The Arab League's observer mission in Syria is deteriorating pretty quickly, as the six member states that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council withdrew their people as the Syrian foreign minister pledged to continue the state's crackdown on anti-government protesters. Tuesday's announcement that the GCC states would follow the lead of Saudi Arabia, which pulled out Sunday, doesn't mean a hard stop to the observer mission, but it signals a huge lack of confidence.
It's not only member-states that are losing confidence in the mission. According to the BBC, "Syria's foreign minister [Walid Muallem, pictured at left] said some Arab states had joined a foreign conspiracy to destabilize the country." On Monday, Syria rejected an Arab League peace plan that called for President Bashar al-Assad to step down, his vice president to take his place, and a unity government to form around a new constitution. The Syrian government rejected that as an infringement on its sovereignty and evidence of a "conspiratorial scheme" by the Arab League and the West, The New York Times reported. On Tuesday, Muallem doubled down on the conspiracy charges, alleging that the League "ignored a report from the Arab League observer mission that noted a decrease in the violence in areas it had monitored since the end of December." That's when the GCC members essentially threw up their hands and walked out, asking the U.N. Security Council to intervene instead. According to the BBC, "A Kuwaiti newspaper reported that the GCC did not want its monitors to be 'false witnesses to crimes committed against civilians.' "
Update (2:10 p.m.): Syria has agreed to a one-month extension of the observer mission.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.