4

Malek Abou El Kheir

December 5, 2013

"Lady of the Revolution" bows to criticism

Suheir al-Atassi, a leading secularist in the Syrian National Coalition, has resigned from her post

Facebook

Twitter

Google

Suheir al-Atassi

DAMASCUS, Syria – Suheir al-Atassi, the most prominent secular female activist in Syria, just resigned as head of the Syrian National Coalition’s Assistance Coordination Unit, which is tasked with delivering humanitarian aid to civilians inside the war-torn country.

 

Last week, 25 employees within the Coalition’s Assistance Coordination Unit issued a statement and went on strike, calling for major reforms in order to address “the spread of corruption within the unit and [to] put an end to favoritism.” Critics say Atassi ran the unit with a mixture of favoritism and patronage, choosing only to dole out aid to her supporters.

 

The statement called on Atassi to end what it called her “double-standards policy” of deducting salaries of dissenting employees, and to stop altering paid leaves of employees attending training sessions that are meant to further the unit’s humanitarian mission.

 

The statement also chastised Atassi for “tampering” with incoming resumes, noting instances where qualified candidate files were neglected – whether intentionally or unintentionally – after submitting applications.

 

One of the statement’s authors spoke to NOW on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal by the unit’s administration, saying that there are many questions regarding Atassi’s performance. “Suheir is assisted by an unprofessional team that is wholly unconnected with the job. This team was chosen based on favoritism and buying of personal loyalties, thus negatively impacting [its] methods of action. Some are giving it everything they have, whereas others are not working and even delaying action, with their presence only dependent on demonstrating loyalty to her.”

 

According to the same source, many have questioned how the unit under Atassi’s helm has been delivering vital aid. One frequently-cited example was the decision to provide $10,000 to a group leading a “hunger strike” campaign outside Syria, even as those in the country are in most need of funds. “Local councils in Syria are getting support and loyalties are being bought under the table, and this goes against the interests of [the opposition’s] actions, thus hampering the delivery of much-needed aid to the Syrian people in the Syrian hinterland,” the source added.

 

Another point of contention is Atassi’s appointment of Adnan Doubi, whose position within the unit remained unclear even as he moved from one post to another. Doubi was, for a while, the unit’s donor relations director. But after proving unfit for the job, said the statement’s authors, he was placed at the helm of the restructuring project. Afterwards, he was appointed as director of the unit’s computerization initiative. Doubi is currently working in the office without an official title.

 

The statement calls for an official investigation, which will include a thorough examination of all employee and compensation lists. It also called for clarity regarding the reasons for deducting some employee salaries, more transparency in the hiring process, as well as greater definition of the rules regarding paid leave.

 

Atassi’s Assistance Coordination Unit responded to the strike by labeling it as a “foreign conspiracy,” sending e-mails to all employees on strike, calling on them to resume work immediately so their demands could be discussed unconditionally. One of the emails, of which NOW has obtained a copy, reads: “Based on the job contract you signed with the unit, we ask you to resume work immediately as per the binding obligations of the contract. All points mentioned in the statement would be discussed unconditionally. Should you persist in your unjustified absence, adequate measures shall be adopted in keeping with the regulatory contract.”

 

Yet, Atassi ultimately relented and submitted her resignation to the Syrian National Coalition in what was interpreted as a response to the campaign against her leadership. But despite Atassi’s resignation, some activists and employees within the Assistance Coordination Unit continue to call for an independent investigation into the substance of the strikers’ statement, insisting that her resignation does not mean she should not be held accountable if she is found to be at fault.

 

Nevertheless, Atassi argued that the Assistance Coordination Unit is an international organization and is consequently not affiliated in administrative or organizational terms to the Syrian National Coalition. Rather, donor countries – including the United Kingdom – “are entitled to remove any of [the Unit’s] employees from office,” which means in practice that she has resigned from the Coalition, albeit not from chairing the Assistance Coordination Unit. 

 

This article is a translation from the original Arabic.

Facebook

Twitter

Google

Vlad Tepes

Doesn't really sound that corrupt. Maybe a little bit of poor judgement and loyalty to some and not to others. It looks like she has really big books though. So that's cool. What the he'll is Hanibaal talking about? Dude, wrong article. This is about a lady who runs the humanitarian program, not the ministry of war.

Hanibaal-Atheos

...and this is one of the pillars of the "secular" FSA and Coalition? These people are all former Baathists, trained and reared in the Assad school of brutality, corruption, and favoritism for decades. How can you expect people like this to lead Syria? Those who are telling us that these people are better than the Jihadists of AN-Nusra.... you're gonna have to do better to convince us that the Syrian cesspool is worth one western boot on the ground or one drop of western blood. Just look next door in Iraq: The Americans are gone. The Baathists were supposedly eliminated. What do you have today instead of Saddam? A Shiite dictatorship brutalizing the Sunnis; the Sunnis are engaged in a campaign of terror and bombings against Shiites; and the Kurds have washed their hands from Arab filth and are running their own affairs. Yeah! An American intervention or massive American aid to the Syrian "rebels" will certainly tip the balance against the Assad dictatorship and in favor of an equally corrupt and brutal Sunni dictatorship. Thank God for President Obama who sees clearly what the stakes are and has chosen what is good for his country and his people. If the hypocrite Europeans want to help the rebellion, let them go ahead and do it. No one is preventing them. The Syrian civil war must go on for another 30 years in order for the Syrian population to learn the lessons of history, by paying the price themselves. How do you think Europe became civilized? It took 1,000 years of brutality, religious wars, revolutions, invasions and counter-invasions, with millions and millions of dead and maimed: It is only 60 years ago that World War II ended; If Europe is relatively at peace today, it is because they all paid the price, without anyone's assistance. The Arab and Islamic world must go through its own ordeals before it learns the benefits of democracy.

Vlad Tepes

I still think you went way off on a tangent and a bit of a rant, but that's cool. She's probably just jealous of Mrs. Assad so she's going off. What woman wouldn't want to be Asma. She is a great queen. Looks awesome for a woman her age. I like chicks who are more older and experienced.

Hanibaal-Atheos

FENRIRI: I quote the report above that you obviously did not read because you were focused on her "books": Suheir al-Atassi, the most prominent secular female activist in Syria, just resigned as head of the Syrian National Coalition’s Assistance Coordination Unit". In other word, she is a leading member of the opposition and could become a minister if said coalition wins. Perhaps you should stick to surfing porn sites and looking for "big books" rather than make stupid comments.

Login