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I guess he wanted to do it before Assad was completely defeated.

BBC News has this report:

Obama recognises Syria opposition coalition
11 December 2012 Last updated at 19:06 ET

The US has formally recognised Syria's opposition rebel coalition as the "legitimate representative" of the Syrian people, says President Obama.

Speaking to ABC News in the US, Mr Obama said the coalition was now "inclusive enough, is reflective and representative enough".

He described the move - already made by the UK and the EU - as "a big step".

Activists say some 40,000 people have died in more than 18 months of battle against President Bashar al-Assad. More...

From the White House Press Briefing today:

Q    Syria, Jay?

MR. CARNEY:  Yes, Syria.

Q    Can you explain to us which groups you're going to support and which groups you won’t and what your reasoning is?

MR. CARNEY:  I can say a few things.  Tomorrow, Deputy Secretary of State Burns will attend the Friends of Syria   -- Friends of the Syrian People meeting in Morocco.  We will do all we can to broaden our support of the Syrian opposition coalition and to work with like-minded countries to bring this crisis to an end.

We are pleased with the Syrian Opposition Coalition’s continued efforts to organize, form technical committees, engage with the international community, and take concrete steps to promote a unified, just, democratic future for Syria.

These actions are in line with what we and our international partners hoped would result from the formation of the Syrian Opposition Coalition in Doha last month.  As we look to tomorrow’s meeting and our ongoing efforts to support the Syrian people, let me be absolutely clear:  The United States stands with the Syrian people in insisting that any transition process result in a peaceful, unified, democratic Syria, in which all citizens are protected -- Sunni, Alawite, Christians, Kurds, Druze, men, women and children.  And a future of this kind cannot include Bashar al Assad.

Q    Still no plans for the U.S. to get involved militarily?

MR. CARNEY:  That's correct.  We provide significant assistance to the Syrian people in humanitarian aid.  We provide significant non-lethal assistance to the opposition.  But our position on providing lethal aid has not changed.

Q    Jay, can I follow up on Syria?

MR. CARNEY:  Okay, let me -- I've got to get to some folks in the back.  But go ahead, Kristen, on this.  On Syria, go ahead.

Q    Okay, thank you.  Defense Secretary Leon Panetta seemed to suggest that the Syrian government had slowed its preparations of chemical weapons, that the administration is not as concerned about this as it may have been last week.  Can you talk a little bit about that?  Is that accurate, and what has changed?

MR. CARNEY:  Well, I'm not going to get into assessments beyond what Secretary of Defense Panetta said.  I would simply reiterate our clear warning to the Assad regime about the potential use of or proliferation of chemical weapons.  And that warning was made by the President, and that warning stands.

We take this very seriously.  And were the Assad regime to unwisely make the wrong choice here, there would be consequences.

Wed Dec 12, 2012 at  7:20 AM PT:

