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Nabil el-Araby: Arming the Syrian opposition

The secretary general of the Arab League discusses the challenges the organisation faces over the conflict in Syria.
Last Modified: 24 Mar 2013 08:51

When the Arab League meets in Doha next week, the talks will be dominated by the ongoing fighting in Syria.

"There are Arab countries providing arms I don't know who they are, nobody comes and tells you 'we are providing arms', but what I say is providing arms and ammunition started with certain countries, I'll name them: Russia and Iran to Syria, so it's normal the other side will seek help .... The last resolution adopted less than three weeks ago said all assistance [to the opposition fighters], all assistance including military, it was added."

- Nabil el-Araby, the secretary general of the Arab League

Just in the past few days there have been major developments:

There were serious allegations of chemical weapons being used; the opposition has appointed a prime minister in exile; and now the head of the Arab League becomes the first official to confirm on the record what many have long suspected, that states are arming the rebels.

But it is not just military support that is being stepped up. On the political and diplomatic front, the Arab League is now preparing to seat a new representative of Syria at their table.

The Arab League suspended Syria's membership in 2011 after Bashar al-Assad's government failed to abide by an Arab peace plan that aimed at ending the conflict.

So what role is there for the mediator of the Arab League to play in order to stop the fighting? And what about the internal splits in the organisation?

Talk to Al Jazeera sat down with Nabil el-Araby, the secretary general of the Arab League, to talk about the upcoming Arab League summit and the situation in Syria.

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