Syria: Arab League Provides Pretext For Western Military Intervention

In-depth Report:

DAMASCUS, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has accused the Arab League (AL) of trying to internationalize the crisis in his country to find a cover for a foreign military intervention in Syria, as the latter rebuffed Damascus’ proposals regarding regional observers’ monitoring mission to Syria.

During an interview with the British Sunday Times published Sunday, al-Assad said that the AL initiative was aimed at giving the international community an excuse to meddle in his country.

“It’s been done to show that there’s a problem between the Arabs, thus providing western countries with a pretext to conduct a military intervention against Syria,” he was quoted as saying.

He, however, warned that the consequence of any such intervention would be an earthquake that would shake the entire Middle East.

The AL rejected on Sunday Syria’s proposed modifications on the mission of a 500-member delegation to visit the country, saying that the proposals introduced “drastic changes” to the mission of the observers.

The Syrian proposals changed the nature of the mission’s task that aims to solve the Syrian crisis and protect civilians, the AL said in a statement.

But Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem accused shortly after the AL’s rejection that the regional body of being used as a tool to take the Syrian crisis to the UN Security Council.

He, however, said that “I will reply to the AL Secretary General’s message and I will ask a group of questions that are based on our national sovereignty and that have emerged from our desire to clarify the reality of the monitoring mission and how to assure its members’ safety, because, the protocol ignores the coordination with the Syrian side.”

The AL suspended Syria’s membership Wednesday in Rabat of Morocco, citing its failure to honor an agreed-upon peace plan that called on the Syrian leadership to withdraw the government’s tanks from the streets and release political prisoners in addition to halt attacks against civilians.

It also issued a draft deal to send an Arab mission of 500 observers to monitor the situation in Syria from the ground and gave the Syrian government three days to sign it.

The Syrian government has proposed modifications to the AL just inside given the three-day deadline. Media reports claimed that Syria has accepted the observers’ visit but asked for a smaller delegation.

Al-Assad’s administration is facing swelling international pressures to end his alleged crackdown on anti-regime movement, and internally as alleged army defectors have been carrying out assaults against security and army bases.

From their side, a number of Syrian opposition figures called on Sunday for an immediate halt of all violent acts in the country to preserve the country from falling into the “trap set for the country by foreign powers.”

A statement signed by about two dozens of opposition figures said that “due to the worrisome and dangerous news” emerging from the central province of Homs, “we appeal for persevering the unity of our people and homeland.”

The signatories called for the halt of all violent acts, which they said “would harm all of you without exceptions and will undermine … our national unity.”

“Stop violence… Don’t get involved in a fighting from which you will all emerge as losers,” the statement said.

The AL said on Sunday that it will hold an emergency meeting of foreign ministers in Cairo on Thursday to continue discussions on the Syrian crisis.

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