The National Coalition was established in late 2012, to be a substitute for the Syrian National Council, which sank in its ineptitude a year after it was founded.
Regional and international powers played a key role in the formation of the National Council in cooperation with figures from the Syrian opposition, most whom lacked connections and relevance inside Syria. And although it self-assigned the task of leading the opposition and the Syrian revolution against Assad's regime, the Council failed.
The mistakes committed during the establishment of the National Council were repeated during the formation of the Coalition. A new body for the opposition was founded, consisting of around 60 members – a third of whom were reappointed from the National Council. The rest were selected according to criteria previously applied for selection of the Council, leading to the first problem: the nature of its members and their links to the Syrian reality, the revolution and the opposition.
The first mistake was followed by a second, represented in the complex texts of the internal regulations of the Coalition. These regulations formed an obstacle in front of any change to the mechanisms of the National Coalition, linking them to the approval of a two-thirds majority from its members.
This likelihood of approval was not possible in light of the knotty alliances formed by the membership process, even under extreme circumstances, leading to the rejection of its expansion in 2013 – a goal some members sought in order to save the Coalition from itself.
Yet, the most significant problem the National Coalition faced was in relation to regional and international powers – who played a key role in its establishment.
A number of these powers sought to strengthen their influence on the Coalition (as the self-proclaimed legitimate representative of the Syrian people), although these same powers failed to offer financial and political support. These powers also failed to assist the Coalition in coping with its problematic membership structure,
Despite the regional and international dereliction of the Coalition and the marginalization of the Syrian issue, the Coalition sought again and again to rise above it problems. But success has been difficult in light of developments of the Syrian issue, specifically, the increase in violence and terrorism of the regime and extremist groups, namely ISIS, leading to the death and displacement of countless more Syrians.
If the Coalition has managed to maintain its existence until now, it is expected to work to solve its problems and inflexible conditions, and play its proper role in the struggle of Syrians who rebelled for freedom, justice and equality.
Despite all the difficulties, this goal is still possible, if Syrians – inside the Coalition or in other opposition bodies – still hold the will to play such a role.
This is the main challenge facing Syrians today.