Has the Arab League mortally wounded itself by declaring war on Syria?

Has the Arab League mortally wounded itself by declaring war on Syria?


This week the global community saw that the Charter and by-laws of the Arab League, has not been respected with respect to the Syrian crisis from the beginning despite its mission to bring together Arabs. Rather it has been actively working to prevent coming together especially with respect to Syria.


by Franklin Lamb

Frankly, it never was much of a “League” of Arab states. And arguably it never really achieved a whole lot but two dozen lavish ‘summits’ offering inflated rhetoric, often calculated to assuage the Arab people about their central cause, Palestine.

This, despite high hopes across Arabia when its founders promulgated a Charter on March 22, 1945 and took a solemn oath to prevent the theft of Palestine by European colonists. Yet, notions of fundamental fairness require that we all acknowledge, that to its credit, the Arab League has tried to achieve a modicum of pan-Arab cooperation on issues involving economic and financial affairs, commercial relations, customs, currency and questions of agriculture and industry, communications including, railroads, roads, aviation, navigation, postal services, cultural affairs, nationality, passports, visas, execution of judgments and extradition of criminals and  even a bit regarding social affairs and health issues.

Despite years of pledges to eliminate visas requirements, along the lines of the European Ginga visa it should be noted that only one Arab country has waived visas for their Arab sisters and brothers internationally.

That would be the Syrian Arab Republic.

It is Syria, along with Palestine, out of all the 22 Arab League members, who most consistently and steadfastly have represented Arab Nationalism, Arab resistance to occupation, and the stated goals enunciated 66 years ago when the Arab League was established.

Many are asking why the ‘sanctions of its members-happy’ Arab League consistently fails to act on what is happening in Palestine and why it never has  kept its pledge to suspend  the AL membership of countries that host Israeli embassies against their people’s will.

There was once upon a time, now appearing far, far, away, that the Arab League countries were trying to achieve the liberation of Palestine.  Or so they claimed.  Then suddenly, the association morphed into twenty countries claiming to being committed to solving the issues of Palestine and Lebanon. Low and behold it was not so long after that the Arab League became nineteen countries trying to solve the questions of Palestine, Lebanon and Somalia.

How we all change with time.  This week, during the 24th “Arab Summit” eleven countries, being pressured by outside interests with hegemonic geopolitical visions for the region, claimed they wanted to solve life’s problems on behalf of the other members.

If there is an Arab summit ten years from now, what will its agenda like?

This week the global community saw that the Charter and by-laws of the Arab League, has not been respected with respect to the Syrian crisis from the beginning despite its mission to bring together Arabs. Rather it has been actively working to prevent coming together especially with respect to Syria.

The organization was created at the time when a racist Zionist state was considered extremely unlikely by most countries but, to make sure, an association of Arab states was organized to prevent, at all costs, the rumored Zionist project from becoming a reality. The first decision of the newly established League of Arab States was to boycott any Jewish organization that would assistant in the theft of Palestine by the European financed Zionist movement.

Today unfortunately, and perhaps fatally for the AL, the complete obverse has obtained.  In countless ways the Arab League is supporting the occupation of Palestine, while allowing itself to be preempted and shaped into an instrument of Western foreign policy as it plots against and among its own members their minders behalf.  Far removed from its raison d’etre which according to its Charter is to focus on and ensue a coming together of its members, it does everything that would promote the desires of the Zionist occupiers of Palestine while dividing  the Arabs and preventing any kind of real union among them.

Much as the USA and its allies have corralled and preempted the UN Security Council, its agents have hijacked the League of Arab states and five other regional organizations.  Now in their sites according to congressional source who follows this issue. One international organization that has entered the sights of these western controlled hegemonic forces is the revitalized the Non-aligned Movement (NAM), currently chaired by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Some Arab League analysts claim that here won’t be much left of the Arab League by 2020. One joke currently making the rounds on Capitol Hill is “Which will implode first, the Arab League or its master, the Zionist occupiers of Palestine?” Answer:  “Too close to call.”

Last week in Doha, Qatar, the proceedings amounted to a deep self-inflicted, perhaps fatal, wound for the AL. Its legitimacy unraveled when it essentially declared war on one of its founding members and replaced it with its anointed, funded, staffed, armed, recognized, group with not the faintest pretense of abiding by its Charter including Article VIII, a main pillar of the concept of a League of Arab States:

“Each member-state shall respect the systems of government established in the other member-states and regard them as exclusive concerns of those states. Each shall pledge to abstain from any action calculated to change established systems of government.”

In summary, there is nothing in the Arab League Charter permitting that body to expel or even sanction Syria. In fact, doing so violates the Charter.  As seen many times, but recently in Libya, foreign intervention is never humanitarian rather it is always geo-political.  Syrians, not by outsiders can best solve its internal problems.

