By Kevin Bogardus - 04/11/13 05:41 PM EDT
Independent Diplomat is not a typical influence industry firm; founded by former British diplomat Carne Ross, it’s a nonprofit group with offices in Brussels, London and New York that often accepts work from law firms and universities on a pro-bono basis. Past clients have included the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
In the contract with the Syrian opposition, it was agreed that the rebels would look for donors to help to pay for Independent Diplomat’s representation.
“The Client shall, in consideration of the Services provided by [Independent Diplomat], and with a view to covering [Independent Diplomat’s] full costs in providing Services for the Term of the Agreement, agree to work cooperatively with [Independent Diplomat] to identify and pursue project funding from a variety of sources, including by making representatives available, as appropriate, for the presentation of funding proposals to potential donors.”
The firm bills itself as a neutral party that wants to assist “in the prevention and resolution of conflict.”
Independent Diplomat “does not in any way seek to get involved in political activity or to produce specific political outcomes but to assist its clients in seeking peaceful resolution to their needs,” according to Justice records.
The Syrian civil war has raged on for two years now as Western leaders have pushed Assad to step down.
Secretary of State John Kerry met with Syrian opposition leaders in a working lunch with British Foreign Secretary William Hague this week. He suggested during his foreign travels that more U.S. aid could be coming to the rebels.