Split in Arab League has some observers going home
The Gulf states have given up on the monitoring mission sponsored by the Arab League while other member states continue to support the mission.
Observers from Gulf Arab states left Syria on Wednesday after their governments said they were "certain the bloodshed and killing of innocents would continue," and the Arab League pursued U.N. support for a plan to end President Bashar al-Assad's rule.
But their colleagues in Damascus pledged to pursue the League's monitoring mission, now extended until February 23, to verify Syria's compliance with an earlier Arab peace plan.
"The departure of the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries will not have an impact on the mission's work. We are all professionals here and we can do the job," said a senior Arab monitor, who asked not to be named.
"We were around 170 or so and now with them leaving we are around 120," the monitor said. "We need more monitors of course and more will come soon to replace those who left."
Monitors from Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain left the Syrian capital and those from other Gulf states were expected to follow suit soon.
Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby and Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim al-Thani, who heads the League's committee on Syria, wrote jointly to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon setting out the plan for a political solution in Syria.
The letter asks for a "joint meeting between them in the U.N. headquarters to inform the Security Council about developments and obtain the support of the Council for this plan," a League statement said.
The latest Arab League peace plan calls for Assad to dialogue with opposition members in order to agree to a smooth handover of power. Assad would resign after a specified time and hand power to his Vice President.
The only way the plan would work is if the UN invaded and forced Assad to agree. That's not going to happen so the bloodshed will continue - as will the ineffectiveness of the Arab League in stopping the violence.