The Emir of Qatar on Tuesday called for an Arab intervention force to be sent to Syria to halt the escalating conflict.
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, a key backer of the Syrian opposition, made the call at the U.N. General Assembly after U.N. leader Ban Ki-moon said the conflict had become “calamity” that threatens global peace.
U.S. President Barack Obama called for the international community to join together to end the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.
Because of the failure of international efforts to end the war “it is better for Arab countries themselves to intervene out of their humanitarian, political and military duties and do what is necessary to stop the bloodshed,” al-Thani told the General Assembly.
The Emir cited the precedent of an Arab intervention force sent to Lebanon in the 1970s in a bid to halt that country’s civil war. He called the Arab League-backed operation in 1976 “a step that proved to be effective and useful.”
The Qatar leader is a fierce critic of Assad whose government has accused Qatar and Saudi Arabia of arming Syrian rebels.
Al-Thani said the 18-month old Syrian conflict “has reached an unacceptable phase” and that an intervention was needed because all efforts to “get Syria out of the cycle of killing” had been in vain and the U.N. Security Council has “failed” to take a stand.
Meanwhile, Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi said early Tuesday that he opposes any foreign military intervention in the Syria conflict but believes President Bashar al-Assad must go.
Mursi said the diplomatic quartet of Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey could help end the 18-month-old conflict. “I am against foreign intervention by force in what happens in Syria. I do not condone this and I think that it is a big mistake if it happens,” he added through an interpreter. “Egypt does not agree to this.”
Mursi, a former senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood who became Egypt’s first democratically elected President in June, said Arab nations should “support the people of Syria in their march toward freedom.”
“President Assad has no choice but to leave. There is no room for political reform. Change is what the people want, and the will of the people must be respected,” Mursi added.
Source: AFP; Photo: Reuters