Syrian interim Prime Minister Ahmad Tu’mah could face a “no confidence” vote after his decision to dismantle the rebel Supreme Military Council was overturned by the Syrian National Coalition leader Ahmed Al-Jarba on Friday.
Tu’mah, who heads the Syrian opposition government, unilaterally announced the dissolution of the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) last week over graft allegations. However, Jarba, head of the main Syrian opposition coalition, overturned this decision on Friday, asserting that this did not fall under the purview of the interim government.
The Supreme Military Council is the ruling body of the FSA—the armed wing of the Syrian National Coalition that is headed by Jarba.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, the southern area representative of the Supreme Military Council, Abu Ahmed Al-Assimi, threatened to call a “no confidence” vote against Tu’mah.
“I have the support of 15 members of the Syrian National Coalition, enough to propose a withdrawal of confidence from Prime Minister Tu’mah,” Assimi said, adding that he expected the majority of members of the main opposition umbrella group to back the move.
“Tu’mah is an emotional person who takes his problems with his rivals personally,” Assimi said.
The Syrian National Coalition issued a statement on Friday affirming that the Tu’mah government does not have the authority to issue any decisions about the FSA’s Military Council. The Coalition added that it would seek to discuss Tu’mah’s actions at its next meeting and take the “appropriate measures” against him.
A senior Syrian National Coalition member, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, said: “Jarba will not stop at reversing the decision to dissolve the Military Council; he will also work on gathering enough support to withdraw confidence from interim Prime Minister Ahmad Tu’mah.”
According to the Coalition’s Rules of Procedure, the withdrawal of confidence requires the support of half plus one of the 121 members of the General Assembly.
Syrian interim government spokesperson Kannan Mohammed dismissed the idea that Tu’mah’s opponents within the Syrian National Coalition would be able to secure enough votes to withdraw confidence from him. Mohammed told Asharq Al-Awsat that Tu’mah had taken the decision to dissolve the Military Council due to its inability to influence its own fighters. “Most of them [Military Council members] live in Turkey and have no effectiveness on the ground,” Mohammed said.
The disagreements between Tu’mah and Jarba revolve over differences of opinion regarding the administration of opposition military affairs.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, prominent Syrian National Coalition figure Michel Kilo stressed that the Syrian opposition must avoid further disagreements between its internal organizations. He said: “The powers of each party must be clearly identified so there is no further confusion,” adding that “this task had been assigned to the legal committee of the Coalition, but it failed to achieve any progress due to each side’s insistence on securing their own position at the expense of the other.”