Syria-US: US can no longer support the Syrian National Council (SNC) as the “visible leader” of opposition forces. US Secretary of State Clinton and other U.S. officials reportedly are fed up with infighting among the SNC leaders and have become convinced that the group does not represent the interests of all ethnic and religious groups in Syria. Ms. Clinton said there is a need for an official opposition umbrella which rejects “efforts by extremists to hijack the Syrian revolution.
Comment: More than 18 months into a rebellion of sorts, this is an astonishing admission of poor judgment and faulty political intelligence on multiple levels. It seems to have taken a year and a half for the US government to appreciate that the Syrian expatriates have no influence over the fighting in Syria. No fighting groups respond to their direction. No fighting groups depend on their dispensation of American funds.
Spokesmen for various Syrian fighting groups have been denouncing the expatriate politicians and the SNC as venal and out of touch for 18 months, openly and sometimes bitterly. The SNC has experienced repeated desertions by its most capable leaders, who also denounced its feckless venality.
The fighting will not stop in Syria because the SNC gets cut off. Even were the Free Syrian Army, which operates in Syria as one of many fighting groups, to lose its funding and supplies, fighting would continue because the rebellion appears to have been hijacked by the jihadists. They do not rely on the West or the US for support, though they will purloin it if given the opportunity.
Libya: Update. On 1 November, about 100 Libyan fighters have circled and occupied the Libyan national assembly to protest the new cabinet lineup.
Comment: Judging from the large number of documents about security in Benghazi that have been leaked or found in Benghazi, the cabinet in Tripoli does not govern Libya beyond parts of Tripoli. The fragmentation of the state actually worsened with the killing of Qadhafi.
If the news and leaked reports may be trusted, Libya has become a political fiction, like Somalia. Cyrenaica, eastern Libya, is an al Qaida base, training location and arms depot for jihadists in Syria and Mali. The rest of Libya is a mélange of competing tribal territories. Libya seems to have devolved as a nation-state – gone backwards.