Arab League Wants Immediate Withdrawal of Monitors From Syria

An advisory body to the Arab League called on Sunday for the immediate recall of a team of international monitors sent to assess the situation in Syria, saying that its observers are “inadvertently” assisting the government of President Bashar al-Assad in covering up the violence. Since the 60 observers arrived in Damascus on December 23, human rights groups have reported that dozens have been killed and that tens of thousands have continued to take to the streets.

Eight more people — some in the Damascus suburb of Daria — were reported killed on Sunday, even as the Parliament made its announcement .Reuters quotes local coordination committees who say that, since the monitors arrived, 286 people have been killed.

The Arab Parliament, an advisory body with 88 delegates from each of the League’s member states that was the first to call for freezing Syria’s membership in the League, said that, despite the presence of the monitors, the violence and deaths have continued.†Said†Ali al-Salem al-Dekbas, chairman of the Parliament:

“For this to happen in the presence of Arab monitors has roused the anger of Arab people and negates the purpose of sending a fact-finding mission”

“This is giving the Syrian regime an Arab cover for continuing its inhumane actions under the eyes and ears of the Arab League.”

The Parliament has called on the†league’s secretary general, Nabil Elaraby, to call together the foreign ministers of member countries to devise a resolution to withdraw the mission.

But one Arab League official said that it is too early to judge the mission which is remain in Syria for a month, and that more monitors to total 150 in all would be sent soon.

The monitors’ visit has been overshadowed by doubt and accusations that Assad’s regime has agreed to it as simply a way to bide time. The mission’s leader,†General Mohammed al-Dabi, who was in†charge of a military intelligence branch in Sudan accused of atrocities, had earlier come under fire for his background. His comments that he was “reassured by first impressions of Homs, one of the main centres of unrest” have also aroused controversy. Activists including†Ibrahim Aba Zaid of Dara’a have pointed out that the mission relies on state security escorts for its transportation through Syria, a country of 23 million. As Aba Zaid said to†Reuters, “‘The team has been escorted with the governor and there is no way for anyone other than security personnel to get anywhere near them.’”

Dabi has since modified his comments about the situation in Homs being “reassuring,” says Reuters.†Another monitor in Dara’a said in a YouTube clip posted on Saturday that the monitors had seen snipers “‘with our very own eyes’” and that they would “‘ask the government to remove them immediately.’” Dabi then attempted to undermine the monitor’s comment by telling the BBC that†”This man said that IF he sees, by his eyes, those snipers, he will report them immediately and he will tell the government. But he didn’t see, he said that ‘IF he (sees)’, so it is not correct in the media, what he said.”

Reuters reports that the gap between Dabi’s statements and that of other monitors has†” prompted the Arab League to tell monitors to focus on their ‘technical work’ and avoid public statements.”

Syria’s state news agency, Sana, has countered that wide-scale demonstrations had been held throughout Syria in support of Assad on Friday. Since the uprising began in mid-March in the southern city of Dara’a, the Syrian government has claimed that “armed gangs” of foreign conspirators are responsible for the unrest and that over 2,000 soldiers and police have been killed.

The United Nations says that over 5,000 have been killed so far. According to Al Jazeera, the local coordinating committee says that, in 2011, there have been “exactly 5,862 martyrs, including 321 male children, 74 female children and 146 women.”

Previous Care2 Coverage

Observers Visit Syria, Death Toll Rises

40 Killed in Syria As International Monitors Arrive

Two Car Bombs Explode in Damascus, 40 Dead



Photo taken in Cairo in April 2011 by Kodak Agfa


Charles O.
Charles O6 years ago

Crimes against humanity?

* like keeping millions of people under occupation and bombardment for 44 years?

* like using sanctions to kill a million Iraqis, including 500,000 children? (but according to Albright, ""the price was worth it")

* like using bombardment, invasion and occupation to kill another million?

* like dismembering Yugoslavia?

* like leveling Libya?

* like occupying Afghanistan?

* like fomenting rebellion in Syria?

* like stealing trillions from the American people?

None of the people who perpetrated these crimes against humanity have been held accountable. Just the opposite: They get to go on speaking tours and rake in millions. So when these big killers condemn others, hypocrisy attains truly monstrous proportions.

