Syria's Year Of Discontent
Where is Syria?
Let’s step back. We’ve seen the Arab Spring uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Bahrain. Today, we focus on Syria. This country of about 22 million people lies in the Middle-East, surrounded by Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea, Iraq, Turkey and Israel. Predominantly a Muslim country with various sects – Sunni being the majority, 10% of its population is Christian. Its President: Bashar al-Assad, however, is as unpopular as they come.
The Syrian uprising
Syria is not a new revolution. It started at the same time – 26th January, as other Arab uprisings. And neither has it been a peaceful one. The Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has clamped down on the protesters in a violent manner and there has been much bloodshed. The faction that is loyal to the President has been accused of atrocities on the ground, including looting and killing.
There is a widespread theory that the US is backing a regime change in Syria and pressure from the White House might be the reason for the latest stand taken by the Arab League. Nineteen member countries voted for the suspension of Syria if the crackdown on the protesters was not stopped. Only Lebanon and Yemen objected to it, while Iraq abstained (held back from) voting.
The Arab League also urged its member countries to call back their ambassadors from the Syrian capital – Damascus. They have called all Syrian opposition parties for a meeting at the Arab League Headquarters to decide on a course of action during the interim or transitional period. This is assuming the President steps down.
Meanwhile, the violence continues on the streets of Syrian cities. This is an unfolding story. We will be tracking it here on Youngzine – stay tuned, and watch this space for updates.
Here is a video about the Arab League decision: