Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Syria Reportedly Spurns Arab League Peace Plan

At New York Times, "Stalemate Deals Grief and Fury in Syria."

And from the Wall Street Journal, "Spurned Offer Raises Syria Tensions" (via Google).

DAMASCUS—Syria's rejection of a surprise Arab League road map to ease President Bashar al-Assad out of power deepened a split between Syrians on the most viable way out of their country's nearly yearlong bloody conflict, with neither international pressure nor domestic overhauls offering much hope for halting further violence, said many Syrians and analysts.

The Arab League plan called on Mr. Assad to hand over power to his deputy and form a national unity government. It marked the first formal call by the Arab world's highest-profile diplomatic body for Mr. Assad to relinquish power.

The League also said it would ask the United Nations Security Council to endorse the plan, underscoring the basic approach by the Syrian regime's outside opponents: attempt to deal with the crisis through international forums while sidelining the regime. But the move is a sign the window for a regionally brokered domestic solution to Syria's conflict may be closing.

Syria's government on Monday derided the proposal as a "blatant interference in its internal affairs" and evidence of the "conspiratorial scheme" the country faced.

Syria's rejection of the plan "just speaks again to the fact that [Mr. Assad is] thinking about himself and his cronies, not about his people," said State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, adding, "We would like to see a Security Council resolution that firmly reflects the conclusions of the Arab League report."

Protests continued to roil parts of the country on Monday, with armed conflict between government forces and their opponents moving closer to the capital. On Monday, as many as 100,000 people marched in funeral processions in Douma, 12 miles from the capital, to mourn victims of more than three days of fighting there between army defectors and the military, said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. Activists said the crowd was the largest the restive suburb—one of several protest hot spots that encircle Damascus— has seen since protests broke out in March.

An Arab League observers' mission to Syria, criticized by Syria's opposition and human-rights groups, appears to be in place for a second month. The League recommended a one-month extension that was valid under the original deal. Syria's government didn't mention the mission in its denunciation of the Arab League plan.
We should have sent in the Marines: "Regime Change Syria."