Here are my related diaries on Syria:
State of the war in Syria: Most of Damascus now in FSA hands!
Syria: Obama's moves Assad's "red line" back as SOHR reports 42,000 dead!
UPDATED: #Syria goes dark as "cleansing" begins in Damascus
BREAKING: #Assad's Troops Wipe Out a Playground Full of Children in #Syria
BREAKING: #Russia denies #Syria-n army on brink of collapse
BREAKING in Syria: Explosion rocks #Damascus as people use "Truce Day" to protest regime
We condemn Israel. So why the silence on Syria?
Norodom Sihanouk at his finest & more on Syria
Meet a Syrian who doesn't think both sides are equally bad and is betting her life on it!
Two statements about Syria
Syria Today: New videos from the revolutionary war
Syrian Defector: Assad behind "terrorist" bombs
How Assad fights "terrorism" in Syria
REVISITED: FSA says it killed Russian General in Syria
Turkey attacks Syria
Truth Out: How Assad helped France kill Qaddafi
Panetta: Unilateral U.S. Military Intervention in Syria Would Be a Serious Mistake
BREAKING: 305 Syrians slaughtered in bloodiest day yet
Syria: Secret source of rebel arms revealed
BREAKING: Amnesty on Syria - Assad Regime guilty on indiscriminate slaughter
Syrian Revolution Digest shows "disgusting" photos!
Syria: The Killing Field the World is Learning to Live With
Barack Obama's Courtship of Bashar al-Assad
LIVE VIDEO: “World Silence is Killing #Syria” Rally in #DC
Free #Syria responds to Robert Fisk
UPDATED: #Assad: "#Syria doesn't need a green light!"
#Obama opposes French support for #Assad's opposition in #Syria
BREAKING: Amnesty site hacked, Assad propaganda posted
BREAKING: 630 Slaughtered in new massacre in Syria
Special message from Syrian children to Obama
Assad's Redline and Obama's Greenlight!
General Meade at Gettysburg
Tell US gov't to stop endangering Syrian activists
UPDATED: #Obama "green lights" #Assad's slaughter in #Syria
Syria: Turning Battlegrounds into Playgrounds
BREAKING: Bashar al-Assad is alive as deaths in Syria reach 25,000
The Left and the Arab Spring
Iran increasing its intervention in Syria
Syria: Images from the Battle of Aleppo
Fears grow of WMD attack in Syria
UPDATED: FSA says it killed Russian General in Syria
BREAKING: Syria releases new images of Bashar al- Assad | Are they fakes?
NOT BREAKING NEWS: Just another massacre in Syria
UPDATED: Syrian prime minister defects
Syria: FSA says Iranian pilgrims really Republican Guard
Syria: Aleppo under Siege!
BREAKING: UN votes to condemn Assad Regime as Reuters posts false story on Syria
BREAKING: Kofi Annan resigns as envoy to Syria
Syria: Bashar al-Assad not heard from on Armed Forces Day!
BREAKING: Senior Syrian diplomat to Armenia defects
BREAKING: Big Explosion hits #Damascus #Syria
UPDATED: Syria's Charge D'Affaires Quits London Post
BREAKING: Ground assault on Aleppo begins!
BREAKING: Protests across Syria in spite of Assad regime violence
ALEPPO: Step outside the Matrix and witness the Horror
UPDATED: US fears massacre in #Aleppo, #Syria
BREAKING: Reports of clashes between Jordan Army & Assad's Syrian army
BRAKING: Obama stops Putin from re-arming Assad in Syria
Syria: Foreign meddling increases as crisis builds
BREAKING: Aleppo, Syria bombed with fighter jets
BREAKING: Syria issues a correction, it has no WMD to use
BREAKING: Arab League asks Assad to step down!
Bashar al-Assad: New images released as slaughter continues in Syria
no blood for oil
BREAKING: Activists report toxic gas attack in Deir ez-Zor, Syria
Glenn Greenwald sees Islamist Terrorism as main issue in Syria
Will Syria's Assad make a chemical attack in Damascus on Saturday?
BREAKING: I know where Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is!
BREAKING: Massive Fire near #Assad's Presidential Palace in #Damascus, #Syria
BREAKING: Is Syria's Bashar al-Assad dead or dying?
BREAKING: Damascus explosion kills Defense Minister, other key figures
The battle for Damascus is coming
BREAKING: General Strike in Damascus
BREAKING: Intense fighting reported in Damascus now!
BREAKING: Syrian defector spills beans as important new defection reported.
Does Syria's Assad have something on Kofi Annan?
Tremseh Massacre in Syria: What we know
BREAKING: ~227 reported massacred by Assad's forces in Tremseh, Syria today!
Syria: Is Assad regime on the verge of collapse?
BREAKING: Russian Warships reported in Syria
BREAKING: #Russia changing on #Assad but not as fast as conditions in #Syria
UN Observers say violence in Syria is ‘Unprecedented’
BREAKING: Defection of major Assad insider reported in Syria
BREAKING: WikiLeaks releases 2.4 million #Syria emails
When did "Never Again" become "Whenever?" | #Douma
BREAKING: Incredible mass rally in Aleppo, Syria today!
BREAKING: HRW releases torture report on Syria
BREAKING: Syrian General defects with 293 to Turkey
BREAKING: Items not in the MSM on Syria
My response to Phyllis Bennis: Where is the non-violent opposition in Syria?
BREAKING: Syrian Air Force attacks Douma, 10m from Damascus, thousands flee
BREAKING: As Syria Burns, UN Blows More Smoke
BREAKING: Kofi Annan to propose Syrian unity gov't sans Assad!
BREAKING: Douma, Syria under massive attack, another massacre feared
BREAKING: Another mass defection from Syrian army
BREAKING: #NATO says No War in #Syria shoot down of #Turkey jet
NATO meetup tomorrow as more defect from Syria
BREAKING: Turkey calls for NATO consult on downing of jet by Syria
BREAKING: Senior Syrian Officers Defect
UPDATED: Russia reported to be preparing to evacuate from Syria
BREAKING: Syria fighter pilot defects
BREAKING: Britain stops Russian ship carrying attack helicopters for Syria
BREAKING: Russian troops headed to Syria
Qaddafi forces Strike Back in Libya
BREAKING: UN suspends mission in Syria
Libya & Syria - two videos - no comment
BREAKING: Russia denies supplying Syria with NEW attack helicopters
Syrian people rise up against the massacre
Another "Houla style" massacre in Syria
Fake Houla Massacre Photo: Was the BBC set up?
Idlib, Syria protest today on anniversary of Kent State killings
BREAKING: Massive protests in Syria following Friday pray
Syria is bleeding
Syria: Ceasefire faltering as mass protests breakout

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is good news (0+ / 0-)

    Do you have any thoughts on how the new government will be set up when Assad falls? Will it ally with the United States over Russia?

