Syria Takes Seat At Arab League Meeting

Syrian Opposition In Disarray Takes Seat At Arab League Meeting
Last week Moaz al-Khatib resigned from his position as the leader of the opposition in Syria. Despite the confusion and chaos in which the opposition is currently mired, this week he will be assuming Syria’s seat at the Arab League.

Syria’s membership of the Arab League was suspended in 2011 in response to the atrocities perpetrated by the government of Bashar al-Assad.

In his opening address he called on NATO forces to intervene to protect lives.

“We are still waiting for a decision from NATO to protect people’s lives, not  to fight but to protect lives,” he said.

Cyprus Deal Raises Questions About EU Unity
An agreement to bailout Cyprus was reached, but banks in the tiny island will remain closed in order to avoid a run on withdrawals. While the deal may answer the question of Cyrpus’ short-term future (and, as the Economist characterizes it – the best of bad options), it raises far more difficult and long-term questions, contends Der Speigel.

For example, when does a debt-ridden country become a threat to the entire financial system, and how can allowing it to go bankrupt still be the right approach? And what is the obligation of the EU to rescue a nation that doesn’t want to be rescued? Of course, the bigger question is what impact the continued bailouts have on the confidence that Europeans and bankers have in the EU itself.

An editorial notes that it confidence, not deals and budgets, is what serves as binding force. Monetary unions, the paper argues, do not remain united because of “statements of finance ministers and the heads of central banks.” Rather, the glue that holds “together a monetary union is the mutual confidence of its members, and that has declined drastically in recent months.”

In his column in The Irish Times, Finlan O’Toole took a more critical perspective, lambasting European leaders for taking actions simply “in the name of efficiency, of hard-headed crisis management.”

” It might make some kind of sense as a very short-term response to an immediate panic. But it is surely clear by now that the crisis is not short-term. It is deep and systemic and it will be with us for at least another decade,” writes O’Toole.

EU Could Play Constructive Role In Post-Insurgency Mali
The European Union has received much criticism for its slow response to the crisis in Mali. While the role of the EU can rightly be held up for scorn, the first months of a post-insurgency Mali pose an opportunity for the EU to not only redeem itself, but to help stabilize the war-torn nation, some contend.

“This sort of long term challenge, in a region of such strategic, energy, and security interest for so many EU states, seems ideally suited for a common EU approach. This may involve a peace keeping force to support a process of national negotiations – the UN appears already in recent days to have ruled out the possibility of a UN force for this role,” writes Susi Dennison in The European.



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