Arab League Secretary-General Nabil El-Araby has called on Syrian opposition groups to unite against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
El-Araby made the remarks at the start of a two-day-long conference, hosted by the Arab League, that brought together some 250 members of the Syrian opposition in Cairo, The Associated Press reported.
"There is an opportunity before the conference of Syrian opposition today that must be seized, and I say and repeat that this opportunity must not be wasted under any circumstance," he said.
This is the first such gathering to be hosted by the Arab League.
Syria has been the scene of violence since March 2011.
The West and its regional allies accuse the government of killing protesters, but Damascus blames “outlaws, saboteurs, and armed terrorist groups” for the unrest, insisting that it is being orchestrated from abroad.
Press TV talks with Lawrence Davidson, professor of West Chester University, regarding the issue. What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Let’s take a look at this. The United Nations seems to be actually admitting that these armed groups are getting arms from the outside. Tell us the significance now.
It seems even some international organizations are starting to admit that there are arms that are reaching these armed groups. How significant are these statements and will it make a difference in what exactly is going on there?
I do not think it is really that significant and I do not think it is going to make a difference in terms of what is going on there. It is the recognition obviously of a reality that has been going on since last March, since the beginning of the rebellion against Damascus.
It is really just an admittance that we have got a civil war going on here. In terms of the Qataris and the Saudis continuing to funnel the weapons in there and the Americans looking the other way or simply not responding to it, these UN statements will change nothing about that.
Now we have the head of the Arab League calling on the Syrian opposition to unite against President Assad’s government. Let’s look at this. On the one hand, we have the international organizations or at least the envoy, Kofi Annan saying that everyone should put down the arms and this is what they decided in the meeting the other day.
But here we have the head of the Arab League calling on the Syrian opposition to unite against the government. How do we put these two together? And what exactly does that mean?
Well, the two do not go together at all dude and so what it means is that the supporters of the rebellions in Syria have simply decided that they can keep this going and that they feel eventually that they can wear the Damascus government down and therefore they do not need the UN.
So they are going to simply ignore that. Now when the UN envoy called for referring the issues of violence to the ICC [International Criminal Court]…