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Arab League Gets New Sense of Purpose With Syria Pressure: View

Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Syria’s rejection on Monday of an Arab League plan calling for the country’s president, Bashar Al-Assad, to hand over power was not a surprise, and neither should it be seen as a setback.

Rather, those hoping for an end to Syria’s bloodshed should be heartened that the league, long a cozy club for dictators, has found a new sense of purpose. Assad is nowhere near feeling the sort of pressure on his regime that forced Yemen’s strongman, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to accept a similar deal from the Gulf Cooperation Council in November. Although it will be largely up to the rebels within Syria to make Assad’s seat too hot to remain in, there are several concrete steps the league, the U.S. and the European Union can take to raise the temperature.