Syria’s new opposition leader
Better than the one before?
A different man faces the same problems
Jul 13th 2013 | CAIRO |From the print edition
Jarba’s turn at the top
SYRIANS can be forgiven for paying scant attention to the inauguration on July 6th of a new president of the Syrian National Coalition, the political opposition’s umbrella group in exile. The new man, Ahmed Jarba, is a leader of the powerful Shammar tribe, which has branches in Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. A former political prisoner, he hails from the north-eastern Syrian town of Hasaka.
叙利亚反对派的流亡伞状组织——叙利亚全国联盟——在七月六日迎来了一位新主席，而这场就职典礼却未成为叙利亚人关注的焦点。但这也情有可原。新任主席为艾哈迈德·贾尔巴（Ahmed Jarba），他是强大的舍麦尔部族（Shammar tribe）的首领，此部族势力强大，一直延伸至叙利亚、伊拉克以及沙特阿拉伯。他出生于叙利亚东北部的哈塞克镇（Hasaka），曾经是一名政治犯。
He is a respected figure. Yet there is little reason to believe he will wield more influence than his predecessor, Moaz al-Khatib, a prominent Damascus cleric. The rivalry of the coalition’s two main Arab backers, Saudi Arabia, which is close to Mr Jarba, and Qatar, whose preferred candidate narrowly lost the election, has long hamstrung the opposition. Two days after Mr Jarba’s election, Ghassan Hitto, a protégé of Qatar who had been appointed as an interim prime minister in March, resigned, citing his failure to form a government in exile.
他确实受人尊敬，然而目前仍无法确信他的影响力会超过他的前任——备受尊崇的大马士革传教士Moaz al-Khatib。沙特阿拉伯和卡塔尔是联盟中主要的阿拉伯国家支持者，而沙特与贾尔巴走的更近，卡塔尔的意向候选人则在大选中惜败。这两个国家长期以来的竞争是削弱反对派的重要原因。贾尔巴赢得大选两天后，卡塔尔的门生Ghassan Hitto宣布辞职，理由是他未能成功组建一个流亡政府。他在今年三月被任命为临时首相。
Mr Jarba may persuade Saudi Arabia to provide more humanitarian aid but, in view of Western anxiety over the increasing number of extremists in rebel-held parts of Syria, he is unlikely soon to secure advanced weapons to take on President Bashar Assad’s forces. Mr Assad’s tightening grip over the most populous cities along a north-south axis in Syria’s west has dimmed the prospects, always faint, of peace talks that were said to be in the offing in Geneva.
Meanwhile, the fighting opposition inside Syria is growing ever more fractious. Two rebels were reported to have been beheaded recently in Dana, a town in Idleb, a north-western province that is mainly in rebel hands, after they clashed with fighters from a rival group calling itself the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (“Greater Syria” in Arabic), which is tied to al-Qaeda. The group has been trying to make inroads into areas in the north that are held by more secular rebels. Mr Jarba has a tough task ahead.