The Arab League is threatening to take Syria to the United Nations for procrastinating over its deadly crackdown on dissent, as an Iraqi mediator reported “positive” talks aimed at defusing the crisis.
In Doha, Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani accused Damascus of “procrastination” over an Arab League proposal to send an observer mission to Syria.
The ministers met in Doha a day after Russiaproposed a surprise draft resolution to the council.
“As Russia has gone to the Security Council, a proposal will be presented in the (Arab ministers’) meeting on December 21 that the Arab League goes to the Security Council to present the Arab initiative,” Sheikh Hamad said.
He said the move is aimed to “adopt the Arab decisions, instead of that of other countries”.
The Russian proposal mentioned above was ultimately rejected by Western countries because it was too watered-down to be of much use:
Russia called emergency talks of the 15 nation body on Syria however to propose the new resolution, which Western diplomats said they did not find acceptable but could be negotiated on. The French envoy to the UN welcomed the move, saying it was “an extraordinary event.”
Western members of the council who have been pressing for tough measures against President Bashar Assad’s regime welcomed the move, but said it didn’t go far enough because it didn’t include an arms embargo or other sanctions.
It also “urges the Syrian government to put an end to suppression of those exercising their rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association” and called for speedy investigations into events that killed or injured civilians and security personnel.
But the text does not mention sanctions. The draft also says the council “decides that nothing in this resolution shall be interpreted as an authorization of any sort of military interference in Syria by anyone.”
It may have been too soft on Syria, but if Russia is finally getting involved, it is a sign how bad things have become in Syria. And they are very bad indeed. Syrian forces have even taken protestors’ families hostage to force the protestors into submission, besides the “ususal” litany of abduction, torture and rape.
Meanwhile in Egypt the demonstrations in Tahrir Square continue, but now they are against the new regime which is not living up to its declared ideals of the revolution. Over the weekend 10 protestors were killed and hundreds injured by shooting or beating.
And to top off all this sorry news from the neighbourhood, the gas pipeline from Egypt to Israel was bombed once again, for the 10th (!) time.
This neighbourhood is really going to the dogs.