Pour le commun des mortels, y compris les chroniqueurs, les commentateurs et les journalistes, y compris nous-mêmes bien entendu, le nouveau “Premier ministre” du gouvernement intérimaire de l’opposition syrienne, Ghassan Hitto, est sorti de nulle part… Par conséquent, les signes extérieurs comptaient et l’on notait, évidemment et lourdement, sa qualité de citoyen nationalisé US, de résident aux USA et au Texas depuis 1980, etc. Cela pouvait sembler en faire un “émissaire” tout trouvé de la principale puissance du bloc BAO.
Les premiers articles de fond qui paraissent sur cette affaire nous disent absolument qu’il n’en est rien. Au contraire, la nomination-élection d’Hitto serait un “coup” réussi du Qatar et, surtout, des Frères Musulmans soutenus par le Qatar, et accessoirement de la Turquie qui marche au côté du Qatar dans cette circonstance. Les perdants dans cette affaire, ce sont l’Arabie Saoudite, les pays du bloc BAO, et essentiellement toute la politique de négociation de la Russie, que les USA soutiennent fermement, d’après ce qu’il semble, depuis l’arrivée de Kerry. Hitto a aussitôt affirmé une position intransigeante, avec le refus du moindre contact avec le gouvernement Assad, ce qui va effectivement, notamment, contre l’entente Russie-USA et le programme de l’émissaire de l’ONU Brahimi.
On cite deux articles de journaux arabes, largement documentés sur cette affaire. Si cette analyse se révèle juste, on aura un signe de plus que les jeux des différents acteurs autour de la Russie sont très différents, voire antagonistes. Dans ce cas et une fois de plus, le Qatar se révèle comme un acteur déstructurant indépendant, dont la politique est très loin de celle des USA telle que Kerry l’a définie ces derniers temps à plusieurs reprise. (Dans cette occurrence, les USA sont bien plus proches de la Russie que du Qatar, sur lequel ils semblent exercer un contrôle réduit, sinon nul...) La perspective est un regain d’antagonisme, une confusion encore renforcée dans les acteurs autour de la Syrie, le désordre conduit vers une nouvelle accélération.
• Le site al-monitor.com publie un article de Mohammad Ballout, du 21 mars 2013 dans as-Safir, jouyrnal libanais de gauche et indépendant, en général disposant de bonnes informations. Le titre est éloquent : «Qatar Trumps Saudi Arabia On Syrian Opposition Leader»
«A “temporary Syrian government” for the opposition ... a Qatari coup against Saudi Arabia in the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (NCR) ... and the sabotaging of the US-Russian understanding.
»The first fruit of the above is that 12 NCR members froze their memberships a few hours after provisional prime minister Ghassan Hitto presided over his new Syrian “government” in contravention of the deal that Qatar and Saudi brokered among the various wings in the NCR.
»The Qataris came out victorious in their struggle to influence a large part of the Syrian opposition abroad and in determining the next course of action. Over the coming days, Qatar may score another victory by granting the “temporary government” Syria’s seat in the Arab League, which meets in Doha on Tuesday [March 26]. Syrian opposition sources said that what happened in Istanbul [on March 19] was a coup against the Qatari-Saudi agreement reached in recent weeks. Under that agreement, Syria’s former agriculture minister, Asaad Mustafa, was to have headed the “temporary government.”
»An NCR source said that after 14 hours of closed-door meetings and phone consultations, which Qatar’s Foreign Ministry directed from its headquarters in Doha, Qatar broke the agreement on Mustafa being elected to head the temporary government. Small and independent blocs that had clout were isolated, as was NCR president Moaz Khatib, who was forced to bow to the majority’s choice. He had previously rejected the “temporary government” option and called for avoiding this reckless step. He was against choosing figures with no unanimous support. He said that obtaining Syria’s seat in the Arab League, something Qatar is pushing for, is not worth the risk of harming the NCR.
»An NCR source said that Khalid al-Attiyah, the Qatari Foreign Ministry’s office director, intervened to impose Hitto. The electoral committee members were summoned from their hotel rooms after midnight in order to elect Hitto, a naturalized US citizen and Texas resident, to be prime minister of the temporary government. [..]
»Twelve NCR members withdrew to protest Hitto’s temporary government. Among those who withdrew was NCR Vice President Suheir al-Atassi. She voted for Hitto but reconsidered her position for no apparent reason and declared the next morning that she was suspending her NCR membership because she refuses to be a mere “decoration,” as she wrote on her Facebook page. Kamal al-Labwani froze his membership because “the NCR is not an electoral body and cannot elect a prime minister for the Syrians.” The NCR also lost spokesman Walid al-Bunni, who froze his membership “to protest the timing and the method that the NCR used to form a majority among a nonelected body.”
