Six weeks ago in a conference in a hotel in Istanbul, Turkey the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (NOC) decided to establish the Syrian Interim Government (SIG).
It was an interesting development because the SIG is ostensibly going to govern the areas in northern Syria which are under rebel control, even though these areas are under the control of several different rebel groups and none of them are willing to cede their control to anyone else.
I've been thinking about this move by the NOC and at first I could only think of three reasons why they did it.
1- It's what the SNC/NOC do best - conferences, usually with only a few dozen people, often in a hotel in Istanbul, pretentiously held to decide the future of Syria.
2 - It's a good show for the Friends of Syria Group and gives the media something else to unquestioningly report.
3 - 'We were here first.' Now any attempt in the future to establish an 'interim government' can easily be labeled illegitimate.
But then last week two more reasons, which seem to be the real reasons, came out.
1 - There is now international discussion of easing the embargo on buying Syrian oil - but only for oil sold by the rebels. So the SNC/NOC suddenly needed a 'government' that can sign contracts and receive payments so that oil controlled by the rebels can be 'legally' bought by companies around the world, but most probably by Turkish companies.
2 - The SNC/NOC, who are financially and politically supported by the US, have been preparing a Sharia legal code - in Istanbul under the tutelage of Qatar and Saudi Arabia - and they need a 'government' to 'govern' with this code.