Syria: Arab League observers within the country

Posted: December 31, 2011 in International
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The Observer Mission is en route to Syria. Last Thursday the observers of the Arab League (AL) were in the Syrian cities of Hama, Idleb and Daraa. The head of the Observer Mission is already under criticism for stating that there was nothing to worry about within the Syrian city of Homs.

The remark was probably inappropriate as the situation in Homs is as has been previously described. We can assume that the army was withdrawn from Homs much to the dismay of large segments of the community who have felt protected by the army.

The head of the Observer Mission, Al-Dabi, retracted his statement and explained it away by stating that he needed more time than he actually had to assess the situation. The Observers found that protesters in the anti-government strongholds marched in Idleb and suddenly, for the first time, there were no reports of demonstrators being fired upon.

We are normally familiar with the images of demonstrations that are always presented as evidence of the Syrian government shooting at peaceful demonstrators, even if there is no sound of soldiers or shooting.

As the opposition in the Syrian city of Hama noted, the people wanted to talk to the Observers. They apparently found it hard to access the Observers. This doesn’t make sense as video footage shows people in Homs crowding around the observers and telling them about the abuses.

We hoped the citizen’s reports about armed men would be heard by the Observers but, it seems they were not heard, unlike the other side, and instead were asked how much money the regime gave them.

So far, apart from one or two assessments, there is not much information from the Observers regarding the situation in Syria. These initial assessments triggered outrage from outside the country. It remains to be seen what the Observers will find in the coming days and weeks. All sides will view the mission with much skepticism.

Just as the Western governments expressed their outrage at Al Dabi’s initial assessment of Homs, they will continue to attempt to control, from outside, the findings of the Observers as well as demand an untarnished picture of the events in Syria. In reality their message should read:

”Woe to the Observer who does not see what the Western government wants them to see“.

The US is far from satisfied with the monitoring mission and the Observers are far too cautious and vague for the liking of the US.

As the Observers move through the country, reports continue to be made of dead civilians allegedly shot by government soldiers. What has really happened is unknown as yet. The facts and figures of such reports come from all the usual sources.

Undoubtedly, deaths and violence continue in Syria. There must be caution as to whom blame is attributed to. One should also take heed of the full fury of the government security forces and remember that their actions are nothing one should keep secret about or conceal as their actions are about protecting the country.

Some sources have gone so far as to accuse the government troops of having opened fire on a group of Observers on the outskirts of Damascus.

How ridiculous and even more so that it is actually sold to the readership. Even if one were to accuse the Government of Syria of ignorance, obsession and of power and brutality, one cannot classify them as stupid enough to do such a thing.

It remains to be seen what sermons will be delivered at next Friday’s prayers in addition to opponent’s planned large-scale demonstrations – which will not happen in reality (like yesterday) – just on al Jazeera, al Arabiyya and within the heads of some people in Istanbul and London.


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