This article was originally published in the Vibe in November 2011
On Saturday the Arab League, best known for tea sipping diplomats and rambling diatribes, will officially suspend Syria in reaction to the Assad regime’s continuing campaign of brutal violence against the uprising. Referred to as an ineffectual talk shop, it has long been happy to ignore violence and abuse in pursuit of the elusive goal of “Arab unity”. But this year an unusually active League has finally stood up to some of its member states’ more heinous crimes. First regarding Libya, when its call for a no-fly zone helped pave the way for NATO intervention, and now the threat of suspension for Syria.
An extra 3 days was granted to the Assad regime on Wednesday to implement the terms of the November 2 deal, whereby the regime would stop its brutal onslaught, pull out the military from all cities and open up the country to foreign journalists. Assad’s consent to the deal surprised many, especially as compliance would inevitably have led to his downfall. But even the disparate and fractured opposition could agree here: Assad was merely stalling, buying himself a bit more time.