The uprising in Syria may have reached a tipping point. The Arab League has ended its silence on Bashar al-Assad’s brutal repression of protesters and condemned the violence, expressing “growing concern and serious distress” at the attacks. But more important, Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador, a crucial vote of no confidence in the Assad regime:

“Saudi Arabia announces the recall of its ambassador for consultations,” King Abdullah said in a statement after Syrian security forces killed more than 50 people on Sunday.

He urged Damascus to “stop the killing machine and the bloodshed… before it is too late” and called as well for “comprehensive and quick reforms.”

“The future of Syria lies between two options: either Syria chooses willingly to resort to reason, or faces being swept into deep chaos, God forbid,” he said.

Saudi political science lecturer Sadaqa Fadhel said King Abdullah’s message reflected a “firm Arab and Muslim position” which could lead to further pressure.

Kuwait and Bahrain, of all nations, followed suit by recalling their envoys.

Throughout the Arab uprising, Saudi Arabia has led the way forward on the international response. The Gulf Cooperation Council, which it dominates, created the document transferring power that the Yemeni President has come close to signing on multiple occasions. The Arab League’s consent for Western intervention in Libya was crucial to that action. Saudi troops entered Bahrain and the international community said nary a word. So when the Saudis condemn Syria and remove their ambassador, you know that the worm is turning. Syria has never been more isolated.

The Arab League statements still talk of “dialogue” with protesters. After 2,000 or more protesters have been killed by the Assad regime, this is impossible. The uprising will only end with either total repression and a massacre, or the end of the Assad regime. Nothing else is possible. So we’ll have to see if the Arab League – and follow-on Western governments – will relay that message in the coming days.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Minstry of Defense’s website was hacked by the collective Anonymous, and they put this message on the front page:

To the Syrian people: The world stands with you against the brutal regime of Bashar Al-Assad. Know that time and history are on your side – tyrants use violence because they have nothing else, and the more violent they are, the more fragile they become. We salute your determination to be non-violent in the face of the regime’s brutality, and admire your willingness to pursue justice, not mere revenge. All tyrants will fall, and thanks to your bravery Bashar Al-Assad is next.

To the Syrian military: You are responsible for protecting the Syrian people, and anyone who orders you to kill women, children, and the elderly deserves to be tried for treason. No outside enemy could do as much damage to Syria as Bashar Al-Assad has done. Defend your country – rise up against the regime! – Anonymous