BESIDES adding to the Baathist regime’s regional and international isolation, the suspension of Syria’s membership by the Organisation of Islamic Conference on Wednesday is unlikely to have much effect on the situation in the Levant if the aim is peace. The 57-member bloc coupled the suspension with a call for the development of a peaceful mechanism that would build “a new Syrian state based on pluralism” and a “democratic and civilian system” — ideals that are in keeping with the spirit of the Arab Spring. However, ignoring the plea by Pakistan, Algeria and Kazakhstan that the insurgents be also blamed for the bloodshed, the 57-member body’s final statement said the “principal responsibility” for the fighting lay with the government of President Bashar Al-Assad. The statement coincided with a UN report which said there were “reasonable grounds” to believe that both government forces and the rebels had committed war crimes and “gross violations” of human rights, including “unlawful killing, torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, sexual violence, pillaging and destruction of property”.

Unless there is an agreement on a ceasefire, the Syrian conflict, which has led to 20,000 dead, could expand. Lebanon is already in a state of tension and fear, with reports that four Arab countries have asked their nationals to leave the country following a string of abductions of some Sunnis by a Shia group. The OIC and the Arab League, which suspended Syria’s membership last year, ought to have a uniform policy on dissent in Muslim countries. Their attitudes towards Bahrain, for instance, are in sharp contrast with their Syria policies. While in the former case the Gulf Cooperation Council sent troops to crush the uprising and save the monarchy, in the case of Libya and Syria they have pursued an active regime-change strategy. What happens if tomorrow there is a democratic stir in Arab monarchies, some of which have not given their people even a semblance of constitutional rule? The Syrian situation deserves to be addressed with all sincerity, but as Pakistan’s foreign minister said at the recent Tehran moot, moves that could lead to foreign intervention need to be avoided.

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Comments (7)

Muhammad Naseem
August 17, 2012 3:28 pm
The key Arab countries apply double standard to the issue. What if tomorrow this wave of revolution erupt their own monarchies? They should ponder over that.
Sharjah
August 17, 2012 1:51 pm
In this day and age there's nothing Islamic. Its all about interests and money. Living in a middleastern country other muslims are treated as 3rd class citizens while in America/Europe/Canada muslims and people from all over the world are treated as equal citizens. So what islamic countries are you talking about?
Iftikhar Husain
August 17, 2012 11:40 am
The problems of the Arab and Islamic countries is benefiting the anti Islamic forces.
M. Asghar
August 17, 2012 8:35 am
The Editoiral underlies well the difference of self-interests among the member countries that is keeping the OIC ineffective in its approach to the Syrian and other crises.
Mustafa Razavi
August 17, 2012 9:24 am
A very responsible, fair and logical stand was taken by Egypt's president, Mohammad Mursi. He has named four key Muslim countries to negotiate and find a solution. president,
Hassaan
August 17, 2012 8:17 pm
A rare moment of virtual consensus in the OIC. Pakistan should avoid their ambiguity regarding Syria and fully support the Syrian democratic forces.
Asif Ansari
August 18, 2012 12:31 am
Bashar Al-Assad faces same situation like Iraq and Libya, World seen the end of Sadam Hussain and Qaddafi, the same end is now we all are seeing the Mr. Bashar Al-Assad. Gulf situation like that due to long period of monarchies, Foreing interest is too large in this area due to oil. Gulf countries belonging people feel too pain for the policy of their so called governments which are running many of decades.This is good for Bashar Al-Assad to leave the country, but he could not do this. OIC plan and programme how much fruit-ful in that situation, We do not hope so more, Later years OIC every policy goes in dark-well, because OIC members sit together, drinking and eating together afterthat go to their homes. Patro-dollars is the need of world's unique super power, so its cannot leave interfere in gulf countries, Iran and Pakistan also its top priority list!
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