A few days ago, Bashar al-Assad pretended to accept an Arab League proposal to end the massacre of civilians in Syria. It’s not likely the Arab League was foolish enough to think Damascus was serious. At this late date you’d have to be very foolish indeed to believe anyone can make an honest deal with this man. So when Assad’s minions spent the next few days shooting up the place as though nothing had happened, the League voted to suspend Assad until he stops.
Of course he won’t stop until the country is quiet or he’s driven from power. He knows it, I know it, you know it, and the Arab League knows it. Even our most foolish representatives in Washington—with the possible exceptions of Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich—must know it by now.
Syria has been an outlier in the Arab world for a long time, partly because it’s ruled by non-Muslim Alawites, and also because it’s regionally allied with Persian Shias against Arab Sunnis. Assad’s championship of the great “cause” against Israel is no longer enough. His insistence that Syria is the beating heart of Arab nationalism is a lie no one of import can pretend to believe anymore.
Lebanon and Yemen voted against the Arab League suspension; Yemen because its government is also in a fight for its life and Lebanon because it has been reconquered by proxy. Iraq abstained. All the others voted to at least temporarily kick Syria out.
Assad may now even face sanctions from Arabs. If the Arab world decides to ratchet up the pressure just one notch from sanctions, Assad might actually fall. The Middle East will be a different place in his wake.