by Li Laifang, Chen Cong
CAIRO, Nov. 28 (Xinhua) -- The Arab League (AL) decided Sunday to immediately impose sanctions on Syria as Damascus missed the deadline to allow an observer mission into the violence-hit country.
However, analysts believed the intensive economic sanctions may not deal a heavy blow to Syrian authorities and thus may not work to help solve the months-long crisis in the Middle East country.
Akrm Houssam, a researcher with the Middle East Studies Center in Cairo, said the hardline stance adopted by the AL was consistent with the international will and showed its continuous efforts to solve the crisis.
However, the effectiveness of the new punishments remained questionable as Syria had not much trade exchange with the majority of the Arab nations, he said.
The position of the Syrian government would change with the sanctions, he predicted.
The resolution was backed by 19 members of the 22-nation organization, except Iraq and Lebanon, two neighboring countries of Syria.
"The Syrian government still has a lot of resources to maintain its rule in the short run," Bakr Noha, political science professor at Cairo University, told Xinhua.
On the one hand, Iraq, Lebanon and Iran are closely linked economically, politically and religiously, so Syria is not completely blocked, she said.
The Syrian government is still backed by its supporters and the armed forces, said the professor.
The sanctions actually meant to isolate the Syrian government more politically than economically, said Houssam.
The AL ministerial committee, which is in charge of handling the Syria crisis, will convene regularly to discuss the Syrian situation.
AL Secretary General Nabil Arabi told reporters that the package, which has included many aspects, is aimed at checking the bloodshed in Syria.
"We are committed to solving the Syrian crisis within the Arab framework. But if the Syrian situation continues, we will consider seeking foreign help," said Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad.
Abdel Monem Said, director of the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies, told Xinhua that he regarded the sanctions as AL attempts to avoid no-fly zone or interference of NATO.
The AL is still trying to keep pressure on Syria to stop violence and avoid international interference, he said.
The Syrian crisis took a different shape in the regional turmoil, which needs different solutions, added Said, who believed that it was a matter of time, maybe six months or at most one year, to solve the crisis.
Syria became the second member state punished by the AL this year after Libya due to their handling of domestic protests. The AL agreed to support the establishment of a non-fly zone in Libya in March, which paved the way for a UN resolution against Libya.
In mid-March, anti-government protests erupted in Syria. Some 3,500 people have been killed in clashes during the protests, according to UN figures. The Syrian government blamed armed groups for launching attacks.
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