Arab League will hold meeting on Thursday

By Lauren Dickens

On Thursday Nov. 24, the Arab League will meet in Qatar to determine the next steps that need to be taken surrounding the Syrian uprising. After the Ba’ath Party headquarters was attacked in the capitol city of Damascus, the Arab League set a deadline to determine the next phase for the country and possible exclusion from the league.

This all came about after protesters riding motorbikes threw grenades at the headquarters and then launched two rocket-propelled grenades at an outside wall of the building.

The Gulf News, based out of Dubai, reported on the issue on Nov. 21 and the Washington Post reported on it Nov. 20.

However, while the Arab League wants the meeting to push forward, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem thinks the meeting of the league is unimportant and needs to question the Arab League chief before continuing.

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The Arab League

One thing that was mentioned in the Washington Post article was Condeleeza Rice’s view of the whole situation. As a former secretary of state, she thinks that by overthrowing President Bashar al-Assad it will “lead to a more peaceful Middle East.”  She chose not to acknowledge that Syria is not the only country in the Middle East facing political strife. It seemed to me like she thinks if all the protest in Syria end then all of the Middle Eastern countries will be happy; I disagree.  Libya is still dealing with the aftermath of the overthrow of their government and Quaddafi’s Intelligence chief, Abdulla Senussi, was just seized on Saturday.

Those interviewed for the Washington Post, including Rice and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, didn’t have hopeful thoughts concerning the league meeting while the Gulf News seemed to have a more optimistic outlook and tone to its article.

In a way, I think if the meeting goes as planned it could be good for Syria to have some outside help in their political conflict. However, talking and doing are two different things. The Arab League can talk until everyone is voiceless, but if no action gets taken then it’s all useless. President Bashar al-Assad has said in the past that he’s going to stop using force but have we actually seen anything being done?  I think the president knows exactly what is going on and he is just trying to drag it out as long as he possibly can. On Thursday the league will come to a conclusion on what to next. All we can do is wait and see if the outcome will be better or worse for the country. If the meeting does not go well, then more bad consequences on the country will be likely.

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About middleeastcommentary

As an Associate Professor in Electronic Media Communication at Middle Tennessee State University, I teach courses in Media in the Middle East, among other courses analyzing media. I also produce media -- a recent documentary on the Kurds of Northern Iraq "More than the Mountains: Kurdistan of Iraq" produced following two trips to Iraq in 2005 and 2008.
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2 Responses to Arab League will hold meeting on Thursday

  1. For the debate that we’re doing in class I’ve been reading a lot of articles about how the Arab Spring and democracy in the Middle East is a threat to the West (Here’s an example of Netanyahu calling it anti-democratic: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/8913577/Arab-Spring-anti-democratic-says-Benjamin-Netanyahu.html). Rice and Clinton’s less than hopeful comments about the Arab Spring could almost be purposeful in that framing the events happening in the Middle East as possibly destructive could take away support from the uprisings. Maybe I’m being a little too X-Files government conspiracy theorist, but I read the Gulf News article and from the beginning it already seemed much more hopeful about the Arab League meeting. In fact, the Arab League deputy secretary called the event “extraordinary.”
    Reading articles like this really makes me think about agenda-setting: How does American media want the people to view this event versus how is this event being reported in Middle East where it is actually happening?

  2. Megan Bryan says:

    I agree with Taylor’s comment about agenda-setting. We’ve studied it a lot in one of our other classes, and I think she brings up an interesting point about how the American media wants people to view what is happening in the Middle East, in comparison to how Middle Eastern news sources are reporting the events. I think the American media and government have a very one-side, biased view of anything happening in the Middle East (as most anyone does), and this is reflected in almost every article coming out of an American newspaper or broadcast.

    In addition, I think you brought up a very good (and valid) point in your own thoughts about this situation. I agree with your thoughts about President Bashar al-Assad, and what he has said and done in the past. I agree, talking about things and putting them into action are two very different things, and the President needs to follow through on what he has said.

    Megan Bryan

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