Inside Story
Will the West interfere in Syria?
As Gulf states pull their observers from Syria, we ask what it will mean if this crisis is internationalised.
Last Modified: 25 Jan 2012 10:15

The six Gulf monarchies have withdrawn their observers from Syria, taking a cue from Saudi Arabia.

"With the money and power that comes from GCC countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, I doubt [the Arab League] will have any appetite to continue with the mission that was deeply flawed right from the start. It didn't have the right competency, it didn't have the right co-operation or level of independence from the Syrian authorities, it didn't have free and unfettered access, and it didn't have the right security."

Salman Sheikh from the Brookings Doha Center

The announcement came as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) said Syria had failed to implement Arab League decisions, and had failed to stop its violent crackdown, which has now been going on for 10 months.

Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, the prime minister of Qatar, warned Syria that the failure of the government to step down would lead to UN involvement.

This latest move comes days after the Arab League extended its monitoring mission in Syria for another month. But that mission now seems doomed.

The latest move by the Arab League was harshly criticised by the Syrian government.

So, has the Arab League mission in Syria failed? And what would it mean if the crisis in this country is internationalised?

Inside Story, with presenter James Bays, discusses with guests: Wael Aleji, a member of the General Commission for the Syrian Revolution; Salman Sheikh, the director of the Brookings Doha Center; and Thabet Salem, a veteran Syrian journalist and political commentator.

"Russia is the only card left, if al-Assad loses this card he's finished. But I don't see any foreign intervention for the time being and this has been explicitly said by the British foreign minister. I don't think the West is ready to interfere. It is the task of the Syrians to carry on with their peaceful movement to achieve their goals. I don't think the majority of Syrians want to see the country destroyed by NATO. What we want is a radical change to finish with this regime."

Thabet Salem, a journalist and political commentator

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