A thought: The Arab League is trying to broker a peace. If Assad turns away, his time is ended, his legitimacy tarnished. But will he? Who can guess. The boil point on the Arab street has already been reached. What the Arab League offers is a last chance, if there is one left.
Another thought: Let the West stay out and encourage the Arab League to sort through things with brothers and sisters. Theirs is an “honor” society in which conflict is ameliorated with certain rituals, ways that intermediary friends broker outcomes.
It’s like prisoner exchanges in the Middle East. This time-honored tradition includes an exchange of prisoners with an enemy. The number exchanged on each side is not really important. Sometimes one side will exchange fifty for one. It doesn’t seem fair or logical but it is. If you’ve got a lot of theirs, and they have an important one of yours, it’s worth it. That’s why it’s important to capture at least a few high value prisoners from the other side, for future exchanges. The trade is made and everyone wins.
When successful all parties are able to walk away saving face, with a few compromises and concessions. Let the Arab League broker it. They know the cultures of the parties involved. Keep the NATO planes on the ground. Nothing is simply regional anymore, but allow a regional solution to work. Don’t muck it up.
What if the United States, countries in the European union, Russia and Iran all said, “Let’s see if the Arab League’s proposal will be accepted. If it is, we’ll stand behind them.”
I mean, at this point, could it really hurt?