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Arab League Offers Assad 'Safe Exit'

Bodies at a cemetery in the Qabon district of Damascus on July 22
Bodies at a cemetery in the Qabon district of Damascus on July 22
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The Arab League has offered President Bashar al-Assad a "safe exit" from Syria for him and his family if he steps down.

Arab League Secretary-General Nabil Elaraby gave no further details on the proposal at an Arab League foreign ministers' meeting in Doha, Qatar.

The Arab League meeting also promised $100 million for Syrian refugees who have fled to neighboring countries.

The meeting urged rebels of the Free Syrian Army to create a transitional government of national unity.

The move, however, was denounced by Iraqi officials.

Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the matter was "the sole responsiblity of the Syrian people."

Deputy Foreign Minister Labid Abbawi said the call was "not appropriate at this time because it is interfering in the sovereignty of another country."

Baghdad has repeatedly called for negotiations and reform since the uprising against Assad began in March 2011

On July 23, Syria's Foreign Ministry rejected the Arab League's offer and called the league's statement "hypocritical.".

A Syrian Foreign Ministry spokesman said the security situation in Damascus is improving and will be normalized within days and rejected an Arab League offer to provide a "safe exit" for Assad.

Fighting between the rebels and government forces was meanwhile reported continuing in Damascus and Aleppo.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the death toll since the uprising against Assad began in March 2011 now exceeds 19,000 people.

The figure could not be independently confirmed.

European Union foreign ministers have decided to enforce an existing arms embargo against Syria by requiring member nations to board ships and aircraft carrying suspicious cargo to the war-torn nation.

The ministers, meeting in Brussels, endorsed the measure and added 27 Syrian individuals and three companies to the bloc's sanctions list.

The EU banned weapons exports to Syria in May 2011 but until now member states could decide themselves whether to inspect cargoes believed to be in breach of the embargo.

Syria's military arsenal is mainly of Soviet and Russian origin.

Very little of its weaponry originates from Western nations, which makes it unlikely that the EU arms embargo will have a significant effect.

In a related development, the United States has said it will "hold accountable" any Syrian official involved in the release or use of the country's chemical weapons.

White House spokesman Jay Carney says Washington is actively consulting with Syria's neighbors and the international community about concerns over Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles

A spokesman for Syria's Foreign Ministry said Damascus would only use chemical weapons in response to "aggression" coming from outside the country.

Spokesman Jihad Makdissi told a news conference that the government would never use such weapons against Syrians.

He added that the country's chemical-weapons stockpiles remain well-protected by the military, despite the conflict engulfing the nation.


Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, AFP, and RFE/RL's Rikard Jozwiak in Brussels
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by: gorka de Zamakona from: Houston Texas
July 23, 2012 05:39
We have sat and allowed Assad's father gas his people and safe doing the same with his son. The west's hippocrates have no shame. they could by now have put a drone in his bedroom and blow him to hell. Through history we have embraced other butchers like Franco Pinocshet The Shall of Iran and others that's why we have no credibility.

by: Khan
July 23, 2012 05:50
Who the heck are you to warn Syria ?? Are you a world police/God or something? You invade countries, bomb people illegally in Afghanistan and Pakistan and shameless enough to warn other countries to not to do the same? Filthy politics of Filthy states of America!
In Response

by: Starling from: Lafayette, LA
July 23, 2012 16:33
Can def see your point, but there are lots of Americans who dont agree w/ the type of world policing youre talking about, or of the high-casualty profiteering this country has become known for. But we are also a ppl who dont like to see ppl butchered for simply trying to live under a tyrannical psychopath...not that the US doesnt have its share of pyschopath leaders.
The difference is btw civilian and leader and their is often a huge gap btw them. A civilian, tho, is free to feel how he wants. The leader is supposed to act on civilian behalf, but gets paid way more by the profiteers of war & conflict.
In Response

by: Joint venture from: Paris
July 24, 2012 10:56
Starling
Your judgement is playing wrong. How about the 8 millions death extermined in the Congo conflit who are on the base of cpnflit? what the United States did? nothing bevccause the land have all mendelief elements, the coltans, and uraniom. Congo is the poorest Country on the earth while tgey suppose to be powerful. stop lieing.
In Response

by: Demetrius Minneapolis from: House of Sa'ud
July 23, 2012 21:25
Yeah America and NATO, stay out of this engagement. I have bets on how many Sunni Assad kills before he's over thrown and I'm not meeting the over/under yet.
Does that please you Khan?

by: Jack from: US
July 23, 2012 14:10
Arab League is a club of minions on Israeli leash. Assad should offer them a safe passage out of this world

by: Anonymous
July 23, 2012 18:33
someone mentions "the west's" (whatever that means) "hypocrites".
mostly, expression like these come from Muslims who live in the west! that there is a lot of hypocrisy in some politics is obvious.

the arab league and arab and muslim nations though... what have they done in the last ten - twenty years?
nothing about assad, nothing about the king of morocco, nothing about ben ali and ghaddafi, saddam hussein, the king of jordan, the king of saudi arabia, etc., the sheikh in bahrein, etc.
these regimes, governments, etc. do not really reflect the incarnation of universal human rights, not to mention the implementation of specific surat.
besides, some people in these countries with the help of some people in the west have brought change about recently, precisely through violence and revolutions.

the arab league, qatar, saudi arabia and others now want to see assad dead (well, the emphasis is on "now". five to ten years ago no one was even thinking of such an idea.)
yet, since the strategy of the arab league to finance some fighters and to overthrow the regime wasn't successful, now they think they'll provide him with "a safe exit". from assad's perspective this is probably just ridiculous.

by the way, some politicians in the west undoubtedly support dictators. yet, the ones who continuously cry against "the west" should realize that many people in the arab, muslim world, in iran with the shah, in african nations, in south america support precisely these dictators and do profit. and these people are not only in the west. who did support the shah? who did support saddam hussein, ghaddafi, etc. Not only the U.S., berlosconi, blair, etc. also some iranians, arabs, etc.
what do you think, some people in the west could alone just form somewhere in washington, london, paris, etc. "manipulate entire nations" without the help, the assistance, the knowledge and the intention of specific powers, movements, interest groups in these countries.
responsibility and self-reflection seems a great strength in some places.
"the west", "the west", "always the west".
the predicament for western nations is that if they leave, if they don't interfere in some conflicts, then of course it's again their responsibility. (genocide, arbitrary killings, executions, mass graves, torture, etc.)
the picture is obviously more complex.

asking for weapons, for financial help, for military intervention, for asylum, for political support, etc.
yet, always being against "the west".

read some psychologist on the differences between education of youths and self-perception in the western and the muslim worlds.
in the muslim world (of course slightly biased and generalized (that's true!)) mostly, responsibility for mistakes and problems is quite often passed onto the west (or others). many people don't like to assume responsibility. the guilt is (almost) always shifted to others.
and this expression "the west bla", "the west bla" really reflects this phenomenon perfectly.

(by the way, this doesn't imply that all people behave this way, but unfortunately a vast majority.)
and of course "in the west" there are also many challenges and problems and many crazy people who do not assume their responsibility and cause a lot of problems. NO DOUBT!

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