Arab League Calls For Joint UN Peacekeeping Mission in Syria to Curb Assad Crackdown

After 11 months of bloody and violent conflict, the Arab League has drafted a resolution that proposes the creation of a joint Arab-United Nations peacekeeping body that will enforce a cease-fire between the Syrian government and opposition fighters.

Members of the league, who met in Cairo on Sunday, will bring the resolution the General Assembly on Monday for consideration.

The resolution comes a week after Russia and China vetoed a similar resolution brought to the UN Security Council.

Nabil al-Arabi, the secretary general of the League stressed the importance of halting violence in drafting this resolution: "It is imperative for us to move swiftly in all directions, to halt the vicious cycle of violence…”

Over the weekend, violence continued to escalate, particularly in the resistance stronghold of Homs. The death toll has reached at least 6,000, with violence showing no sign of subsiding. This video shows a doctor’s appeal to the Arab and international community for action against “Assad’s massacres.”

The resolution is considering a force of about 3,000 members (far greater than it’s initial 200 member body that was suspended last month due to ineffectiveness amidst growing violence) from both Arab countries and the international community in a joint effort to halt violence in the country. Prince Saud of Saudi Arabia stated that “What Syria is witnessing is not racist, nor sectarian, nor guerrilla war, but a mass purge without any humanitarian considerations.”

Yousef Ahmed, the Syrian ambassador to the group, declared the resolution an expression of the “hysteria and confusion” perpetuated by the group.

Historically, the UN has only deployed peacekeepers with the host country’s permission, which some claim may hinder the effectiveness of this effort.

Arab League members also agreed to suspend ties with the Syrian government. Tunisia and Libya even expelled Syrian diplomats from their countries, though the rest of the league has yet to follow suite.

This move by the Arab League must be supported by the international community, and in particular the UN General Assembly on Monday. The proposed peacekeeping force is ideal to handle this situation, as the task is not placed solely on one country, but rather an international entity. As violence shows no sign of subsiding, but in fact increasing, and Assad continues his indiscriminate campaign of killing, torture and abuse, it is clear he is no longer fit to rule. With this peacekeeping force, civilians will be relieved of the rampant terror being reigned down upon them. Then, the Syrian people (not the international community) can focus on the task of building an inclusive and representative government.

Photo Credit: Syriana2011

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Lindsay Novis

Writer, runner and recovering dancer. Formerly at the Clinton Global Initiative and the Senate Finance Committee. Lover of all things active and outdoors.

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