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Arab League divided over support of nascent Syrian coalition

Published time: November 13, 2012 10:02

Participants pose for a group picture during a meeting to form a new Syrian opposition group called the National Coalition of Forces of the the Syrian Revolution and Opposition in the Qatari capital Doha late on November 11, 2012 (AFP Photo / Karim Jaafar)

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Arab foreign ministers showed the support of the nascent National Coalition of the Syrian Powers of Revolution and Opposition (NCSPRO) at a meeting in Cairo on Monday evening.

In an ambiguous statement the League called on the rest of the opposition “to join this national coalition so that it brings together all segments of the Syrian people,” but did not recognize it as Syria’s official representative. However, it did say the organization is now the “main interlocutor” with the Arab League.

Some of the League’s members, namely Iraq and Algeria had reservations about the new organization.

"Iraq's reservation was not clear but Algeria … asked for more time before the Arab League can start dialogue with the opposition coalition. Algeria also had a reservation on the fact that this coalition did not represent all the opposition factions," said an anonymous Arab League official to the press.

The states include Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain. The National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces emerged this Sunday after a Doha, Qatar, meeting of Syrian opposition groups. The group has pledged to set up a transitional government in Syrian once it has sufficient international backing.

The deal is the result of a relentless pressure from the US and its European and Arab allies, who want to see the current Syrian regime toppled.

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Intervention could lead to war on ‘3 fronts’

However, mounting international pressure for the removal of embattled president Bashar Assad may only exacerbate political tensions, plunging Syria further into civil war.

British Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn warns that there is a danger that Syria could become the center for a proxy war on three fronts.

The conflicts with neighboring states could lead to an invasion of Syria by Western forces and a long-term civil war, Corbyn warns, stressing that the supporters of the Syrian government – of which there are a considerable number in Syria – would feel threatened and would therefore fight back.

“And the forces, a very desperate group of forces that has come together in the Syrian National Council would then be armed by the West in order to continue this war. It could get very long and very nasty with huge losses of life.”

What goes on in Syria is the business of Syrian people, asserts Lew Rockwell, chairman of the Ludwig Von Mises Institute. Calling the Arab League a “collection of corrupt dictatorships” and a US-led “puppet group,” he doubts whether it has the right to instruct Syrian people on who their representatives should be.

“The Arab League is a joke to anybody in the Arab World. They’re just again a tool… Of course they [are] the subsidiary of the Pentagon and of the CIA, this is part of the long-term plot by the US, by Britain, by France, by Turkey, by Israel to overthrow the last secular Arab government. They’re going to ‘Libyaze’ Syria, they want to destroy Syrian people.”

A ceasefire is the only solution for the humanitarian crisis in Syria, Corbyn believes.

“There’s a danger that Syria could become the center for a proxy war on three fronts, it’s terrifying for the people of Syria, so it does require political action by those who are supplying the arms, ”
said Corbyn.

He added that Britain was moving closer to supporting the new umbrella opposition group as it already supports rebel groups with what it characterizes as “non-lethal” aid.

Although Assad “is not a good guy,” Syrian people do not want outsiders occupying and running their own country, Rockwell argues.

“They fear these so-called rebels just as much as they fear their own government… They don’t want perpetual civil war as it happened in Libya with so many more deaths and so much more destruction,” Rockwell told RT.

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