Is it now left to the BRICS states —  Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa to stand up to the AL and to help halt the conflict in Syria?  There is growing sentiment in Syria that this group of five emerging powers may become a major hope for the Syrian people that suffer from blatant foreign interference in their affairs and suffering from the Arab League acting against their interests. The AL members who voted to expel or sanction Syria are merely channeling the geo-political interests of the United States and Israel, which are increasingly viewed among the Arab pubic as “unofficial members” of the Arab League.


There is no escaping the fact that the result of the decisions made in Doha is that the Arab League has refused a peaceful settlement for Syria and that the AL recognition of the national coalition as the only legitimate representative of the Syrian people contradicts the Geneva Communique and makes irrelevant, as Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pointed out this week, the mission of UN and Arab League mediator for Syria, Brahimi.   Given that one of the founders of the mandate, the Arab League, proclaims that the national opposition is the only legitimate Government of Syria, advocates and joins in the arming of the forces anointed to oust the regime how can there be negotiations? 

This decision to supply arms to the Syrian opposition not only violates international law, but again in the words of Lavrov, “is a blatant encouragement of confrontation of the irreconcilable forces on both sides to make them fight this war to the bitter end.”

Franklin Lamb a former Assistant Counsel of the US House Judiciary Committee and Professor of International Law at Northwestern College of Law, Portland, Oregon. Lamb earned his Law Degree at Boston University and his LLM, M.Phil, and PhD degrees at the London School of Economics. He is based in Beirut and  currently reporting from Damascus. He can be reached at: fplamb@gmail.com





  1. It is pleasing to see someone of Franklin Lamb's stature having such faith in the BRICS alliance. As he said……..
    "There is growing sentiment in Syria that this group of five emerging powers may become a major hope for the Syrian people that suffer from blatant foreign interference in their affairs and suffering from the Arab League acting against their interests"
    When compared to the Arab League as a 'power for good', there really is not the slightest doubt that with the record to date and the objectives now in train by this emerging power block, BRICS, they have more chance to bring a solution to Syria than anyone else, vested interests being the motivation for all other "interested" parties. 
    As for the Arab League, right from the very beginning their stated interests in and efforts towards protecting Palestine failed miserable as the Western powers with their influencing abilities continually eroded any great efforts to do good for the member states.  Particularly Palestine. A most disgraceful non-effort.
    Mr Lamb has obvioiusly had far more confidence in the motivations of the individual states in the AL making up the whole of this self-centred consortium, all far too interested in their own welfare than any individual member.
    When analysed, it is difficult to find noteworthy achievement in fifty years. It is not a force for good or for change, controlled as it is by a few. Forget the AL as any chance for them to contribute anything is gone, even if they had a desire to do so, Questionable.
    Yes, it is BRICS that can make a difference, not just in Syria but in the world at large. The speech by Putin at the end of March G20 Conference showed clearly that we are dealing with a different Russia, one that wants involvement, and as for China, the emerging world #1 power, a partnership for peace, hopefully.
    Adding an "I" for Iran, making it BRICSI would ensure Iran's safety from the marauding Israel and its attack dog, the US. What better way is there for even those warmongers to see that they are now dealing with a consotium that is just to big to annoy.
    A "DO NOT DISTURB" sign when placed in any area identified by the US as an expansion target for military hegemony with little Zionist Israel tagging along, hiding being the US soldiers dying by the thousands as we have seen for the past 10 years, may have the desired effect. No more will we have to tolerate the US catch phrases  of  "protecting the world from terrorists", bringing the imaginative "al Qaeda"  to heel and "controlling the Taliban" now about to re-take Afghanistan, locK stock and barrel.
    There hasn't been  such a positive development in fifty years.
    It needs our support

  2. I would  enjoy adding something to this article but even searching through my records of years past, I am unable to find any glaring example of where the AL contributed to the improvement of an Arab nation. In fact, the more I look, the less I find.
    I am not aware of how long this organisation has been constituted so if there has been great decisions made as I am confident is hopefully addressed in the original charter, I would be pleased to be acquainted by someone more knowledgeable than I am of these facts.
    I do recall some years ago an article in Al Jazeera along these lines in 2008 or 2009…… 
    “It was seen to be  easier to recollect the failures of the Arab League than it is to draw on their achievements over the past few years.
    At a time when the idea of establishing an Arab League was still new, there were, mainly, two things that brought the Arab world together – Arab unity and the question of Palestine – but I can't see how those two concepts are valid in today's world.
    For one thing, the concept of Arab unity no longer exists; it is obsolete and holds no relevance to the Middle East and its current social and political make-up. Evidence of that is in the way the Arab League has dealt with the question of Palestine”
    That says it all in my book. Imagine what could have been achieved in that  direction alone
    So that seems to  herald the death throes for the Arab League, an anachronism in 2013. Toothless and useless and now mortally wounded in their newly stated attitude to the Syrian crisis.
    One does smell some outside influence in that decision.   Is that cynical?
    Hardly a League for peace and prosperity.

