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Arab League Suspends Syria, Threatens Sanctions
November 13, 2011

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As expected, the Arab League has voted to suspend Syria and threatened to impose political and economic sanctions if the government of Bashar Al-Assad does not keep to the nonviolent terms of an agreement that the League brokered a few weeks ago. A full 18 of the 22 member states voted in favor of the suspension, which will go into effect on Wednesday unless things in the volatile country change dramatically.

Tanks still still dot cities such as Homs, in violation of the League-brokered peace deal agreed to on November 2, which also required Syria to release a large number of political prisoners while also allowing more reporters and human rights inspectors into the country. The government continues to blame the violence on foreign influences, while also insisting that the opposition abandon what meager arms they have.

The United Nations estimates that the death toll in Syria during the eight-month uprising has topped 3,500, with November shaping up to the highest yet, with 250 already killed this month. The death toll has risen in recent weeks, along with the number of protesters bearing arms.

The League also voted to suspend Libya several months ago, in what was the first in a series of actions that paved the way for U.N. sanctions and, eventually, NATO airstrikes against Col. Moammar Gadhafi and his forces. The situation on the ground in Syria, however, is far different than that in Libya. The opposition has a fledgling resistance leadership, the Syrian National Council, but Assad continues to enjoy a large amount of support, both inside and outside his country. Also, NATO has ruled out any kind of no-fly zone or airstrikes inside Syria.



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