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As US Gives Jarba's Syria Coalition "Foreign Mission" Status, Murky UN Echoes

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, May 5 -- With Ahmad Jarba's Syria Coalition coming to Washington for the next nine days, today the US announced it is upgrading the Coalition to "foreign mission" status. But what does it mean? Jarba is sure to say much about it.

  Does it mean that at the UN, the US will now try to switch Syria's credential from Assad to Jarba's Coalition? It was done during the ouster of Laurent Gbagbo in Cote d'Ivoire. But then, French troops were "on the ground" in Abidjan, hunting Gbabgo. In the case of Syria, many say Assad is regaining strength.

  Jarba's jaunts to the UN to date have included a faux UN briefing in the room the UN gives to the board of the UN Correspondents Association, and another event sponsored by France after which Laurent Fabius rebuffed a critical questioner by saying, let's find a real journalist.

  Outgoing French ambassador Gerard Araud pulled this same move on April 15; this morning, his slated replacement Jacques Audibert met with the US State Department's William Burns.

  Ryan Crocker, now on Voice of America's Broadcasting Board of Governors amid pending legislation to confirm VOA's role as US propaganda, has been quoted about the need for Alawites in Syria to be given assurance of their place if Assad were ousted. What kind of outreach is Jarba's Coalition doing, from Turkey?

  The Coalition told the Press on May 2, "Ahmad Jarba, President of the Syrian Opposition Coalition, will be making an official visit to Washington, D.C. from May 7-14. He will be accompanied by a delegation of senior officials from the Coalition. President Jarba and the delegation will meet with White House and administration officials, members of Congress, and foreign policy experts to brief them on the situation in Syria and to discuss the long term strategic partnership with the United States."

  We'll see. Inner City Press on May 3 reported on the irony of envoy Lakhdar Brahimi possibly being replaced by Tunisia's Kamel Morjane, previously a crony of Ben Ali. What would the US then Jarba think of that? Watch this site.


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