US DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Bureau for Near Eastern Affairs (NEA)
Office of Middle East Partnership Initiatives (MEPI)
Syria Democracy Program Announcement
“I. Funding Opportunity Description: The Office of the Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) announces an open competition for grant applications that support democratic governance and reform in Syria.”
Also in 2005
The Council on Foreign Relations formed the Arab Reform Initiative
Bassma Kodmani is a co-founder of the Arab Reform Initiative and serves as its Executive Director since 2005.
In 2011, she took a temporary leave from the Arab Reform Initiative to take on a mission as Head of Foreign Relations and spokesperson with the Syrian National Council, the opposition coalition seeking democratic change in Syria
The Muslim Brotherhood is commonly assumed to be the most powerful and organized force within the Syrian opposition. Nearly eight months after protests began in Syria, the Brotherhood helped co-found the Syrian National Council, of which it is now the main component.
She serves on the Advisory Boards of the European Council on Foreign Relations, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Middle East Center and International IDEA in Stockholm.
She was awarded the Légion d’Honneur of France as Chevalier in 2012, and the Raymond Georis Prize for Innovative Philanthropy in 2011 for her role in developing the Arab Reform Initiative and promoting democracy in the wake of the Arab Spring.
Bassma Kodmani spoke to Stephen Sackur In an interview with BBC hard talk
(you may need to download BBC I player to view it)
she stated that most of the funding had gone to “the radicals”
Some excerpts from the transcript
“The Americans committed $500 million to a training programme
for quote-unquote moderate fighters.
Most of that money was siphoned off, was lost.
And those fighters who were trained were put into theatre in Syria,
most of them either ran away or gave up both themselves
and their weaponry to the Nusra Front, and the Americans
have washed their hands on it, and said, these moderates,
they are totally incompetent and unreliable.
The programme from the start was ill-conceived, and there was no
political will to implement it.
The money was not spent on the rebels.
Had it been spent, I assure you, it would have been a very,
very different result.
Is that not your fault?
The Division 30 men who were put on the ground, we now know,
on the record, gave most of their weaponry to the local
commanders of the Nusra Front, a group that is associated with Al
That is why it is that it was most important to organise the people,
provide salaries to the fighters.
And then you would have an army.
You would have soldiers.
You have people committed to their units.
That never happened.
The selection process was ill-conceived, the definition
of the criteria for vetting were not there.
Nothing was properly done in this process.
It was so disappointing.
Do you not take any responsibility on the part of the Free Syrian Army,
the moderate various different groupings of locally-based forces
whom you claim to be associated with?
There is an incoherence to the so-called moderation
opposition which has hamstrung your movement
from the very beginning.
The groups were really determined to fight,
and they continue to be determined to fight,
but they were left for a very long time with no alternative.
The money was going to groups which were radical.
When they still wanted to fight, they found money and arms in groups
that were radical.”
General Michael Flynn in an interview with Mehdi Hasan discussing a
released under freedom of information act that stated “there is a possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared salafist principality in eastern syria and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want ,in order to isolate the syrian regime”