After two days of long-winded speeches, NATO and the Arab League finally appear to have noticed that Russia isn’t going to capitulate on the Syria resolution at the UN, and now say they are dropping all calls for sanctions or Bashar Assad’s ouster and are looking for negotiations.
Indeed, Arab League leader Nabil ElAraby is backpedaling so quickly that he’s revising history, insisting now that the Arab League’s “Yemen solution” for Assad to step down in favor of his Vice President never really meant for Assad to step down but instead of delegate certain powers.
A new compromise resolution is reportedly in the works, and it will finally answer long-standing Russian demands for a resolution “without foreign military intervention” and expressly including a clause warning nations not to “resort to the use of force or the threat of force.”
But while the “Yemen solution” appears dead so far as Syria’s government is concerned, and the UN Security Council resolution is not going to force the issue, US and European governments are hard at work looking for a potential exile locale for Assad, should he eventually decide to step down. His choices appear limited – reportedly no European nation will take him, and the Saudis, the default exile hosts for most Arab dictators, do not particularly like Assad either. The United Arab Emirates is reportedly “open” to the idea, but this seems far from a solid deal, presenting one more obstacle to a negotiated solution.