News / Middle East

Syria Faces Growing Isolation for Crackdown

Syrian refugees who fled the violence in Syria speak to Reuters TV at their temporary home in Amman, Jordan, November 14, 2011.
Syrian refugees who fled the violence in Syria speak to Reuters TV at their temporary home in Amman, Jordan, November 14, 2011.
Elizabeth Arrott

Syria on Monday called the Arab League decision to suspend its membership illegal, but the reaction likely will do little to stem the growing isolation of the Assad government during its violent crackdown on political dissent.

Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem called Syria's suspension from the Arab League a very dangerous step that was incited by the United States.

The top Syrian diplomat said his country is implementing an Arab League peace plan to remove its troops from the streets, release political prisoners and engage in dialogue with the opposition.

Syria disputes suspension

He also argued that the charter of the 22-nation league calls for all members to vote for suspension. Yemen and Lebanon voted against the Saturday decision, while Iraq abstained.

Despite the criticism by fellow Arab countries, Moallem expressed confidence that Syria would be protected from wider action against it. He said allies Russia and China would block any international attempt to move against his government.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday that Moscow opposes the Arab League suspension of Syria. China urged Syria to implement the Arab League peace plan.  

Criticism grows lounder

But condemnation of Syria continues to grow beyond the Arab world, after supporters of the Syrian government attacked a number of embassies in Damascus on Saturday and Sunday.

Turkey's Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Ankara will take decisive action in response to attacks on its diplomatic missions in Damascus, Aleppo and Latakia, and he pledged continued support of the Syrian people in what he called their "rightful struggle."

Nadhim Shehadi, a Syria expert at the research group Chatham House, said the consistency of the message to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is key to ending the government's violent crackdown on dissent.

"The regime had been gaining strength because of the contradictory positions from the international community and from the Arab League and from the regional powers. So, one day they want him to reform. One day they want dialogue. Sometimes they tell him to step aside, and [then] tell him again about dialogue. So all this hesitation gave the regime further strength," said Shehadi.

Eroding support, less dialogue

Shehadi, speaking from Beirut, said the loss of support in the regional alliance Syria helped found will mean more than any sanctions the league is threatening.

"What we should look for is more eroding the legitimacy, rather than eroding the economy or hitting at certain sectors of the population so that they would turn [against the government], because it is unpredictable how they will turn," said Shehadi.

The Arab League meets Wednesday, the day Syria's suspension is to take effect, to discuss sanctions it might add to those already imposed by Western nations.

The Syrian foreign minister repeated an invitation to league members to come to Damascus before then. League observers say the offer is likely to be turned down.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Multimedia In US, Decision Expected Soon in Racially Charged Case

Missouri town, many Americans on edge over whether jurors will indict white police officer in August shooting death of unarmed black teen More

Corruption Fighters Want More From World’s Strongest Nations

Anti-corruption activists say final communique fell short of expectations and failed to fully address systemic problems More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid