Saturday, November 12, 2011

Arab League Gets Tough With Syria As Assad Continues Brutal Suppression of Protesters

The Arab League has fumbled quite a bit when dealing with the uprisings that have swept through the Middle East from Tunisia and Egypt and Syria.

After first attempting to negotiate with the Syrian regime of Bashar al Assad that ended in Assad completely ignoring all calls to stop using military force, the Arab League has now called on its member states to withdraw its diplomats from Damascus and impose sanctions on Syria.
The Arab League said Saturday that it would impose economic and political sanctions against Syria and called on member states withdraw their ambassadors from the country over its failure to implement a peace plan.

At an emergency session of the League in Cairo, member states also voted to suspend Syria from all its meetings.

Qatar's foreign minister said the suspension would begin Wednesday and he called on the Syrian army to stop the violence against civilians.

He said 18 countries agreed to Saturday's decision, while Lebanon, Yemen and Syria voted against it and Iraq abstained.

The U.N. estimates some 3,500 people have been killed in the Syrian crackdown since the uprising began eight months ago, inspired by the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia.
In case you're wondering, Iran isn't a member state (which is why it wasn't included in the vote - and would have likely opposed in any event), but it's not surprising that Lebanon and Syria voted against the measure along with Yemen.

Assad's brutal crackdown has actually accelerated since the Arab League attempted to broker a ceasefire. In the past 10 days, 250 Syrians have been murdered - the overwhelming majority being civilians although there is an increasing percentage of armed opposition. The armed opposition includes military members who have broken with the regime.

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