Arab League leaders to meet as regional tensions rise
The head of the Arab League’s Syrian observer force – which withdrew from Syria last month – has resigned as the League is weighing a resumption of its mission. The selection of Sudanese Gen. Mohammed Ahmed Al-Dabi to lead the initial mission had received much criticism given his alleged involvement and complicity in human rights abuses against his own countrymen in Darfur.
The BBC reports that Arab nations are meeting in Cairo to discuss the ongoing military crackdown by the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
In an unprecedented move, the US State Department released satellite images showing how the Syrian military has positioned artillery close to major protest centers.
Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Trudy Rubin contends the possible options being discussed – a NATO no-fly zone or arming the Syrian opposition – will not halt the violence and could inflame the situation.
“Outside military help may be inevitable, but it won’t stop the Homs horrors. Just because we can see Assad’s war crimes doesn’t mean it will be easy to stop them – or him,” she argues.
While the merits of outside engagement can be debated, most analysts agree that tensions in the Middle East are increasing, posing great challenges to regional and world leaders.
The Syrian crisis, as well as an increase in tensions between Israel and Iran, is clouding the hope brought by 2011’s Arab spring.
Paul Salem of the Middle East Center tells the Washington Post that the region is on “two different trajectories in the Middle East,” adding that “North Africa is moving toward more democracy,” while Israel, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq are “moving toward confrontation and sectarian conflict. It is a much darker, gloomier trajectory.”