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News Analysis: Arab League's plan for joint force difficult to be realized in the short run

By Shaimaa Behery, Li Laifang (Xinhua)

12:13, February 13, 2012

CAIRO, Feb. 12 (Xinhua) -- The Arab League (AL) on Sunday adopted new moves aimed at ending the Syrian crisis, calling for a joint UN-AL peacekeeping force to monitor the situation while ending its own observer mission.

The pan-Arab body also called for starting communication channels with the Syrian opposition and offering all forms of political and material support for them.

But Syria rejected the decisions immediately. The mounting pressure on the Syrian government by the AL seemed unlikely to be realizable or effective in the short run to end the Syrian crisis which began in March 2011, analysts say.

"To form a joint force may help stop bloodshed in the Syrian lands, but it has to be based on certain conditions," said Noha Bakr, political science professor at the American University in Cairo.

"The first condition to get such peacekeeping missions in work is to send them into the lands where violence has already stopped, but the violence is still going on in Syria, so the decision is useless," said Bakr.

"The second is the approval of the host country. (Syrian President Bashar al-) Assad won't accept such a mission," she added.

The AL has resorted to the new plan after it suspended its own observer mission due to the violence in Syria. The Arab observer mission was much criticized for its failure in stopping the violence.

The 22-member AL urged the Arab countries to tighten economic sanctions on Syria and to stop any diplomatic cooperation with those who represent the Syrian regime.

"I don't think all these sanctions will lead to an end to the Syrian crisis," Noha said.

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