Arab League Authorizes Arms to Syrian Rebels

Invites Rebel Leadership to Join League

by Jason Ditz, March 06, 2013

Intense debate at the Arab League today ended with a resolution, pushed by Qatar primarily, to authorize member nations to provide arms to Syrian rebels for the purpose of regime change. The resolution also invited the rebels to take the Syrian government’s former seat at the League.

The resolution was pushed by members of the Saudi-led GCC, while Iraq, Lebanon and Algeria opposed it and refused to endorsed the final statement. Iraq and Lebanon have both seen spillover from the Syrian war in recent weeks, while Algeria is likely afraid of the precedent of backing rebels giving their own long history of unrest.

The “authorization” to arm rebels is likely little more than a formality, as Qatar and others have been openly doing so for months, funneling large amounts of weaponry across the Turkish border with US help.

In other news, Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague has announced his own nation will engage in “active efforts” to back Syria’s rebels after the EU relaxed an arms embargo on the nation. This will include providing the rebels with armored vehicles and body armor.

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