The Doha Arab League Summit of 2013; controversial membership of SNC within the league:
The Syrian National Coalition (SNC) has finally gained full-membership within the Arab League to represent the whole of Syria after ongoing talks during the Arab League summit earlier last Month in Doha, Qatar. The Syrian Government led by Bashar Al-Assad expressed his disappointment with the decision and indicated that the Arab League included “bandits and thugs” to represent Syria within the League. Assad argues that the SNC do not stand as a good representative of the Syrian people as a whole. This sheds light on the controversial role in Syria; whether Assad’s government is a more legitimate representative of the Syrian people as opposed to the SNC, or vice versa. Assad’s government was suspended due to its constant “brutal crackdowns” on opposition movements in Syria according to Arab League members. Assad’s regime has lost all legitimacy in the eyes of the Arab League member-state’s leaders, which was especially highlighted during the recent Doha summit. On the other hand, there are detractors against the stance of the SNC in Syria. Adil Darwish, a historian and political editor of the Middle East Magazine emphasized on this point. He emphasized on the illegitimacy of Arab regimes by mentioning how all Arab republics came to existence through military coups, and not through “democratic” means, including Assad’s government. However, he argues that the SNC’s new-found legitimacy and power within the Middle Eastern Region is illegitimate in itself. In other words, Darwish argues that the SNC did not gain its current legitimacy through democratic means of free and fair elections within Syria. Therefore the potential regime of the SNC does not vary to that of Assad’s regime.
Iran and Russia criticizes Arab League’s latest Doha Summit:
Among the biggest and most influential supporters of Bashar Al Assad’s regime since the civil war in Syria broke out in 2011 is Iran and Russia. Both countries were angered with the Arab League’s decision to include the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) to represent Syria within the league in lieu of Assad’s government during last week’s Doha summit. Iran’s government sees Syria as a key ally among the axis of resistance against Israel. Iran’s Shia-led government also sees Assad’s regime as a safeguard against extremist Sunni groups within Syria. Iran suggested a six-point plan for Syria, emphasizing on the significance of elections and reforms. However, Iran does not accept the elimination of Assad’s regime, indicating that change or a solution to the crisis should be addressed “inside” the country without external interferences of other countries or bodies alike. Due to this Iran believes that the Arab League should be seen as an illegitimate and inefficient organization that should also not be taken seriously with regards to international affairs. Likewise, Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, also criticized the the Arab league’s exclusion of Assad’s regime in favour of the SNC, which was further intensified after the SNC’s official membership within the league recently. A fundamental reason explaining Russia’s support for Assad’s regime is primarily due to the fact that Assad’s government is their main and strongest ally within the Middle Eastern region. Lavrov indicates that the SNC’s membership within the Arab League signals an intention to provide the opposition with weapons, which effectively destroys efforts to negotiate a peaceful end to the civil crisis in Syria. He also indicates that the implication by Arab League members to bluntly and fully endorse the SNC as the only legitimate representative of the Syrian people as a whole is wrong. Finally, Lavrov believes that the SNC is accountable for destroying the Kofi Annan Peace Plan, which aimed to launch a cease-fire between Assad’s government and the SNC in order to halt the crisis in Syria in mid-2012. Lavrov believes that this plan was meant to form the creation of a transitional government which would run the country until the next elections. Therefore Lavrov believes that the SNC should not have resorted to attacking means in trying to solve the crisis.