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Is the Arab League helping solve the conflict in Syria?

By Rana Khatib, Communications Intern

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Just last week, the Daily Herald reported the murders of 10 Syrian civilians, as well as 11 Syrian soldiers. Two of these civilians were teenagers. The preceding numbers are minimal compared to the number of deaths that occur each day in Syria. According to the United Nations, a total of 5,000 people have died in the 9 months after Syria’s rebellion began; about 300 of these deaths were children. The Syrian government continues to shock the public with these numbers while the Syrian people live in fear.

Though the Arab League has demanded that the Syrian government halt their brutality against protesters, the death toll continues to rise. In December 2011, with the begrudging approval of the Syrian regime, monitors were sent to Syria by the Arab League to observe the violence. But while the monitors have been reporting statistics on the bloodshed, no significant change is occurring in regards to settling the conflict.

It seems as though the League’s efforts have been all talk and no action. No matter what propositions are made and however many times the League demands that the Syrian government cease the bloodshed, the Assad regime has continued their atrocities. It seems as if Syrian government are hearing what the League is demanding that they do, yet are ignoring them because of the leeway they are given.

This is not a petty issue in which the League can take lightly; it is a subject that affects people, worldwide. It is a major concern for three main reasons. One is that it affects families who live around the world that constantly worry about their loved ones in Syria. Another, is that if other governments see that the Syrian government’s terror is being taken nonchalantly, they might take advantage of their positions in government to also engage in brutality against their own citizens. Lastly, and most importantly, the Syrian regime’s blatant disregard for human life is a violation of the core principles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

On January 22, the Arab League tried to initiate a new proposal in which the Syrian administration would form a united government in a matter of two weeks – which they believe would lead to elections and a new constitution. Hopefully, this proposal will help resolve the conflicts between the Syrian government and the protesters. However, the League’s previous attempts have yet to succeed in reaching any positive outcome; lessening the hope that any change will come from their futile efforts.

If the Syrian government was opposed to monitors being in their country, what makes the League believe they will want to compromise with the protesters? Their proposition for writing a new constitution might also lead to changes that would make the government more corrupt by incorporating laws that exacerbate the problems in the already deeply-damaged country. The suggestions that the League is making are far-fetched, careless, and seem to not be helping the situation in Syria.

As of January 18, the government has agreed to discontinue their fire in a town near Damascus and along the Lebanese border. But how long should we believe this ceasefire will actually hold? And what about the rest of the cities and towns that are facing government aggression? Will they ever see peace?

Whether or not the League fully succeeds with their demand that their Syrian government end the bloodshed, it will not ever fully heal the monstrosity the Assad regime began. The help that the Arab League is claiming to provide seems negligent, and the Syrian government itself seems to disregard every aim at peace with the Syrian people, no matter what suggestions they may receive.

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