Is it time for Arab intervention in Syria?
Qatar’s ruler says the UN’s failure to bring peace to Syria forced the Arab world to play a role in ending the conflict.
The Emir of Qatar has called on Arab militaries to help stop the bloodshed in Syria in a move that is widely seen as challenging UN efforts at resolving the 18-month conflict through negotiation.
“The times have changed , the Arab world is no more the same, the environment, the world order is different. I think there [will be] a lot of problems in [sending] Arab forces to stabilise Syria.“
– Elias Hanna, a military analyst
But, addressing the UN General Assembly, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani’s message was clear – the UN has failed in its mission; it is now time for Arab intervention.
“We have used all available means to get Syria out of the cycle of killing, but that was in vain,” the emir said in an address in New York.
“In view of this, I think it is better for the Arab countries themselves to interfere out of their national, humanitarian, political and military duties and do what is necessary to stop the bloodshed in Syria.”
In a news conference on the sidelines of the assembly on Tuesday, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s president, was highly critical of any foreign intervention in Syria. Ahmadinejad accused “outside forces” of meddling in the country – though he did not directly name any countries.
He warned that outside interference might throw the region into a new war, bringing, “short-term results”, but which he said would keep Syria in chaos and instability for decades to come.
Meanwhile Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, Qatar’s prime minister, has told Al Jazeera that Ahmadinejad is wrong to suggest that Arab forces in Syria would inflame the crisis.
He said: “The forces will not be going to Syria to fight. Their goal will be to stop what is going on in Syria. As you know, there were originally Arab forces which went there to observe the ceasefire in the past … and these forces, because they were few and not well equipped, could not stop the bloodbath …. There must be a sufficient number of peacekeeping forces and fighting in Syria must stop.”
To discuss the proposed Arab force, Inside Syria, with presenter Laura Kyle, speaks to gueats: Hassan Hachimi, a member of the general secretariat of the Syrian National Council; Elias Hanna, a military analyst and retired military general in the Lebanese army; and Joseph Kechichian, an independent Middle East analyst and columnist for Gulf News.
“The Syrian opposition are in a position – and they have been for a long time crying for any type of help to try and stop the bloodshed in Syria. We are in a situation where we are losing every single day 150-200 lives. And this has been going on for a year and a half – and today when I hear rhetoric of obstacles – of course none of the initiatives will be an easy one or a straight-forward solution – any proposal will definitely need a lot to make it work …. The Arabs are the first who would be expected to come forward and help the people of Syria.”
Hassan Hachimi, a member of the general secretariat of the Syrian National Council