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The Arab League, ON Saturday 11/12/2011, has given Syria three days to end its violent crackdown on protesters demanding President Bashar Assad’s resignation or face suspension from the regional body.


In a statement read in Cairo on Saturday by Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, the Qatari prime minister, the league said it would “suspend Syrian delegations’ activities in Arab League meetings” and implement “economic and political sanctions against the Syrian government”.


The Arab League also called on its member states to withdraw their ambassadors from Damascus and threatened to recognise the Syrian National Council (SNC), a broad-based opposition group, if Syria does not implement an Arab peace deal that it previously agreed to.


Sheikh Hamad said that the suspension would take effect on November 16; and that 19 member countries voted in favour of the measure, while Lebanon and Yemen objected and Iraq abstained.


The decision, which came after a meeting of Arab ministers, does not amount to a full suspension of membership from the regional body. The Arab League could have imposed immediate sanctions or suspended Syria outright, but surprisingly did not do that but wanted to send a very strong message to Syria.


Meanwhile, Syria denounced the Arab League’s decision as “illegal and a violation of the organisation’s charter”. Youssef Ahmad, Syria’s ambassador to the Arab League, told Syrian state television the decision “is an announcement of the death for joint Arab action, and a scandalous declaration that the leadership of such action is subject to American-western agendas” (see also – Bashar’s Warning). Ahmad also said that Syria had already implemented the Arab League’s peace plan, but was threatened with suspension anyway. However, since then, security forces have killed more than 100 people in the central city of Homs, the New York-based Human Rights Watch – HRW said in a report issued on Friday 11/11/2011.


According to the UN, the Syrian government’s crackdown on anti-government protesters has left more than 3,500 people dead since public dissent against President Assad’s rule erupted in mid-March 2011 (see – SYRIAN 2011 UNREST).


Barack Obama, the US president, welcomed the move from the Arab League.

“These significant steps expose the increasing diplomatic isolation of a regime that has systematically violated human rights and repressed peaceful protests,” Obama said in a statement issued in Hawaii, where he is hosting an Asia-Pacific summit.


The European Union, meanwhile, said that its members “fully support the Arab League’s move.


In Damascus, meanwhile, crowds armed with sticks and knives attacked the Saudi embassy after the Arab League’s decision was announced. The French and Turkish consulates in Latakia were also attacked, residents said.


The Arab countries are not a shining example of democracy. All countries came under immense public pressure to implement political reforms and all have an history of human rights abuse. But they regard Syria as an ally of Iran, a substantial part of the Shiaa Bow from Iran to the Mediterranean and reintegrate into the Sunni Arab world.


Giving the current tension with Iran and the ABYSS IN ISLAM, it is the Sunni Arab countries way to contain the Iranian Shiite threat and to retaliate Iran over their interference, through the Shiite communities, in the Gulf Emirates, especially in Bahrain (see – Gulf-Cell 11.12.11). No wonder that Lebanon voted against the decision and Iraq abstained. Both countries are predominated by pro Iranian Shiite majority. 


It is likely that the Arab League’s decision will goad more Sunni soldiers, especially in the lower ranks, in the Syrian army to defect their units since the decision severally undermines the Syrian regime’s legitimacy.  


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