Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Three questions on Syria for Marwan Bishara

Our senior political analyst answers three questions on the crisis in Syria and the Arab League's possible role.

Marwan Bishara

"Why has Syria called for an emergency summit of the Arab League?

....First, Arab public opinion is more present and more potent than ever before. Arab leaders can no longer ignore the mass killing of Arab citizens.

Second, the situation in Syria is spiralling out of control and could bring down the region with it. Although President Assad’s threat of an "earthquake" is a sign of desperation, such a calamity is bad news for all.....

You say a "fatal crossroads". Why is this moment "fatal"?

It is because the country is at the verge of sliding towards a full-fledged civil war, with terrible consequences for its people and national unity.....

Could foreign intervention and attempts to protect the Syrian population as claimed by Nabil al-Arabi, the Arab League's secretary-general, further inflame the situation in Syria and the region?

There is no doubt that the situation is precarious and any sort of intervention, direct or otherwise, could indeed lead to further escalation.

That is why the decisions of the Arab League should not pave the way towards a United Nations Security Council resolution authorising foreign military intervention on the Libyan model....

This is why it behooves the Arabs as a whole to insist on resolving their problems locally or regionally within the Arab fold when possible. The public pressure would need to mount in order to find Arab solutions to Arab problems. Intervention from the outside, notably military intervention, could only lead to further suffering, break up and chaos.

Further Arab isolation of the Syrian government coupled with domestic pressure and their insistence that the Syrian government fully implements the Arab initiative and paves the way towards a transition of power might be challenging, but remains the least harmful and most constructive way forward."

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