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The beating heart of Arabism goes into cardiogenic shock

Guest post by DaveM

The Syrian reaction to having its Arab League membership suspended has been somewhat strange, even in comparison to the usual Ba’athist weirdness.

Aside from the usual enforced “spontaneous” rallies of support, Syria has responded to being kicked out of the Arab League by calling for an emergency Arab summit! The state news agency SANA reported:

An official source in the name of the Syrian Arab Republic on Sunday said taking into consideration that the repercussions of the Syrian crisis could affect the national security and cause grave damage to the joint Arab action, the Syrian leadership proposed an urgent call for holding an emergency Arab summit to tackle the Syrian crisis and look into its negative repercussions on the Arab situation.

Then Syria’s Foreign Minister, Walid al-Moulam, reacted to the Arab League decision to suspend its membership by holding a press conference where he defiantly claimed the following points, none of which we haven’t heard before.

–The suspension was a “dangerous step”
–The Syrian government is trying to implement dialogue
–The Syrian government is implementing reforms
–There are “armed groups”
–The “crisis,” rather than escalating, is in fact nearing its end
–The “crisis” is the result of conspiracies against Syria due to its strong Arabist stance

And of course

–Syria will remain the heart of Arabism and its impenetrable bastion.

What was weird was that at one point he called for ending media incitement against Syria:

“We discussed [in Doha] stopping the media instigation… we said that we’re prepared to reopen al-Jazeera’s office according to the bases of objectivity, but after seeing the escalation of instigation since November 2 we were surprised because when we were in Doha, they told us that is [sic] we agreed to the work plan then they would rally intellectuals, journalists and religious figures– including Yousef al-Qaradawi– to support this agreement, but this didn’t happen.

“When al-Jazeera observes objectivity, it will be welcome in Syria to tour its cities and see that we carried out item 6 of the Arab work plan, which is removing armed aspects from cities,” al-Moallem said.

Day Press reported:

Regarding media into Syria, Syrian FM said “Most importantly is to stop the media provocation & incitement & we all know who can take that decision (in reference to Qatar). When Al Jazeera becomes objective they will be welcomed into Syrian cities.”

This is weird because even though I’m not a big fan of Al Jazeera’s editorial line either, Syrian TV is not exactly a bastion of objectivity and neutrality.

For example in this clip from Addounia TV, an analyst responds to the Arab League’s suspension of Syria:

“So I honour you all, you sons of the whore, all of you are dogs and pigs, I exempt not one of you.

“With this beginning I am able, with this beginning I am able to feel sorry for this Arab situation. Indeed today the most debased Umma, the most debased Umma which says that Iran not Israel is the enemy, for it is this Umma. The most inferior Umma in the history of Ummas is this one.”

Assad is now considered so radioactive that even the usually cautious King Abdullah of Jordan has openly called for him to step down.

It’s also significant that while Walid al-Moulam was giving another one of his coma-inducing press conferences, the region’s other Walid now appears to be ready to jump ship and leave the Assad camp as soon as it’s safe to do so.

While there are no certainties in the Arab world the smart money is definitely on the Jumblatt and not on the Moulam.