    • The global anti-war movement must be revived as a mass political movement..…

      Let's Unite to stop the growing war against Syria.

      Conference at Damascus 28 th and 29th April against war, in solidarity with Syrian people


      The Arab collaborators in this war have their heads buried too deeply in the sand to realize that their asses are showing and vulnerable,and that sure as camels shit, they will be hit when the time comes.

      The writing has been on the wall all along for anyone to see. Have they never read Hertzl ?


      I present below Dr. Alan Sabrosky's email dated Dec. 22, 2009 to the Egyptian Ambassador in the US,still relevant.


      From: Alan Sabrosky
      Date: Tue, Dec 22, 2009 at 8:27 PM
      Subject: Gaza Freedom March & Egypt's future
      To: omaryoussef@hotmail.com


      I understand the pressure Egypt is under, but I suggest you consider questions pertaining to a 99% certain future scenario:

          1.    Just what does Egypt think Israel will do to Egypt once the Palestinians have been expelled into Jordan & the Sinai; Iran has been crushed by the US; and it has done the same to Syria?

          2.    Does Egypt really think Israel will forget its lingering claim to all of the Sinai Peninsula, and its west bank?

          3.    Does Egypt REALLY think the US will protect it from Israel then, or that the UN can or will do so?

      Either Egypt helps take a stand against Israel now, or as sure as the Pharaohs once ruled that part of the world, Israel will stand on the prostrate political corpse of Egypt.


      Alan Sabrosky, Ph.D



  3. Correct me if I am wrong. When Debbie said  above "let us unite to stop the global war against Syria" we all know from years of experience that no one unites in this world, no one shares ideas, no one shows interest in or provides a contribution to a common front against the evils of this world.
    I can remeber an article perhaps a week or so ago when Rex Williams, while congratulating CNI for its article, strongly suggested that we (activists) all unite under a common banner to make a difference.
    I would be pleased to know if there was any positive response to that suggestion.
    Being something of a realist, I would say that he would not have heard from a single sole, with perhaps the exception of the seriously dedicated,  such as Alan Sabrosky or the already converted, such as the people who write and comment in these pages. I would imagine that he would have been hoping for something like a outpouring of ideas to make a common effort, all for just such  a cause as ending the contrived "war" inside Syria, knowing of the dirty  hands that are contributing to that disgraceful and unnecessary loss of life.
    Perhaps he may care to comment as to the reaction……..if any.

  4. May I add  something
    Try this website, Global Research occasionally.
    The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest — but the myth — persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic.” – JFK
    Contemplate that comment from a US realist President of the USA, There were one two others, Eisenhower and Carter. They saw Israel for what it was and what it has now become
    If any of the readers in these columns today do not see a need to implement some form of cooperative effort to beat the forces that have the US on its knees in 2013, then I would be surprised. Why would you be reading pages such as these?
    However, it is the well-organised, professional people that we need to attract, people like Anti-war, Council for the National Interest, Mondoweiss, and others. We all know who they are and the good work they do (indirectly) for peace, because no one is doing anything directly for peace. No one. Just touching the edges.
     Support for a common cause is mandatory. Is there anyone who thinks that the Israelis, their apologists, their political goyims in the Senate and the Congress, the Zionists controlling the media, the Federal Reserve, magazines, the public service, financial institutions, weapons manufacturing, security establishments and Telecommunication organisations are not organised?
    If there is anyone, do not bother to continue to read this comment. You are a fully paid up member of the Madhatter’s Tea Party.
    “There is a place. Like no place on Earth. A land full of wonder, mystery, and danger!  Some say to survive it, you need to be as mad as a hatter, which luckily you appear to be”.(A variation on Alice (‘the world’) in Wonderland)

  5. Ok i heard this song for the first time for years and i think it sums up every atrocitie/war that the dogooders are trying to drum up. From Palestine and Syria to Korea and China. In other words we can talk about it. This song was made for the Australian Aboriginals and still stands to this day.
    The Dead Country…Midnight Oil
    We don't serve your country
    Don't serve your king
    Know your custom don't speak your tongue
    White man came took everyone

    We don't serve your country
    We don't serve your king
    White man listen to the songs we sing
    White man came took everything

    We carry in our hearts the true country
    And that cannot be stolen
    We follow in the steps of our ancestry
    And that cannot be broken

    We don't serve your country
    We don't serve your king
    Know your custom don't speak your tongue
    White man came took everyone

    We don't need protection
    Don't need your hand
    Keep your promise on where we stand
    We will listen we'll understand

    We carry in our hearts the true country
    And that cannot be stolen
    We follow in the steps of our ancestry
    And that cannot be broken
    We carry in our hearts the true country
    And that cannot be stolen
    We follow in the steps of our ancestry
    And that cannot be broken

    Mining companies, pastoral companies
    Uranium companies
    Collected companies
    Got more right than people
    Got more say than people

    Forty thousand years can make a difference to the state of things
    The dead heart lives here

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