League prepared to arm rebels; force ‘regime change’

The U.N. and Arab League envoy on Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, may be on the verge of quitting, frustrated by the relentless efforts of President Bashar al-Assad’s foes on seeking “regime change” in Damascus, instead of a diplomatic solution to end the festering crisis.

The website of al-Manar, affiliated with the Lebanese Hizbollah ,reported that Mr. Brahimi is likely to resign, following his differences with the Arab League over Syria.

The website cited the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS as saying in his report to the U.N. Security Council that would be tabled on April 18, Mr. Brahimi will voice his serious disagreements with the League.

Doha summit

During the Doha summit on March 26-27, the Arab League decided to hand over Syria’s seat to the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (NCSROF), despite rejection of the resolution by Algeria and Iraq, and an abstention by Lebanon. The move, piloted by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, has been highly contentious.

Observers say the decision lacks legality as a change in national membership of a country is possible only if all the 22 members of the League take a unanimous view.

The summit had also green-lighted the transfer of weapons to the Syrian opposition by pointing out in its final document that “each member state of the Arab League has the right to supply defensive means as it so wishes — including military defence — to support the resistance of the Syrian people and the Free Syrian Army [the armed wing of the Syrian opposition]”.

Geneva accord

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had slammed the League’s position, which, in his view meant that the grouping had “renounced peaceful settlement”, of the conflict. He stressed that the League’s position had undermined the June 30 Geneva accord, which had anchored a road map for Syria’s political transition.

In case he resigns, Mr. Brahimi would be following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Kofi Annan. Mr. Annan had put in his papers last year, frustrated by the lack of a concrete follow-up in the Security Council to the Geneva accord, which had been endorsed by all the concerned parties including the United States.

  • Syria’s seat given to opposition despite lack of consensus

  • Annan quit last year citing lack of follow-up to Geneva accord