Several Arab leaders say they may boycott the annual Arab summit meeting scheduled for this month in Damascus because of anger at Syria over its role in Lebanon and ongoing links to Iran.RTWT.
The measures are part of an intensified campaign against Syria that comes alongside similar moves by the United States, which recently added several new financial sanctions on Syria and sent warships to cruise off the Lebanese coast - a gesture aimed directly at the Syrian government.
"There's a new initiative to completely isolate Syria and weaken its destructive influence in Lebanon," said an adviser to the Saudi government who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.
"We're not going to pull them away from Iran by talking to them; we're going to take them away from Iran by making them feel the pressure and making them understand that this time it's as real as it can get."
In the past week, Saudi Arabia has recalled its ambassador from Damascus and urged all its citizens to leave Lebanon as soon as possible, indicating that it believes any Saudi here is now a target for Syria or its allies. Last month the Saudi government deposited another $1 billion into Lebanon's central bank in a show of support for Lebanon's government.
Syria's role in Lebanon is rooted in its alliance with Iran and Hezbollah, which it views as crucial weapons against Israel and the West. But most Arab nations, led by Sunni Muslims, view Shiite Iran as a dangerous and implacable foe, and they appear to have given up on luring Syria back into the Arab fold through diplomacy.
The conflict has grown increasingly bitter, with officials of Saudi Arabia and Egypt - with Jordan on board - complaining that Syria is deliberately prolonging the political vacuum in Lebanon through its support for Hezbollah, which opposes the Western-backed government majority. Lebanon has been without a president since late November.
WITHOUT SYRIA, HIZBALLAH CRUMBLES - AND IRAN LOSES TWO KEY ALLIES.
BUT FORCING SYRIA TO PART WITH THE SHIA IRAN WILL BE TOUGH: THEY HAVE SIGNED MANY AGREEMENTS (SOME MORE THIS WEEK) INCLUDING A MUTUAL DEFENSE PACT.
THE ROAD TO TEHRAN GOES THROUGH DAMASCUS - AND THE ROAD TO DAMASCUS GOES THROUGH BEIRUT.
SADLY - FOR AMERICA, THE SUNNI ARAB NATIONS ARE TOUGHER ON SYRIA THAN OBAMA AND THE DEMS!