    Republicans are far more socialist than Democrats. Just because they want to redistribute the wealth upwards does not make it any better.

    by MrAnon on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 04:56:54 PM PST

    •  It may not be a US ally and likely won't be... (6+ / 0-)

      ...but it's certainly going to hate Russia!  If the Cold War still existed this would be a plus, but it doesn't exist any more so it doesn't matter.

      You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

      by Rich in PA on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:20:46 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Here are my thoughts. (3+ / 0-)

      A soft Islamic party will be in power, with the hardliners in second place.  Al-Qaeda franchises will not join the government -- their tactics are more along the lines of making whatever nation they are in ungovernable except by themselves.  The fronts of the franchises and allied parties may well -- what happens when a registered terror organization controls a handful of seats in the Assembly will vex most of the neighbors, Russia and the United States.

      The progressives and radicals who started the revolution and were first to get shot at by Assad will be shunted to the side at best, as in Egypt.  Syria will stumble its way into the world-community as a mildly authoritarian state with a strong Islamic component.    

      The worst-case scenario is a purge along the lines of Khomeini vs. Iranian leftists or Stalin vs. Trotsky.  Then come the old scores to settle, possibly with a helping of religious hatred and revenge (Sunni vs. Alawite and Christian).  

      The current situation in Syria is intolerable.  The near future will probably be better in the way that living under Castro is better than living under Kim Jong Il was.  

      "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

      by Yamaneko2 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 05:27:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What time frame are you talking about? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's going to take years, maybe a decade or more, for the country to reach any sustainable political equilibrium.

      All sorts of things are going to happen between now and then, many of them at the same time.

      Art is the handmaid of human good.

      by joe from Lowell on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:53:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks, Clay (3+ / 0-)

    I hadn't been attentive enough recently to note your yeoman's work on this topic, but that is a list of diaries to be proud of -- and this is a welcome addition to them!

    Plaintiffs' Employment Law Attorney (harassment, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing, wage & hour, &c.) in North Orange County, CA.

    "I love this goddamn country, and we're going to take it back."
    -- Saul Alinsky

    by Seneca Doane on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:51:18 PM PST

  •  Better late than never (0+ / 0-)

    "The Obama Administration has been an unmitigated disaster" - Osama Bin Laden

    by Explorer8939 on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:21:49 PM PST

  •  tipped, but rec button is missing (0+ / 0-)
  •  Obama recognizes opposition: (0+ / 0-)

    "Larry, John, how you guys doing? Haven't seen you around the pentagon lately, how's the 'private sector' treating you? (wink) "

  •  Some factual information and excellent analysis (5+ / 0-)

    in this interview with Joshua Landis by Lara Setrakian.

    From an article in Truthout, there is also information on a "road map" which:

    ... the Syrian "opponents" were ordered by Qatar to "find" an agreement, sine qua non, before leaving the room they were provided. This means that the "Syrian opposition" had a gun to its head, forcing it to reach this minimum agreement. Qatari Prime Minister, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani, took a personal interest in the proceedings.

    In reality, the "revolt" in Syria, totally managed by foreign countries and their intelligence services, was a proxy war against the Syrian national state, a war which needed "Syrians at their service" only to serve as "local color."

    This "Doha Protocol" a document which has 13 points which are noted at the Truthout link.

    The Truthout article was translated from an article in The Sham Times.

    (Link goes to the publication but not to the article referenced above.)

    Orwell - "Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable"

    by truong son traveler on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 11:44:22 PM PST

    •  Question? (0+ / 1-)
      Recommended by:
      Hidden by:

      Did the people who wrote the "Doha Protocol" also write the Protocols of the Elders of Zion?

      This Sham Times piece is clearly Assad propaganda.

      The 13 points are a joke, not to be believed. For example:

      6. To cancel all agreements and contracts signed with Russia and China in the fields of subsurface drilling and armaments;

      7. To allow Qatari gas pipeline passage through the Syrian territory toward Turkey and then on to Europe;

      8. To allow water pipes to pass through the Syrian territory from the Atatürk Dam to Israel;

      9. Qatar and United Arab Emirates pledge to rebuild what has been destroyed by the war in Syria on the condition that their companies have the exclusive access to contracts for reconstruction and for exploitation of Syrian oil and gas;

      10.To terminate relations with Iran, Russia and China;

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Wed Dec 12, 2012 at 07:13:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline (2+ / 0-)

        has long been a bone of contention between Syria and Qatar.

