Arab League Meets to Decide: Time to Invite UN to Syria?
The Arab League is meeting in Cairo to decide whether it's time to invite the United Nations to join its mission to Syria, after repeatedly having to increase its monitor force to deal with escalations in clashes and a growing death toll that is rising by the thousands.
Despite the start of the Arab League's original 50-member observer mission to the country two weeks ago, government forces have continued the killings.
The 22-member nation body is at a crossroads, having decided to increase the mission to 153 monitors in order to deal with President Bashar al-Assad's clear unwillingness to end the slaughter of his people.
The monitors are dependent on Syria's government-provided drivers to move around the country, a self-defeating exercise that leaves the observers helpless to exert any real control over the situation, or even to get a real-time picture of what is happening on the ground.
The latest contingent of ten new observers arrived in the country on Saturday.
With the exception of a token withdrawal of tanks from a few cities, and the release of a few thousand prisoners -- a move the opposition referred to as a "photo op for the international cameras" -- little has changed on the ground. If anything, the violence may have escalated.
Close to 6,000 people have been killed by Assad's forces since the start of the anti-government protests that begin in mid-March 2011 with the advent of the Arab Spring that swept the Middle East.