Somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 people have been killed since the agreement was announced at the start of the month. Faced with the rising body count, the Arab League had no choice but to take a harder line with Assad.
The suspension is significant in and of itself but the real story here is the Arab League’s more direct steps to facilitate a transition of power in Syria:
“Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim, who was instrumental in pushing the suspension, also called on Syrian opposition parties to attend a meeting at Arab League headquarters in the next three days to “agree on a unified vision for the transitional period,” a step that seemed to take the League closer to acknowledging that Assad’s regime should go.”
The Arab League’s last suspension was directed at Egypt in 1979 for, of all things, their peace treaty with Israel. But now they’ve transformed into Tahrir square hippies fighting for peace, love, and social media. What a transition right? Well, this has more to with fear than some goodhearted awakening as Ben Wedeman points out:
“Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf states are alarmed, and are eager to cut Iran down to size. The uprising in Syria went a long way to undercut Iran’s oldest and most reliable Arab ally in Damascus, and Saturday’s vote to suspend Syria from the Arab League was an added bonus. Syria is now isolated more than ever before, which means Iran’s other allies in the region — Hamas and Hezbollah — could suffer, too.”
And so the long, slow war against Iran continues.
Recommended on Twitter: @bencnn. Ben Wedeman is CNN’s senior international correspondent based in Cairo, Egypt.
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