Coalition Wins Syria's Seat in Surprise Arab League Vote

March 6, 2013

By SAS News Staff

Arab foreign ministers voted late Wednesday to grant the opposition Syrian Coalition Damascus’ chair at the Arab League.

In an apparent rejection of proposals for “political solution” for Syria, the League voted to encourage the arming the Syrian opposition.

“The Arab League recognition of the Coalition’s right to Syria’s seat is a key political victory for the Syrian people and the revolution,” said Burhan Ghalioun, first chairman of the Syrian opposition Transitional National Council. 

The surprise decision came after Lebanese Foreign Minister Adnan Mounsour proposed reinstating the Assad government’s full status at the Arab League in order to achieve a “political solution” for Syria.

Mansour’s proposal raised the ire of Qatar’s Foreign Minister Hammed Bin Jassem. Qatar has actively supported the political and military wings of the Syrian opposition.

Bin Jassem’s resolution called for the Coalition’s recognition as the only legitimate representative of the Syrian people at all international forums including the United Nations.

Bin Jassem counter proposal to Mansour’s essentially acknowledges Sheikh Moaz Khattib’s Coalition as the de facto government of Syria.

The Qatari counter resolution was backed by all 22-member states with the exception of Lebanon and Yemen. Majority Shi’a Iraq, and Algeria abstained from voting on the resolution Wednesday.

The resolution’s rebuke of the Assad government included replacement of the Baath party Syrian flag with the three star independence banner, granting the coalition government embassies in all Arab states and providing political support for the Coalition to form a transitional government.