Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
MONDAY, 21 APR 2014
07:09 AM Beirut time
17 °C
Blom Index
Middle East
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
Assad regime could fall 'anytime': Arab League chief
Agence France Presse
Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi gives an interview to AFP (Agence France-Presse) on December 3, 2012 at the Arab League headquarters in the Egyptian capital Cairo. AFP PHOTO/GIANLUIGI GUERCIA
Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Arabi gives an interview to AFP (Agence France-Presse) on December 3, 2012 at the Arab League headquarters in the Egyptian capital Cairo. AFP PHOTO/GIANLUIGI GUERCIA
A+ A-

CAIRO: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime is in danger of collapse "anytime" as the opposition gains ground on the military and political fronts, Arab League chief Nabil al-Arabi told AFP on Monday.

"That could happen anytime," the secretary general said in an exclusive interview.

"Now they are fighting in Damascus," and after 20 months of violence, "I think there will be something soon," he said.

"Facts on the ground indicate very clearly now that the Syrian opposition is gaining, politically and militarily. Every day they are gaining something," Arabi said.

He said a new coalition of Syrian opposition groups now based in Cairo was "moving ahead."

The Arab League, which is also based in the Egyptian capital, last month recognised Syria's National Coalition as the "legitimate" representative of the Syrian opposition.

"We are in touch with them and they come here all the time," Arabi said.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the conflict which broke out in March 2011 has cost more than 41,000 lives.

There have also been fears of a spillover of the violence into neighbouring countries.

"The possibility is there, you cannot exclude the possibility," Arabi acknowledged.

He also deplored Russia's support of Damascus, which along with China has blocked the United Nations Security Council from adopting sanctions against Damascus.

"The Russians insist Assad should be there until the end of the (transition) process, while others say once the transition period starts with a government with full executive powers, Assad is needless," Arabi said.

But he said China, which is also a veto-wielding member of the Security Council, appeared to be "more flexible" than Russia on the Syria file.

Arabi's assessment was that Iran, considered Assad's firmest ally in the international community, is in fact "not a big actor."

"I keep reading in the papers Iran is providing money, Iran is providing weapons ... They deny everything but they say they are helping" Damascus, Arabi said.

"I don't expect Iran to change its views. They are dogmatic but they are not so influential," he said.

The six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council has recognised the National Coalition formed last month as "the Syrian people's legitimate representative", although the 22-member Arab League stopped short of granting it full recognition.

Spain on November 29 also decided to recognise the National Coalition, following the example of France, Britain and Turkey as well as the GCC.

The 27-nation EU has formally recognised the National Coalition as the sole representative of the Syrian people, while France has suggested arming opposition fighters.

Home Middle East

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus

Baabda 2014
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Saturday April 19, 2014
View all view all
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Why Israeli-Palestinian talks fail
Michael Young
Michael Young
Why confuse gibberish with knowledge?
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
Echoes of 1914 characterize the Ukraine crisis
View all view all
Click to View Articles
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS