As the Washington post reports, the FSA or General Salim Idriss threatened Hisbollah with retaliation attacks if it does not withdraw from Syrian territory. Since the shooting of Lebanese soldiers on Tuesday, fears that Lebanon could be drawn into a sectarian civil war are rising. Since the beginning of the revolution, Lebanon takes the stance of neutrality which becomes increasingly difficult to maintain as different factions of Lebanese society position themselves with or against the regime.
While it is not clear who is responsible for the military attack on the soldiers, the attack points to the fragility of the Lebanese state. Along the same lines, Joshua Landis argues that the “Syrian Civil War” is increasingly extending towards Lebanon. According to him Alawites in Tripoli are not only attacking Sunni parts but nearly all parts of the city. Expectations that the Lebanese army could broker a cease-fire were not met.
Meanwhile the National Coalition met in Istanbul to expand and widen its support base and representativeness. Syria Deeply gives an insight to these meetings. The initial plan, agreed upon by members of the National Coalition including the Muslim Brotherhood, stated that 32 new members should be included. However, the secretary general of the National Coalition rejected this plan on Friday while coming up with a new plan which guarantees the Muslim Brotherhood two thirds of seats.
Hassan explains these efforts of the Brotherhood to gain more influence as a continuation of earlier “false” practices. Apparently, the secretary general of the National Coalition Al-Sabbagh was appointed as representing “local councils” when in fact many of the people he claimed to represent were his employees from Saudi Arabia.
Syrians themselves know about this position of Sabbagh while Turkey, Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood insist that he leads the National Coalition. These positions therefore would completely undermine the credibility of the National Coalition as a representative body of the Syrian opposition. Representativeness thereby is important in order to be able to deal with other (western) powers and take further political decisions. According to Hassan, the importance of the Brotherhood and its ability to remain strong within the coalition is due to Turkey’s and Qatar’s influence as the Brotherhood does not have a strong support base in Syria. Further developments show that Al-Sabbagh tries to hold his power in the National Coalition despite his knowledge that this might eventually weaken the opposition and strengthen Assad. Adopt a Revolution already published the statement by opposition networks who are criticizing the recent inability of the National Coalition on taking any political steps.
The English Al Akhbar reports on another note that after the heavy bombardment of Qusair, regime troops are preparing to launch an attack on Aleppo by surrounding the city in order to cut off the supplies of the opposition. Also, there seem to be new clashes between FSA brigades and Kurdish fighters who are part of the YPG. This is not the first time that attacks on Kurdish villages are carried out. Yet, it is not merely Kurds fighting against the FSA as the situation is more complex. There are Kurdish brigades who fight alongside the FSA but coordinate their actions with the YPG. The YPG again accuses the FSA of a plan to attack villages under control of the YPG.
Meanwhile, the Daily Beast reports about plans of President Obama on creating a no-fly zone in Syria. Thereby, there have been demands by the white house for the pentagon to draw plans of a possible no-fly zone. The question here is not if the United States is able to suppress the regime’s air power which it can surely do without ground troops. Rather, it depends more on the will of President Obama to carry out any of these measures.