Editorial : OIC-AL inaction - Sunday 24th April 2011

THE rising death toll in Syria is perhaps not as shocking as the paralysis that has gripped the Arab League and the Organisation of the Islamic Conference. Fridays in Syria have become days of bloodbath. Last Friday saw at least 75 people reportedly killed in protests across the country as security forces fired on demonstrators what an eyewitness called a rain of bullets. The scale and intensity of pro-democracy demonstrations have escalated, so have the people’s demands. If President Bashar al-Assad had yielded to their demands, which were quite modest in the beginning, the protests could perhaps have been managed. Now, because of the brutality with which the regime is crushing the uprising, the people no more want mere reform; they want a liquidation of the Baathist regime. The Assad family has been ruling Syria for more than four decades, and has never had any qualms about using force to crush dissent. In 1982, the president’s father, Hafez al-Assad, crushed a revolt in Hama in a way that shocked the world.
Today, the people of Bahrain, Libya, Syria and Yemen are up in arms against their unpopular regimes and paying with their blood. Yet it is shocking that the two forums that are supposed to represent the Arab and Islamic peoples — the AL and the OIC — have either not stirred or failed to adopt a uniform policy based on principles. In Libya, the AL called upon Nato to enforce a ‘no fly’ zone, but developed cold feet when Nato air strikes led to heavy civilian casualties. In Yemen, all that the AL has done is to call for a peaceful transition of power, but in Bahrain it looked the other way while the regime targeted the protesters. Its silence gave carte blanche to the Gulf Cooperation Council to act the way it wanted, and it goes without saying that the GCC’s six monarchies agreed to send a Saudi-led force to the island to suppress the people’s freedom movement. More regretfully, the GCC has sought to give a geopolitical colour to a domestic issue by enlisting the support of the European Union.
Throughout the current crisis that began with an act of self-immolation in Tunisia and quickly spread to other Arab countries, the OIC has maintained a contemptible silence. If it doesn’t have the military muscle to spring to action the way Nato has, the least the lame-duck organisation representing the over one billion Muslims of the world could have done was to make an appeal to the UN to come to the defence of the oppressed people.

Source : http://www.dawn.com/2011/04/24/oic-al-inaction.html

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