By Alexander Vatutin
Syria boycotted the meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Rabat on Wednesday following the League’s ultimatum to expel the country.
On Wednesday the ultimatum expired and Syria was either to stick to the Arab League conflict regulation strategy or to face diplomatic isolation and sanctions.
The League proposed that Syria should stop the violent crackdown on demonstrators, free all detained protesters and hold talks with the opposition that wants President Assad to quit.
Syria’s membership in the League was also suspended. The country responded by looting the Embassies of the decision’s supporters and ignored the Wednesday session where it had been especially invited.
The League’s reaction is yet unknown but may be harsh.
Syria has been gripped by anti-government protests for 6months. The government says that they were provoked by extremists trained abroad who aim at turning the country into chaos. Thus, the unrest should be militarily suppressed. Bashar Assad even agreed to a series of compromises but the opposition wants more.
Expert in Oriental Studies Veniamin Popov says:
“Syria’s opposition has a harsh stance towards Assad. He agreed to quite a few compromises – lifted a curfew and allowed political pluralism. This could be enough to launch a dialogue by the opposition wants him to leave which in the current situation means physical elimination.”
Syria’s neighbors –Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Turkey, have also urged Assad to quit. The opposition even tried to talk Russia into putting pressure on Damascus. Recently Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov received a delegation of Syria’s oppositional National Council headed by Burhan Ghalioun.
Lavrov urged for an immediate dialogue with the government.
Experts believe that a peaceful dialogue is the only means to prevent further clashes and bloodshed, Sergei Demidenko from the Institute for Strategic Analysis told the VoR:
“The ethno-religious balance in Syria is extremely fragile. If it faces a Libya-like civil war, it will make thing worse. Syria is not Africa, it is right in the Middle East center and the consequences will be very bad.”
Analysts believe that Bashar Assad should express more interest in Arab mediation efforts otherwise Syria will face isolation and an unpredictable aftermath.