Secret Session Ends: Arab League Warns But Doesn’t Suspend Syria

Alliance Seen Split on Protest Movement

Three hours of emergency talks behind closed doors came to an end for the Arab League today, with the alliance issuing a warning to Syria to enact a “ceasefire” in its attacks on protesters within 15-days.

The statement, however, made no mention of the possibility of suspending Syria, which was seen as a major topic of the discussion for the meeting. The league will also attempt to coordinate talks between Bashar Assad and the opposition.

The ultimatum makes little sense without the possibility of suspending Syria’s membership, and the statement seems to be a reflection of a growing split on how the league should deal with pro-democracy revolutions.

Suspension would’ve required a two-thirds majority among the bloc’s 21 other members, but a bloc of countries including neighboring Lebanon and Yemen, which is attempting its own bloody crackdown on dissent, were able to fend off the move. Saudi Arabia reportedly also attempted to convince the league to recognize the Syrian National Council (SNC), an opposition bloc based in Turkey.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.