“What I saw was a humanitarian disaster. The regime is not just committing one war crime, but a series of crimes against its people,” said Malek. “The snipers are everywhere shooting at civilians. People are being kidnapped. Prisoners are being tortured and none were released.” – report by Column Lynch
After calling for President Bashar al-Assad to step down, which was ignored, the Arab League also called off its mission to monitor the carnage inside Syria this past Saturday. Considering they reportedly didn’t have enough armored vehicles and too few bullet-proof vests, with the details from Turtle Bay’s Column Lynch about the Chinese passing the walkie-talkies, it would be laughable if the situation hadn’t been so deadly.
Gen. Mohamed Ahmed Moustafa Al-Dabbi was in charge of the mission, which is part of the problem. Lynch has a good rundown on the general:
The mission’s international standing was also diminished by the selection of its monitoring chief — General Al-Dabbi, a close advisor of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court. Al-Dabbi also served as a top military officer in Darfur, Sudan, at a time when the government was organizing local militia, known as the Janjaweed, that were involved in mass killings of civilians in the region. An Algerian member of the Arab team, Anwar Malek, resigned in protest, telling Al Jazeera that the mission was a “farce.”
The leaked report is available over at Lynch’s Turtle Bay. The Europeans are unimpressed by it, while the Russians and the Security Council are in it over the bloodletting in Syria. One thing is clear after reading the report and that is the Syrian government seems to have had no intention of allowing it to succeed. From Lynch:
On Jan. 18, Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby ordered the suspension of the organization’s observer mission, its first major experiment in human rights monitoring. He claimed that the escalation of violence had undercut its ability to do its job.
But a confidential account of the organization’s mission, signed by the monitor’s controversial chief and obtained by Turtle Bay, shows that the Arab monitors were hobbled from the beginning by a shortage of equipment — and by what Al-Dabbi describes as a ferocious Syrian media disinformation campaign against the monitors and him personally. “The credibility of the mission has been undermined in the minds of Arab and foreign viewers,” he wrote.
[…] “The mission”¦sensed the acute stress, injustice and oppression endured [by] Syrian citizens,” Al-Dabbi wrote. “Yet they are convinced that the Syrian crisis must be resolved peacefully, in the Arab context, and not internationalized so that they can live in peace securely, and achieve the desired reforms and changes.” That said, he is surprisingly candid and critical of the observer mission’s ability to perform well the task required of them.