»We should not expect much from the group that has not yet decided whether it will work alongside Khatib inside the NCR. It is not yet clear whether he will resign following the Qataris’ imposition of a choice he had publicly rejected. Khatib has a difficult decision to make in order to stay at his post. After his election, Hitto gave a speech reversing Khatib’s initiative to negotiate with the Syrian regime. Khatib had given up on the military option and is in favor of negotiating with the Syrian regime. Khatib still enjoys American and popular support for his negotiation initiative and has a lot more Syrian legitimacy than Hitto, whom the Qataris brought out of nowhere.
»Others also are facing the tough choice of whether to stay or leave. Among them is Algerian envoy Lakhdar Brahimi; his staying on as UN peace envoy to Syria depends on whether the Russian-American understanding holds fast in front of the Qatari attack and the imposition of a temporary government that favors the military solution alone. A figure close to Brahimi said, “Qatar is spoiling our work and our mission.”…»
• Sur Al.monitor.com également, Hassan Hassan publie un commentaire sur l’élection de Hitto, ce 21 mars 2013. Il va dans le même sens que le précédent et donne de nombreux détails sur le “coup de force” Qatar/Frères Musulmans.
«Ghassan Hitto, a naturalized US citizen from Damascus, was selected on Monday, March 18, by members of the opposition Syrian National Coalition to become the interim prime minister. Little known among Syrians, his appointment is by far the clearest indication of the Muslim Brotherhood’s monopoly over the opposition’s political and military bodies. At least nine figures suspended their membership in the National Coalition in protest, including the coalition’s spokesman, Walid Buni, and Vice President Suhair Attasi, who then retracted her suspension a day later.
»Hitto is not known to be a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, but he is ideologically close to it. A Syrian close to Hitto told me that he is “100% supported and trusted by the Brotherhood.” His brother is a member who was jailed for many years, his acquaintance said, which is why Hitto fled Syria. The source located Hitto in terms of independence somewhere between Moaz al-Khatib, the coalition’s president who proved to be independent, and the Brotherhood. Hitto is one of very few opposition figures who were involved in groundwork inside Syria after the uprising, distributing aid to people in various areas. He is also well-spoken in both Arabic and English. But his appointment appears to be based on a key credential: his consistent rejection of dialogue with the regime, a policy advocated by the Muslim Brotherhood and its allies Qatar and Turkey.
There had been deep disagreements among the opposition about the formation of an interim government. Khatib had opposed it, saying the government would deepen divisions among forces on the ground. In a letter he sent to the coalition members, he wrote: “If members of the coalition cannot agree on one person to represent them, how can they expect that person to represent all Syrians?” Instead, Khatib said that an executive authority would be a better option for the time being, as countries can grant that authority access to resources and even embassies. The Arab League, in its latest meeting on March 7, asked the coalition to form an executive authority to allow it legally to take Syria’s seat.
»Disagreements involving the interim government are particularly worrying because an interim government, unlike previous entities that are supposed to represent the opposition outside the country, has to represent and organize the forces on the ground. Its ability to work with the various forces will hinge on its representativeness and legitimacy. It remains to be seen whether this is possible, and whether its cabinet will be inclusive. […]
»According to sources in the Syrian opposition, Qatar asked Mustafa Sabbagh, the coalition’s secretary-general, to ensure the appointment of Hitto. Mustafa Sabbagh, a businessman from Latakia working in Saudi Arabia, was appointed the coalition’s sectary-general in November after he showed up in Doha with 16 people claiming to represent provisional councils across the country. As it turned out, almost all the 16 people were either Sabbagh’s employees in Saudi Arabia or his relatives, some of whom had not visited Syria for decades. Sabbagh and the 16 coalition members met with the Brotherhood and told them to drop Kadi and vote for Hitto. Although the coalition had a secretary-general, there was neither a general secretariat nor any clear function for the post. Shortly after the coalition was formed, Sabbagh tried to assume executive powers — unsuccessfully, due to opposition from several prominent members. [...]
»The appointment has been a significant victory for the Brotherhood and its allies, restoring its control over the opposition after a period in which talks of dialogue threatened the group’s vision for regime change in Syria. The Brotherhood, along with Qatar and Turkey, hopes for a complete downfall of the regime to steer the transitional period and ensure its enduring control over the state. As US academic and Syria expert Joshua Landis pointed out, the move was partly aimed to kill Khatib’s initiative of dialogue with the regime.
“To this end, Hitto’s first words were that he would not negotiate with the Assad regime,” Landis wrote on his website, Syria Comment. This argument is further bolstered by the fact that neither Saudi Arabia, Jordan nor other key (Western) players were informed of Hitto’s appointment, according to a senior diplomat familiar with the process...»