Whither Syria?

Where is Syria heading? (Some answers include a civil war, economic meltdown, or stalemate, albeit with defections.)  A recent Frontline special offers chilling insights into what protesters face from the brutal and consistent government crackdown.

Now the Arab League weighs in:

Arab governments, seeking to reflect popular demand for democratic change, are trying to address the issue without prompting the violent downfall of the Syrian government or international military action, analysts said.

“They all want to appear democratic, proactive and standing up for people because they are so embattled at home,” said Paul Salem, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, Lebanon.

via Arab League Suspends Syria Over Its Crackdown – NYTimes.com.

The Long War Journal offers this helpful list of the key players.


3 thoughts on “Whither Syria?”

  1. Remember, during the midterm, when a large group of middle eastern countries drafted a resolution that called on the Arab league to act as mediator in this crisis? It appears that MUN resolution is failing: If Syria does not enter peace negotiations and its membership is suspended, which appears likely, Syria would have no reason to interact with the Arab League. At that point, the next step is to find an entity that could help deal with the crisis.

    The OIC is a possibility. The OIC has pledged its willingness to do whatever it can to find a solution. See http://www.oic-oci.org/topic_detail.asp?t_id=5829&x_key=syria. However, it has also condemned any foreign intervention in the matter, which may weaken its position as mediator. Moreover, it is in a similar position as the Arab League as a regional group with similar members and similar powers. Could the OIC be a more successful Arab League in this situation, is it time for the UN or some other foreign entity to step in, or should Syria be left to work out its own problems?

  2. I recognize that in the last week there have been several developments to lead one to believe that the Arab League is losing its teeth on the Syria issue. It is true that Assad continues to violate the terms of the prior agreement, and seem to continue to do whatever it takes to assert their control. I do, however, wish to disagree with the previous post that the Arab League has failed and that control should be given to a different organization or entity.
    I think it is a positive thing that the actions of the Arab League have Syria hooting and hollering. As is noted in the posted article, the Syrian regime is denouncing the Arab League’s decision to revoke Syria’s membership as a “Western” ploy. Syria can yell about that all they want, and the more they do, the more apparent it is that they recognize themselves they really have no excuse. This was an action taken by their Arab friends: a denunciation from nations that profess to have similar ideas, beliefs, and objectives as Syria. That is what makes the Arab League’s leadership a “game changer,” as one recent CNN article opined.
    Syria is going to continue to resist and push back on international demands. Successful reform will not be an easy affair. But peaceful and successful reforms are more likely to occur when other Arab nations are leading the charge. Syria may holler it is a western fabrication, but they are left with the stark reality that they are no longer the “beating heart of Arabism.”


  3. I agree with the last post. Although Assad has reneged on his agreement with the Arab League, this does not mean that the Arab League is useless. Allowing the Arab League to spearhead direct dealings with Assad creates a situation wherein they feel the brunt of this betrayal. This isolates Syria from its closest friends and allies, which can only serve U.S. interests and gain it more friends. However, if we were to replace the Arab League with some other entity, they would be less willing to criticize Assad because of embarrassment or disillusionment with Western powers. Either the Arab League will talk Assad down or he will become so unreasonable that the League will have no choice but to side with the West and denounce Assad. It’s a win-win.

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