The UAE already has troops with the U.S.-led force in Afghanistan, while Morocco has soldiers with the U.N. peacekeeping operation in Kosovo.
That leaves Friday's summit in Tunisia as the best hope for the discovery of a new way forward on Syria. Tunisia's foreign minister has said that Russia and China were invited, but there was no immediate word on whether they'd attend.
China appeared to warm toward the Arab League this week, with reports in Chinese state media that Beijing now supports the Arab peace proposal but wouldn't back any plan that would lead to military intervention.
Russia, however, showed no signs of softening its stance, and a diplomat reached by phone said Moscow wasn't convinced that Assad was facing a nationwide popular rebellion rather than the small, disruptive "terrorist groups" that Syrian state media portray.
Andrei Baklanov, Russia's former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said Moscow had long and valued ties to Assad's government, for which Russian contractors built infrastructure and many other "industrial enterprises." The countries also have a history of intermarriage because of the worker exchanges, he added.
Baklanov said neither the Arab League nor foreign powers such as Russia could afford to make major decisions on Syria based on "photos in a newspaper." He said the Arab League must first expand its observer mission to "give us a clear-cut opportunity to understand the whole picture."
Baklanov said league members must put aside their differences and work together, as well as with Assad's last remaining supporters, namely Russia, China and Iran.
"The events have gone too far, and we must combine effort so as not to give the opportunity for the extremists to prevail," Baklanov said.
(McClatchy special correspondent Omnia Al Desoukie contributed to this article.)
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