A group of pro-Syrian regime hackers have hacked into the email account of Burhan Ghalioun (head of the SNC). This is not the first major hack of the ‘Electronic Syrian Army’ – previously they were successful in hacking the emails of Al-Jazeera’s staff.
These emails, likely authentic, establish the already known regarding the alliances of the SNC. Below are some highlights:
(1) Adulation for the Saudi monarchy – Salutations were sent to Prince Saud al-Faisal, Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister; below is an excerpt:
This compassion will remain in the memory and sentiments of the Syrian people. It will become an integral part of the history of Syria, sketching for it and the region a prosperous future based on freedom, tolerance, and national liberation.
This is nothing new, the SNC regularly releases statements that praise the visionary role of the Saudi monarchy and also actively participate in the monarchy’s propaganda campaign against Iran, often fabricating stories that are broadcast on different Saudi owned media outlets.
(2) No inhibitions regarding interviews with Israeli journalists, as shown from a reply to an email sent from an Israeli television journalist. Burhan Ghalioun, through a personal assistant, sends a message of encouragement to being interviewed by an Israeli channel but requests the interview be delayed, due to current commitments:
Professor Ghalioun thanks you for your letter. Due to time constraints and deadlines, it is difficult to conduct [the interview] at the moment but we will inform you of the suitable time without delay.
(3) Qatar as the main source of the SNC’s funding – The SNC owns a bank account in Qatar, through which millions are transferred for the various causes supported by the SNC.
(4) Close collaboration with the Obama regime, to the extent that one email sends advice on which Russian diplomats to meet. In one correspondence, to both Basma al-Qodmani and Burhan Ghalioun, Frederic C. Hof (Special Coordinator for Regional Affairs) recommends a Russian diplomat, solely on the basis that he may be more responsive to the US regional position.
(5) I previously noted on the SNC’s close ties with the Lebanese US backed March 14 coalition, this is further confirmed in an internal email that recommends sending a message of congratulations to Samir Ja’ Ja’, a notorious Phalange military commander during the Lebanese civil war, for allegedly escaping an assassination attempt orchestrated by the Syrian regime.
(5) Dissent regarding Basma al-Qudmani, due to a statement made on a possible immunity from prosecution, if Bashar al-Assad steps down and leaves Syria. Another issue highlighted was the embarrassment generated for the SNC, due to a circulation of her appearance on a French television programme (from 2009), where she declares the need for Israel in the region. The email registering the complaint was from Farouk Tayfour (deputy of the General Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood in Syria). Similar complaints were made by Yasser S’ad al-Deen, son of ‘Adnan S’ad al-Deen (former head of the Brotherhood); in an article he strongly critiques Basma Qodmani and here ‘defeatist personality’, for her views and general commitment to the Zionist project.
(6) Disquiet with Burhan Ghalioun’s leadership of the SNC, where some members request more transparency and accountability within the council. There is also a questioning of renewing Burhan Ghalioun’s leadership, as this sets precedent and questions the credibility of the SNC.
(7) Problems with Kurdish opposition factions and an insistence that no extra Kurdish demands will be met (this was after the withdrawal of the Kurdish National Council from the SNC). Instead, according to one email, “The Kurdish components must take a position and work to attract more Kurdish energies present on the ground”.
Finally, the emails demonstrate substantive differences within the council, even on its leadership. However, the emails do not uncover anything novel and the alliances of the SNC are already known, including its coordination with US imperialism.