Rubin Reports,     

Enhanced by Zemanta