November 15, 2011 | Quote

The Arab League Goes After Assad

While the Arab League’s action comes belatedly, after thousands of Syrians have been slaughtered or tortured or simply disappeared, it is nevertheless welcome news. Jonathan Schanzer of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies e-mails me, “More pressure on Syria is a good thing, no matter who applies it. Of course, many of these regimes are just as repressive as Syria. They have simply not been faced (yet) with the same domestic pressures.”

This, he remarks, is noteworthy as well in terms of Iran. “What I find remarkable here is that the Arabs have finally mustered up the courage to challenge Iran’s proxy in the region. Perhaps this is a response to the plot against the Saudi ambassador. Perhaps it’s a response to the IAEA report. Either way, challenging the legitimacy of Syria is a significant challenge to Iran. This is bold for the Arab League.”

Now the Arab League by itself, of course, will not topple Assad. As Schanzer observes, the dictator’s ouster “won’t happen unless the Obama Administration finally steps up and assumes leadership. Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be happening anytime soon.” In last night’s foreign policy debate, both Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich took the Obama administration to task for not doing more and acting sooner to undermine the regime, which is aligned with Iran.