Sunday 17 March 2013

Osama Kadi, Syria’s likely interim premier

Osama Kadi (top). Right, with UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Farah Atassi

A man for all seasons seems the one to beat in the election of Syria’s provisional prime minister at the two-day meeting of the main Syrian opposition coalition starting tomorrow in Istanbul.
His name is Osama Kadi.
An Aleppo native, he has lived, studied and worked, as an economics consultant, in Syria, Canada and the United States.
He now leads the Syrian opposition taskforce drawing up plans for post-war economic recovery
To boot, he is a theater director.
Kadi is a member of the Syrian National Council (SNC), the largest component of the Syrian National Coalition of Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (SNA) headed by Moaz al-Khatib.
Two previous SNA attempts to name an interim prime minister were postponed over seemingly intractable differences. Consensus has been building as the Syria war enters its third year.
French President François Hollande first floated the idea of an interim government, which would help administer the large swaths of land in the north and northeast the rebels have seized, in August 2012.
Hollande at that time told French ambassadors in an annual foreign policy speech, “France asks the Syrian opposition to form a provisional government — inclusive and representative — that can become the legitimate representative of the new Syria.”
The Council of Arab Foreign Ministers picked up the baton earlier this month with a resolution urging the SNA to form an “executive body” to take up Syria's vacant seat at the Arab League and represent Syria at the upcoming Arab summit in Doha.
The SNA announced overnight on its Internet page the names of nine nominees for prime minister. It separately said on its Facebook page it was keeping secret the names of two other nominees for their own safety since they still live in Syria.
Frontrunner Kadi is:

Kadi did economics consultancy work for the Syrian Agency for Combating Unemployment and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Syria.
Stateside, he taught macro- and microeconomics at the Dearborn campus of the University of Michigan and business management at Baker College of Allen ParkHis paper “Who Reaps the Benefits of peace in the Middle East” was presented at the 1994 MESA (Middle East Studies Association) conference in Washington.
He has also written innumerable articles and papers on economics and politics for Syrian, Arab and international journals.
The London-based Strategic Research & Communication Centre published his 2011 study titled “Syrian Industry and the Problem of the Executive” on the eve of the Syrian revolt.
Kadi is on the active membership rolls of the:
  • American Economic Association (AEA)
  • Syrian Economic Science Association (SESA)
  • Middle East Studies Association (MESA)
  • Middle East Economic Association (MEEA)
  • Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Academy of Political Science (APS)
  • Western Economic Association
  • American Sociological Association
  • American Association of University Professors (AAUP)
  • United Nations Association in Washington DC
  • Canadian Association of Journalists

Stage director Kadi in action
Going back to “a man for all seasons,” Kadi is a theater actor and director in his spare time.
He co-founded the Risala Theatrical Group RTG in Canada, performed on stage there and in the United States.
The last theater production he directed in September 2011 – “Abu Sultan’s Family” – showcases the life of a Middle East family that immigrates to Canada in pursuit of a better life.