Much is at stake as Arab leaders meet in Iraq

As the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad continuously attacks opposition forces, members of the Arab League gathered in Bagdhad in the hope of reaching a resolution to the yearlong crisis.

The Arab League is expected to endorse a Syrian peace plan offered by UN envoy Kofi Annan, which includes a daily two-hour humanitarian cease-fire, unfettered access for journalists and a Syrian-led political process to address citizens’ concerns, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The action by the League, however, resulted by default.

“We have tried to find the Arab solution through collaborative efforts but we failed,” said Mr. Zebari. “The situation has gone out of the Arab framework,” leaving the countries no choice but to endorse Mr. Annan’s six-point proposal.

While there has been much criticism aimed at the Arab League and questions of whether its failure to take affirmative action to stem the violence in Syria, some analysts believe it has greatly improved its reputation in recent years.

Khaled Elgindy, resident fellow at the Brookings Institution, contends the Arab League has enhanced its standing and legitimacy by taking actions once believed to be unthinkable.

First, he says, the League moved to suspend Libya and Syria and called on their respective leaders to step down. Furthermore, they authorized “international military intervention against the former and imposing wide-ranging sanctions on the latter.”

“Are these developments a sign of deeper changes in the Arab League’s modus operandi commensurate with the revolutions of the “Arab spring”? Or are they simply exceptional responses to exceptional (and hence temporary) circumstances? It is difficult to overstate the significance of the taboos that have been shattered within the Arab League, an institution whose very mission was to safeguard the sovereignty of its members, guided by a strict code of nonintervention in their internal affairs,” Elgindy writes.

 

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