with additional research by Brian Milne
The Syrian National Council (SNC) has emerged as the leading political force in the effort to unseat the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It has the widest degree of representation of any of the existing political opposition forces and has received the most widespread international recognition. Yet from the outset it has been plagued by divisions, infighting, manipulation by various factions, and significant errors of judgment. To date the SNC almost certainly remains an indispensable aspect of the Syrian uprising, and by far the most likely (and indeed the only plausible) structure around which a political alternative can begin to coalesce. However, unless the serious flaws within the SNC are addressed quickly and effectively, it may fail to live up to this potential and, in turn, could deal a fatal blow to the uprising itself.