Is the Arab League Impotent?

Much has been written about Syria and the Arab League handling of the on-going crisis, but to this bystander it comes as no surprise that they seem powerless to stop the killing of innocent civilians by government forces. There can be little doubt that President Assad is tremendously unpopular in Syria and the people hoped for a new beginning much as happened in Tunisia and Egypt. It has become clear that Assad is made of sterner stuff than Ben Ali or Mubarak, for it is obvious he will not give up his hold on power without a fight.

A Young Girl Casualty

When the first rumblings occurred some ten months ago, Assad sent his bully-boys out on to the streets to quell the unrest but since then things have escalated out of all proportion as the opposition refused to give up. To date it is estimated that more than five thousand people have been killed in Syria by government forces and the number continues to rise despite the best efforts of the international community to stop it.

They Who Have Eyes And Yet Cannot See

After months of wrangling, the League decided to send in observers, but as we now know, their presence was completely ignored and the killing continued. Despite all the assurances given by Assad to the League, and all the promises to end the violence, it goes on day after day. Now the League is sending the monitors back for a further month, although Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who are regional rivals to Syria have said they would like to see Arab peacekeeping troops in Syria. Many seem content for the observer mission to continue and some want UN intervention, but as usual, politics gets in the way.

Army Fired on Demonstrators in Front of the Monitors

I, like most people, want the killing to stop and a just settlement to be reached, but I don’t think the UN is the answer, except as a last resort. It is after all an Arab problem and they should solve it themselves. If the UN steps in, it will be countries like the USA, Britain, Germany, France, Canada etc. that will have to shoulder most of the load in any UN action as usual. This fact alone will be sufficient to raise the hackles of the majority of Muslims as they see this as another ‘Infidel’ interference in Arab affairs. In short, this will go some way to enhancing the terrorist cause in some people’s eyes.

Protest Banner Plea to the UN

So now we must wait and see if the monitors can stop the violence on their second try, though I don’t think we will see much change. Having the observers in the country will be nothing more than a ‘face-saving’ gesture by the League and will certainly give Assad more time to remove his opponents. Those fighting in the streets of Syrian towns and cities must surely be ready to give up on international intervention to stop the killing, for it is certain the Arab League observers have not been able to. It is the people who have made desperate appeals to the League for the UN to intervene, which of course has fallen on deaf ears. It is certain that without the approval of the Arab League the UN can do nothing.

Hmm! What Can I Promise the League Next to Keep Them Off My Back?

Many Western nations have shown their disapproval of Assad’s actions by placing sanctions on Syria but these alone will have little effect on the crisis. It is for sure they will not be able to take any positive action without UN and Arab League approval, and must stand on the sidelines awaiting developments. In my view, the best option all round is for the Saudi/Qatar solution to be implemented as soon as possible, for it is an Arab problem which should be solved by Arab countries. It is a tricky situation with little or no hope of an answer until the League decides on what to do further.  

Roy.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: