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Guest Speaker Khalid Haj-Saleh Speaks at the Islamic Cultural Association

April 11, 2013 by  


By Adil James, TMO

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Adil James

About 50 people gathered at the Huda School Saturday evening to attend a lively lecture by Khalid Haj-Saleh, the spokesman and head of the Media Committee for the Syrian National Council.

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Khalid Haj-Saleh of the SNC speaks at the Islamic Culture Association

Mr. Haj-Saleh spoke in Arabic to a mostly Syrian gathering.  The theme of his speech was the unreported events that are transpiring in relation to the Syrian National Council.

One good sign of the Syrian National Council was the presence of Haj-Saleh himself.  This was a man who was at ease in Arabic and English, who spoke at length in an organized and intelligent way without notes, showing a lively engagement with his subject.

He spoke about the pressures placed on the SNC by the world’s powers, how early on and for years they had pressured the SNC to unite political and military opposition groups into one group with a unified leadership.  When this leadership began to coalesce the Western powers backpedalled.  The Russians, he said, had wanted to include Assad himself in the counsel on Syria’s future after the Assad regime.

Some people had expressed concerns that Ikhwan was overly powerful in the coalition, therefore it was expanded to include other groups.

He spoke of the SNC’s hope that military aid would follow the uniting of the opposition and its choosing of leadership, and their disappointment when even united, no military support was forthcoming from the West.

Haj-Saleh spoke frankly about the fact that in some places the opposition has a thin and sometimes divided layer of control over the areas under its military control in Syria, and in others it displays more unity and better leadership.

He pointed out that the Russians in negotiations are even more hard-line in private than they are in press conferences, and that their negotiating position has not shifted at all in years despite the Free Syrian Army’s many military gains and momentum.

Haj-Saleh explained the election process that had resulted in the election of the once-American Hitto as prime minister, where Haj-Saleh explained that Hitto had been one of four very strong and capable candidates for the position.

A disturbing trend which Haj-Saleh pointed out is that there have been several assassination attempts against opposition leaders which have gone unreported in the mainstream media.

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