Reuters reports at Stuff:
Syria has rebuffed an Arab League call for President Bashar al-Assad step down in favour of a unity government as interference in its affairs, underlining its determination to defeat a 10-month-old uprising seeking Assad’s overthrow.
It was not immediately clear whether Syria would accept the League’s decision to keep Arab observers in the country for another month despite their failure to stem bloodshed in which hundreds of people have died since they deployed on December 26.
But any credibility the mission might retain was undermined when Saudi Arabia, a foe of Syria’s closest ally Iran, announced it would withdraw its own monitors because of the Syrian authorities’ failure to cooperate with its mandate. It was unclear if other Gulf states would follow suit. …
Rami Khouri, a Beirut-based commentator, said the unusually bold Arab plan announced at the Arab League’s Cairo headquarters on Sunday was clearly “bad news” for Assad.
“The fact that Arab countries would propose such a clear intervention and essentially order him to step aside and give him a mechanism to do so is quite a dramatic sign of how much credibility and legitimacy he has lost in the region,” he said.
It’s good to see the Arab League putting the pressure on Syria to stop killing its people, and to have elections. It makes it much harder for the regime to say the opposition is a tool of the United States etc.
However it is ironic that you have a league made up of so many countries that themselves do not have democratic elections, pushing for elections in Syria. I guess the difference is their monarchies are relatively benign, and are not killing their citizens. However even the House of Saud may feel the winds of change one day.