        Why Qatar wants to invade Syria

        By Pepe Escobar
        Vijay Prashad, author of the recent Arab Spring, Libya Winter, is currently writing a series on the Syria Contact Group for Asia Times Online. He got a phone call from an energy expert urging him to investigate "the Qatari ambition to run its pipelines into Europe." According to this source, "the proposed route would have run through Iraq and Turkey. The former transit country is posing to be a problem. So much easier to go north (Qatar has already promised Jordan free gas)."

        Even before Prashad concludes his investigation, it's clear what Qatar is aiming at; to kill the US$10 billion Iran-Iraq-Syria gas pipeline, a deal that was clinched even as the Syria uprising was already underway. [2]

        Here we see Qatar in direct competition with both Iran (as a producer) and Syria (as a destination), and to a lesser extent, Iraq (as a transit country). It's useful to remember that Tehran and Baghdad are adamantly against regime change in Damascus.

        The gas will come from the same geographical/geological base - South Pars, the largest gas field in the world, shared by Iran and Qatar. The Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline - if it's ever built - would solidify a predominantly Shi'ite axis through an economic, steel umbilical cord.

        Qatar, on the other hand, would rather build its pipeline in a non-"Shi'ite crescent" way, with Jordan as a destination; exports would leave from the Gulf of Aqaba to the Gulf of Suez and then to the Mediterranean. That would be the ideal plan B as negotiations with Baghdad become increasingly complicated (plus the fact the route across Iraq and Turkey is much longer).

    •  An effort to weaken Shiite Hezbollah (2+ / 0-)

      as well ???

      Take down the Shiite Alawi government and Hezbollah has no direct ground link to Iran.

      Sunni vs. Shiite -- the main ticket.

    •  #10/#11: cut off Iran, center of Shiite Islam. (2+ / 0-)

      Here's the 13 points from Doha.

      1. Syria should reduce the number of soldiers of the Syrian army to 50,000;

      2. Syria will assert its right to sovereignty over the Golan only by political means. Both parties will sign peace agreements under the auspices of the United States and Qatar;

      3. Syria must get rid of, under the supervision of the United States, all its chemical and biological weapons and all of its missiles. This operation must be carried out on the land of Jordan;

      4. To cancel any claim of sovereignty over Liwa Iskenderun (Alexandretta) and to withdraw in favor of Turkey from some border villages inhabited by Turkmens in "muhafazahs" in Aleppo and Idlib;

      5. To expel all members of the Workers Party of Kurdistan, and to hand over those wanted by Turkey. This party should be added to the list of terrorist organizations;

      6. To cancel all agreements and contracts signed with Russia and China in the fields of subsurface drilling and armaments;

      7. To allow Qatari gas pipeline passage through the Syrian territory toward Turkey and then on to Europe;

      8. To allow water pipes to pass through the Syrian territory from the Atatürk Dam to Israel;

      9. Qatar and United Arab Emirates pledge to rebuild what has been destroyed by the war in Syria on the condition that their companies have the exclusive access to contracts for reconstruction and for exploitation of Syrian oil and gas;

      10. To terminate relations with Iran, Russia and China;

      11. To break off relations with Hezbollah and with Palestinian resistance movements;

      12. The Syrian regime should be Islamic and not Salafi;

      13. This agreement will come into effect as soon as power is taken ((Algerian) Editor's note: by the "Opposition").

      Plus, #12 gets tossed in. Like the flood of Salafi fanatics that came in from Iraq are going to be held in check by this Doha meeting.

      Hate to say it, but the territorial concessions are laughable. Bribes to "the opposition" are going to be paid back with pipelines and villages.

      Tortoise and effing scorpion.

  •  But, will the Syrian people and the FSA recognize (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    the Syrian opposition coalition as "the legitimate representative" of Syria? The Syrians may balk at this foreign controlled coalition.

    Stalemate stokes anger at rebels in Aleppo
    Many Syrian residents are fed up with rebel fighters as the conflict drags on in the once-thriving commercial centre.

    "Our country is being destroyed. If this is the revolution, I don't want it. I have to stress that I am not a supporter of the regime, because they used to oppress us. But now, we are being oppressed 100 times more."

  •  The US and NATO are going to have a severe problem (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    differentiating between the "good" rebels and the "terrorist" rebels on the ground. Without western military backing, the secular rebels are no match for the better funded, trained and motivated Takfiri and Salafist militias. These militias have spearheaded the attacks which have allowed the FSA to gain so much ground in the last 10 months. They are now gaining members at an ever rapid rate due to their successes.

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