Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib announced his resignation as National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces chief on Sunday, but there are conflicting reports over who wanted him out and whether or not he'll end up leaving in the end.
"I announce my resignation from the National Coalition, so that I can work with a freedom that cannot possibly be had in an official institution," Khatib wrote on his Facebook page Sunday. His resignation comes at a crucial time for the opposition: they're meeting with the heads of other Arab countries in Qatar two days to see if they'll accept the rebels as Syrian's official representation in the Arab League.
"I had promised the great Syrian people and promised God that I would resign if matters reached some red lines," Alkhatib wrote, but he never outlined what those red lines were.
Reuters makes the case that Qatar, coincidently enough, was the main reason Alkhatib decided to resign. Alkhatib objected to the election of Ghassan Hitto as the rebels' official Prime Minister earlier this week. Alkhatib doesn't believe the rebels are ready for a naturalized government. He reportedly accused Qatar of imposing Hitto and attempting to control the opposition forces.
But the AFP reports that Qatar's prime minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem Al-Thani told local media he wants Alkhatib to reconsider his resignation. "We are very sorry for this, and I hope he reviews his resignation," the minister said.
The other thing to consider is that the Coalition's presidential office nor the general assembly have accepted Khatib's resignation yet. They very well may not, at least not until the end of the meetings in Qatar. People on the inside seem to be lobbying him to stick around, though it's unclear if it's for the short term or long term. "Some Coalition members have asked Khatib to return to his post," someone from the opposition told AFP.
So Alkhatib picked an ideal time to resign if he wants to regain control of his party. Getting a spot in the Arab league would greatly help their cause, but the headlines saying the group is in "disarray" spreading right now certainly won't. If he decides to stay in the end, it will signal some kind of stability and restore some kind of order, which only makes him look more important and crucial to the opposition's development.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.