Odd Ball

While most dictatorships in the neighbourhood have vanished within days of the Arab Spring, the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria resolutely holds on. It is not sorry for the remorseless violence being perpetrated on its people, and now dares the world to go ???to the moon???. That is the response the Arab League has drawn from the government for pressurizing it to stop the violence and insisting that the president step down. The Arab League has withdrawn its mission in Syria and now threatens to take Syria to the United Nations security council. The move is a sign of desperation, and Syria knows it for what it is. It also knows that Russia and China will veto any military action against Syria in the UNSC. But that is not the only reason why Syria cocks a snook at the Arab League. It knows that the League members are neither disinterested players in the game nor are they in it for altruism. The Assad regime thinks that they are fronts for bigger international players, and its assessment may not be wrong. Countries such as Israel and the United States of America have major stakes in Syria. Both are looking forward to the fall of the Assad regime to downsize Iran, which is a major ally of the Shia-Alawite government in Syria. However, the non-Arab powers have abjured direct intervention and have, instead, allowed League members such as Qatar, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, which have their own interests in safeguarding the Sunni majority population in Syria, to do the job.

That has averted the flashpoint in Syria. But now, with the Arab League throwing up its hands, the situation may change fast. Given the mesh of interests, Syria may even become a hunting ground for the major players. But that is not what the people of the country want. The hopelessly divided rebel forces i



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