March 28, 2013
SAS reporter Abbas Deiri spoke with one of the supporters of the Syrian National Coalition, Ammar Abu Shaheen, who was present in Cairo earlier this month and gave us a glimpse into the Arab League’s preliminary negotiations there that led to this week’s Arab Summit. The League granted the demands of the Coalition and other activists, allowing Arab countries to arm Syrian rebels as they see fit, and allowing the Coalition to open an embassy in Doha as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people.
Q: Which states backed giving the Coalition Syria’s seat and which ones rejected?
A: All [i.e. most] Arab foreign ministers agreed on the Coalition’s right to Syria’s seat at the Arab League – after the Lebanese FM suggested to lift Syria’s suspension.
Q: What was the Iraqi position towards this?
A: The Iraqi rejection was clear and didn’t surprise us because the Iraqi government took a stance against our revolution since the very beginning. Iraqi FM Hoshyar Zebari argued that the seat is entitled to states not oppositions. A controversy took place between him and Egypt FM Mohamed Kamel Amr about this.
Q: Why didn’t they have further discussions about this and vote on it a day later?
A: This step was late in the first place, and it can’t wait for more discussions after two years of Syrians’ suffering. It’s obvious the Arab ministers had discussed this before they came to this conclusion.
Q: Where are the Lebanese now after the statements by their FM?
A: What Lebanon says is that they’re neutral but it’s become clear that Lebanon is one of the states backing the Assad regime.
Q: What will the opposition achieve through this Arab League recognition?
A: It’s a political victory for the Syrian opposition. This will enable the Arab states to legally arm the opposition. The next step will be at the UN where Syrians might get more justice.