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From Turkey, Jarba Tweets Himself to Presidency, Follows US & UK, Scribes

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, November 28, updated -- The "Syrian Coalition" of Ahmad Jarba from Turkey cranks out press releases daily, and has now moved further into social media, with a new Twitter account of "President Jarba," which as of this publication has 13 followers, while tellingly following 45.

  From today's press release:

"The Assad regime has announced its willingness to attend the Geneva II conference in January 22, 2014, but declared its unwillingness ‘to hand over power to a transitional governing body’.. The regime continues to deny the popular demands of ending its rule of tyranny and injustice and to ignore the legitimate aspirations of democracy, freedom, and the rule of law. Furthermore, the delusional regime claims to be the victim of a conspiracy, and is still refusing to acknowledge the true aim of the Geneva conference which is the transition from a dictatorship toward democracy. The Syrian Coalition reiterates its commitment to participate in any and all political processes that might achieve the Syrian people's aspirations for democracy."

  With these repeated references to democracy, it seems strange for Jarba to refer to himself as "President of the Syrian Opposition." The whole opposition?

  And who does Jarba follow? His very first follow was UK foreign secretary William Hague, followed by Hague's US counterpart John Kerry. Then the White House and US Number 10; then the BBC, Associated Press, Al Hayat and Reuters.

This is the audience. When Jarba was in New York in July, big Gulf & Western media hosted him for a faux "UN briefing" on the third floor of the building.

  Despite repeated requests, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's spokespeople refused to answer Inner City Press' questions about the legalities of the "UN briefing."

  When Ban met with Jarba in September in Ban's UN-provided residence, it was not in the Media Alert and only an in-house UN photographer was there, the type of exclusion of independent media that the Free UN Coalition for Access has most recently protested.

  Strangely missing from Jarba's follows? Laurent Fabius and Francoise Hollande, since it was France which declared Jarba to be the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people. France takes over the Security Council for the month of December, and one wonders what will happen them. Look for more follows! Watch this site.

Update: after the above was published, Jarba reduced his follows from 45 to 31, dropping the mentioned Gulf and Western media and adding... Laurent Fabius.


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