Burhan Ghalioun’s Fiefdom


The Syrian National Council was born and bred out of necessity.

It has become the main opposition group which has either welcomed or laid waste to all other opposition groups. It was never a perfect well oiled machine. And yet despite this, after calls for the opposition to unite, a few countries, including the Arab League were willing, out of good faith, to at least initially offer it some form of legitimacy by bestowing upon it the title of “A representative of the Syrian people”.

From its inception infighting and power struggles between Muslim Brotherhood and individual members flared. We’ve seen people come and go and more recently and more often than not, mostly just go. At the helm, one man, Burhan Ghalioun, iniitally seen as an academic with a heart, is now seen by most in the bitter independent opposition circles as a man out of touch and with very little leadership capabilities.

Yesterday the SNC voted 21-11 to renew his term of presidency for a fourth time despite calls for months now for him to step down from various independent activists and opposition parties.

A few months back, in Tunis, George Sabra was seen as the man most likely to replace Ghalioun, but a tear-jerking testimony by Ghalioun kept him on for his third term at the time.

The current vote is highly rumored to have been deals cut within the Muslim Brotherhood faction of the SNC and Ghalioun to take over the presidency once more, despite the charter upon which it is built which clearly stipulated (and then had changed for Ghalioun’s sake) that no one shall run for more than one single term.

So here we are, 14 months after the rise of the Syrian people to topple a dictator, and we see a mini-fiefdom form under our noses.

Burhan Ghalioun has served his purpose. He has steered us to near recognition, and has given the world an entity with which to conduct (some) business. But he has overstayed his welcome.

It is time for Ghalioun to go.

The people want the removal of Ghalioun or the removal of the SNC. If the SNC falls apart, the world will throw its hands up and say: deal with your own problems. We can’t afford that now.

Ghalioun: we will not sacrfice the legitimacy of the revolution for you to have your moment in the sun. At your age the sun is no good for you in large doses.

It’s time to know when you’re not wanted and make that respectful exit before you are forced into early retirement. You once said politics was not your game and you were going to step aside. Sir, it is not your game and now is that time to step aside. Internal pie cutting when the pie isn’t yours is cheap and premature.

I call on all activists to support the campaign to force Burhan Ghalioun into a resignation and call on the Syrian National Council to conduct emergency open elections to choose a President worthy of the respect of the Syrian people. The same people who daily continue to protest, who daily are slaughtered and who daily prove there are no braver souls on Earth.

Mr. Burhan Ghalioun, the Syrian people ask you to step down. Now.



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