Arab League joins US against Syria

By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer

Arab League
Countries that are part of the Arab League are in green. It includes Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Jordan, Libya, and many others, for a total of 22 member states. Syria’s membership has been suspended.

US Secretary of State John F. Kerry is working hard in Europe to gather support for military action against Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad for the leader’s suspected use of chemical weapons. “Assad’s deplorable use of chemical weapons crosses an international, global red line,” said Kerry. Since most of the world’s countries have agreed to never use chemical weapons, even in the midst of war, al-Assad’s alleged use of sarin gas against rebels in the suburbs of Damascus has created international drama.

As far as Syria’s allies in the region, Iran and Hezzbolah (a group the US calls a terrorist organization), Kerry explains, “It is clear that if we don’t take action, the message to Hezbollah, Iran, Assad will be that nobody cares that you have broken this 100-year-old standard.” Other neighboring regions in the Middle East, like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, are in favor of striking Syria’s government, while countries like Jordan and Lebanon are more cautious. They fear that Syria is a hornet’s nest, and that if the civil war is whipped into a frenzy by US-led military strikes, the conflict will cross their borders. Even Russia’s motivations in demanding absolute proof of Syria’s chemical weapons and threatening to block military action in the United Nations, is not merely because of their Syrian business dealings. They too do not want the chaos of the civil war engulfing areas too close to home.

Kerry made it very clear, however, that he does not view military force as a solution in itself. “We have repeated and I repeat every time I stand up and talk about it – there is no military solution,” explained Kerry.”What we are seeking is to enforce the standard with respect to the use of chemical weapons.” He has met with Arab League foreign ministers as well in Paris, who all agree that the use of chemical weapons crossed “an international global red line.” Although the meeting was originally called to discuss the conflict between Israel and Palestine, much of the conversation focused on Syria.

Image of Arab League map courtesy of Danalm000 on Wikipedia.