by Chris Marsden
In a July 12 article for the Guardian’s “Comment is Free” section, Charlie Skelton poses the fundamental question the world’s media does not want asked.
“The Syrian opposition: who’s doing the talking?” is a devastating exposé of the intimate connections between the Syrian opposition and the US, British and French intelligence services, along with top US neo-cons. It traces the formation of the Syrian National Council and the appointment of its leading personnel to long-standing and well-funded plans for regime change in Syria and more generally in the Middle East. These plans date back to at least 2005, and have been funded by Washington in an effort to secure political control of the oil-rich region.
Skelton does not attempt to be comprehensive. He focuses on a few of the most prominent members of the SNC and identifies some of the most vociferous proponents of military intervention as being paid representatives of the Western powers.
Among those routinely cited as “official spokesmen” or “pro-democracy campaigner” is the Paris-based Syrian academic Bassma Kodmani, a member of the executive bureau and head of the SNC’s foreign affairs.
Kodmani is a repeated visitor to the Bilderberg group conference, an organisation of top political figures dedicated to strengthening the links between US and European imperialism and securing their collective global interests under the banner of promoting “Atlanticism.”
In 2005, she worked for the Ford Foundation in Cairo. That year saw a marked deterioration in US-Syria relations, with President George W. Bush contemplating military intervention against Damascus alongside Israel.
In September, Kodmani was made the executive director of the Arab Reform Initiative, funded by the US Council on Foreign Relations and its US/Middle East project—chaired by former national security adviser General Brent Scowcroft.
“Financial oversight” of the project was given to the Centre for European Reform (CER), a British think-tank headed by Lord Kerr, deputy chairman of Royal Dutch Shell.
Kodmani is also a member of the European Council on Foreign Relations, functioning as the executive director of its Arab Reform Initiative.
Radwan Ziadeh, the SNC’s director of foreign relations, is a senior fellow at the US Institute of Peace and a signatory to a letter calling for US military intervention alongside former head of the CIA James Woolsey, Karl Rove and other prominent neo-cons. He has acted as an intermediary between the White House and the Syrian opposition since 2005.