Ayad Koudsi, who was chairman of the steering committee of the Syria Recovery Trust Fund while serving as SIG's interim deputy prime minister, told VICE News that although the nations that contributed to the fund politically recognize the opposition government, "they still did not want to directly fund a government in exile which did not have a seat at the United Nations." Accordingly, the trust fund's charter prohibits its use for salaries.
The financial crisis at SIG has essentially gone unanswered by its Western allies, bringing into relief the perception that the US does not fully back the Syrian opposition politically or militarily.
While Western funders kept their distance from the SIG, Qatar stepped in with flexible funding in January 2014 that the SIG could use for salaries as well as projects. But Qatar's largesse and closeness to Interim Prime Minister Ahmeh Tomeh inflamed tensions with Saudi Arabia, another major backer of the opposition and a rival of Qatar.The National Coalition voted to force out Tomeh's government last July for its poor record, only to reinstate him in a partial vote in October after competing factions couldn't agree. Saudi-aligned members and other dissenters abstained. Qatar reportedly threatened to withdraw support from the coalition if Tomeh wasn't re-elected.The re-election sparked a walkout by some 35 voting members of the coalition in protest of Tomeh's leadership as well as his allegiance to a Muslim Brotherhood voter block. Recriminations about Saudi meddling have also circulated. Amid the dysfunction, the fact that National Coalition members were appointed rather than elected to office by a popular vote and their inability to move their leadership inside of Syria led many Syrians to argue that they are not truly representative of the people.SIG Interim Deputy Prime Minister Otham said that Tomeh is currently in Qatar, where the emir is considering making an additional grant of $25 million to the government. Dr. Hisham Marwah, vice president of the National Coalition, told VICE News that the four-month funding gap is the result of the SIG's prior management challenges, adding that these issues are now rectified. Qatar is currently auditing the SIG's spending.
Although the Muslim Brotherhood's presence in Syria was small before the war relative to other countries, it has gained strength in the contest for influence that ensued since the conflict began.