Hitto and the voice of revolutionaries opposing him

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

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All are on their way to the Arab Summit in Doha. Kings and presidents will have nothing more important to discuss than the Syrian crisis and its humanitarian, political and military repercussions on Syria and the region. There is a seat for Syria and a Syrian flag at the conference, but this time it is not Bashar al-Assad but his rivals who will sit there. The problem is that there is a seat, but there is no president agreed on yet!

As the opposition was insisting on Ghassan Hitto in Doha hotels, colonel Riad al-Asaad, the Free Syrian Army chief, almost lost his life in Deir az-Zour after the regime tried to assassinate him and, as a result, his leg was severed.

Risking lives

When looking at it this way, one cannot compare the eligibility of those who risk their lives every second to make changes on the ground with the eligibility of those who argue during conferences over cabinet and coalition seats. A day before the explosion that targeted Asaad, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) issued a statement objecting to assigning Ghassan Hitto. The FSA said it does not want to impose a name or a leader, but it insists that the assignment be consensual upon all parties' desire and not the majority of parties. It is strange that the coalition chose a premier without even bothering to ask for the opinion of those who risk their lives on the ground like the Free Syrian Army and the Revolution's General Commission.

We have to ask ourselves ‘why are we really fighting Bashar al-Assad’s regime?’ This entire revolution does not only aim to topple Assad

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

A few days ago, I wrote an article that the most important thing is that the Syrians take a steady path towards Damascus with the least amount of disputes over political issues. What I meant is that they do not go to Doha as disputants like they are today unfortunately. A veteran Syrian opposition figure called me to explain the nature of the problem to me. He said: “Mr. Hitto as a person is not the problem, and the objection is not that he is Kurdish. It had been voted for Mr. Syda (a Kurd) before. However, does it make sense that after two years of the revolution, not after two weeks or two months, we wake up in the morning at the hotel to be informed that someone called Ghassan Hitto has been assigned premier? Who is this Hitto? How will we convince 25 million Syrians that we chose him for them and recommend him? How will we explain to the Syrian people that after two years we did not find one single person they know, so we had to assign someone they do not know and who was brought from America, and we don't know if he has the capability to lead or not?”

An ‘immoral enemy’

He also said: “We are confronting a completely immoral enemy capable of planting suspicions and sowing divisions, and at the same time we are being held accountable by people who suffered what one cannot even imagine. There is no single family that did not pay a high price in this revolution. How can we convince them that we assigned a premier for them when we ourselves do not know him and they themselves have not seen him anywhere during the entire two years of the revolution? I am confident that Mr. Hitto is a respectable person and that he cares about Syria. But during this difficult time, we want a person who represents everyone and not only some Syrians. Some members of the Syrian coalition decided to choose Hitto but the coalition itself only represents some Syrians. Therefore, Hitto represents the some of the some! Imagine that! It is our right as individuals to disagree over opinions and means. Each one of us wants the best for his country, and most of us have been opposition figures for many long years. Haitham al-Maleh spent 50 years in prisons. Michel Kilo is a Christian who opposed Assad despite the regime's temptations to his sect. Wahid Saqr is an Alawite who has joined the struggle with us since the beginning despite threats made against him because of his sect, and he still holds his ground.”

He added in objection: “If issues are being dealt with like that with a policy of imposing a de facto situation where we wake up in the morning and find out that a premier has been assigned despite our will, then we have to be scared. We have to ask ourselves ‘why are we really fighting Bashar al-Assad’s regime?’ This entire revolution does not only aim to topple Assad. What is more important is that they aim to establish a just system that all Syrians accept. It is not acceptable that Hitto be assigned without consulting those who sacrifice themselves. Who are we to impose a premier or a minister on the Syrian people? Not to mention that they also ignored all Syrian opposition parties.”

Lastly, truth is things will be difficult in Syria if no consensus is reached.


Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.

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