Inside Syria
Has the Arab League failed in Syria?
As violence continues despite the presence of Arab League observers, we ask if it is time for the UN to step in.
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2012 11:08

In any conflict, they say truth is the first casualty. On this programme we aim to work out what is really going on inside Syria.

"[The Arab League mission is] only a failure if you think its objective is to stop the violence. Its objective isn't really to stop the violence, it is rather to show that the Arab League is doing something. On the plus side, they have given some protesters a little bit of a shield to protest - not very much of a shield, but something of a shield. But the Arab League is divided on this issue and it needs to show it is going through the diplomatic motions before it can do anything else."

- Shashank Joshi, an associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute

The Syrian government had vowed to adhere to the demands of the Arab League and end its brutal crackdown on protesters. But since Arab League monitors entered the country just two weeks ago, at least 400 people have been killed.

The Arab League is supposed to ensure that Syria makes good on a draft peace deal designed to end the 10-month crackdown on protestors but Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, the Qatari prime minister, now says that the group may be unable to achieve that objective.

As the Arab League prepares to meet in Cairo to discuss its mission it is being urged to take action against the Syrian government for failing to comply with its demands. If the organisation decides that its mission in Syria has failed, it could be forced to take a whole new approach towards ending the violence there.

On this episode of Inside Syria, we ask: Has the Arab League mission in Syria been a success or a failure? And with the situation there seemingly spiralling out of control, will the United Nations Security Council step in? What might be the ramifications of such a move?

To discuss this we are joined by: Shashank Joshi, an associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute in London; Hussein al-Harbi, a member of the Syrian opposition and the host of a political discussion programme on the Syrian opposition channel, Syria Alshaab; and Bassam Abu Abdullah, a lecturer in Political Science at Damascus University and a member of Syria's Baath Party.

"We are from the army and we have defected because the government is killing civilian protesters. The Syrian army attacked Hama with heavy weapons, air raids and heavy fire from tanks."

Colonel Afeef Mahmoud Suleiman, a Syrian army defector

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