Salah Abdulrahman Saleh
2011 / 12 / 5
Suspension Syria in the Arab League, importance, significance and consequences
As the crisis in Syria enters eight month of its age, the Arab League took a significant decision to suspend Syria from the League. The Arab League contains 22 states, 18 agreed on the decision, 3 refused and 1 abstained. This decision is an important decision that the Arab League ever took in its history. The system of making decisions inside the Arab League makes that decision important. The suspension of Syria is the third suspension decisions in the history of the Arab League. The decision has significance and consequences concerning the uprising in Syria or the future of the regime.
The Arab League was established in 1945, which makes it one of the oldest regional organizations in the region, and the history of its establishment is parallel to the establishing of the UN. The formation of the Arab League is one of the problematic issues in this organization. Article 7 of the Arab League charter says “Decisions of the Council taken by a unanimous vote shall be binding on all the member States of the League; those that are reached by majority vote shall bind only those that accept them.” This article made the decision making policy in the League very weak, due to the difficult in gaining the unanimous vote from states have different political ideologies. When the Arab League took the decision against Syria, the Syrian regime announced that the decision contrast the Arab League charter. Actually it does not contrast the charter. In contrast the system of the League gives an opportunity to the Syrian regime to turn around the decision and empty it from its goals. Article 7 does not bound the Arab states to implement the decision if it not taken by unanimous vote. That allows states that refused or abstained on the decision, not to implement it. If we bear in our mind that Iraq, which abstained on the decision has borders with Syria from one side and with Syrian’s regime strategic ally Iran from another side. We can see the big leak the Arab League decision has. Iraq may becomes a significant link between Syrian regime and Iran if the Arab League moves towards next step and imposing economic sanction on Syria.
The decision of suspension Syria from the Arab League is not the first one the League ever took. Before that there were two suspensions. One was after the Camp Davis peace agreement between Egypt and Israel in 1979 when the Arab League suspended Egypt from the League. The second one was against Kaddafi regime during the uprising against him in 2011. That shows how rarely that the Arab League suspends a member state. The importance of the suspension is that it shows to the West and to the international society that the Arab states do not accept the killing of the civilians that the Syrian regime does against the civilian. That opens the door to the Security Council or other states to works against the regime in Syria.
Suspension Syria in the Arab League has consequences on the future of the regime and the Syrian population who demonstrates every day in the streets against the regime. The future of the regime now is very critical because of the influence of the Arab spring, and the general rejection to what the regime in Syria does towards it civilians. The Arab League cannot stands against the flowed of freedom among the Arab states, and as the typical Arabic dictatorial regimes fall one after one it become impossible for the League not to stands against the Syrian regime when it kills the civilians. The demonstrators in the streets see hope in the decision due to the fact that, if they get support from the states around Syria, they definitely will get support from the international society.