The Syrian opposition has developed a plan for a new leadership council that will be formally introduced during an upcoming meeting in Qatar. The council, known as the Syrian National Initiative, aims to incorporate all factions of the Syrian opposition, moving beyond the long-dominant Syrian National Council.

Also known as the "Riad Seif plan", Syrian National Initiative was published in Arabic on November 1, 2012. This translation was prepared by Carnegie.

The Syrian National Initiative Plan

In light of the difficult conditions that our country, our great people, and their glorious revolution are going through, it is time for revolutionary and political opposition factions to unite under one leadership framework to end Syrians’ suffering and transition Syria to a democratic, civil, pluralistic, strong, and stable state.

This leadership framework will represent the revolution and its goals and will work to tip the balance of power in favor of the forces working to bring down the Assad regime.

A Unifying Political Leadership

The current situation impresses upon us the need to form a leadership framework that will bring together all revolutionary and opposition forces. Syria is in desperate need of strong leadership that is cooperative and inclusive, a leadership that responds to the needs of the revolution and our steadfast people. Establishing such a framework will ensure that the new leadership enjoys the broad support of the Syrian people and thus has the legitimacy to be recognized as their representative.

We thus plan to form a broad, democratic, and inclusive political leadership to be called the Syrian National Initiative (SNI) and that will be based on the Cairo conference documents that the Syrian opposition agreed to in July 2012. The SNI will support the internal opposition and communicate with it and will be active on regional and international fronts.

The SNI also guarantees that there will be no political vacuum following the regime’s removal from power.

The recognition of this responsibility by all Syrian opposition factions will allow the SNI to work toward realizing the following goals:

  1. Preserving the national sovereignty and independence of Syrian decisions
  2. Preserving the nation’s geographic unity
  3. Preserving the people’s unity
  4. Emphasizing that the process of devising a political solution can only begin after Bashar al-Assad and the symbols of his regime are brought down and those responsible for the spilling of Syrian blood are brought to trial
  5. Emphasizing the importance of establishing a civil, pluralistic, and democratic Syria

The Syrian National Initiative will also work to:

  1. Establish a fund to support the Syrian people
  2. Support the Free Syrian Army
  3. Administer liberated territories
  4. Plan for the transitional period
  5. Secure international recognition

To this end, all factions of the Syrian political opposition, representatives of the Free Syrian Army, military councils, revolutionary forces, local councils, and national figures from the provinces will be invited to participate in this proposed initiative and set up the following four bodies:

  1. The Initiative Body (which will include representatives from political groups, local councils, and revolutionary forces as well as national figures)
  2. A Supreme Military Council (which will include representatives from the military councils and the brigades)
  3. A Judicial Committee
  4. A transitional government (which will be made up of technocrats)

The proposed project will be discussed in Doha on November 8 in order to arrive at the best possible framework to finalize the project.