So long as we refuse to hold the major war-making sociopaths accountable, international law is nothing but a sick joke.

Fred H.
Fred H6 years ago

John D (who has never found an Islamist atrocity that he would not condone, and never found an Israeli good deed that he would not condemn) wants a link to the "alleged" atrocities by Assad.

Here's one, John, for an article on a UN report which finds Syria guilty of crimes against humanity:

John Duqesa
Past Member 6 years ago

Michael M. You say:--

"how sick in the head are the people on here who are downright making up propaganda about the assad regime apparently being a great government"

Well, Michael, just as Iraq did before the West ruined the country with sanctions and war, Syria has free health care for all, free education for all (and even grants for a large number of foreign students, even those from the West) and the slums that disfigure the cities of many developing countries are not apparent in Syria.

"while hundreds of people are being shot in the street just for protesting everyday."

I don't know where you have found this information. Perhaps you'd care to let us have a link? In fact far less people have lost their lives in this armed insurrection than the "protesters" (whom the news agencies take their figures from) are alleging and they are alleging this for reasons of their own. And please don't forget that 3500 Syrian security personnel have been killed by allegedly peaceful protesters.

"It took avaaz getting millions of signatures"

That Avaaz has taken the side of the armed insurrectionists simply shows that they are not a truly radical organisation, indeed are beholden to the same forces that hold sway over the corporate media.

Michael MacDonald

how sick in the head are the people on here who are downright making up propaganda about the assad regime apparently being a great government while hundreds of people are being shot in the street just for protesting everyday.
People are trying to call this a U.S. war.
Well, why the hell has it taken the U.S. almost a year to even care enough to get involved in this then.
When then have they've been avoiding this all along and ignoring it.
It took avaaz getting millions of signatures to even get this started
which has nothing to do with the U.S.

People in America are so arrogant that they assume that they are always the center of the world even when the conflict in question has been going on for much longer than it was even on the U.S.'s radar.

I mean,
people are facing such a level of fascism
that the Syrian army actually has orders to shoot anyone who opposes this government without even questioning it.

This situation is even worse than Libya and all you can do is spread propaganda about it while hundreds of people die in the street everyday right in front of your face.
The evidence is written all over the wall
and unfortunately it's written in Syrian blood.

You should really study these things for years and actually pay attention to them before the U.S. starts talking about them if you want to have an at all credible opinion.

Berny P.
berny p6 years ago




Stephen Brian
Stephen Brian6 years ago

Hi Charles :)

In the Cold War, the U.S. and USSR sought allies among regimes with which they had less in common than with each other. They each figured that while explicitly anti-democratic kleptocracies were even further from their own ideals than communist-style dictatorship or capitalism, the other superpower was far more powerful and therefore the greater threat, so it was worthwhile to side with plutocrats against each other. Israel played the same game with Hamas and Fatah.

The difference now is that the Islamic religious supremacists are a major political force, so Israel is more likely to side with secular powers against them. The other difference is that now the two groups' track-records can be compared. Hamas, given power roughly on-level with Fatah, turned out to be more aggressive. OTOH this might not matter as Syria might actually not go religious without Assad.

I'm glad to see the reforms. Have they reached implementation yet? I guess we'll find out next month, if Assad is still there, whether he actually plans to follow through with the elections. If not, then I don't know quite what citizenship is worth without real elections. The media-freedom sounds good, but has a free Syrian press actually started up? I'm glad about the amnesty for political prisoners, but I heard new ones were taken in the current conflict. I wish with so much news about Syria these days, that I could have seen more about whether the reforms are genuine.

Charles O.
Charles O6 years ago

"Now that his rule was threatened and he responded with force, I doubt there will ever again be the relative freedom that Syria enjoyed before under him." -- Stephen B.

I'm a little more optimistic. Change is inevitable, and Assad knows it. That's why he has been making reforms, even as the rebellion grows:

* Kurds regain citizenship (07 Apr)
* Emergency Decree lifted (21 Apr)
* General amnesty, includes political prisoners (21 Jun)
* National dialogue begins (10 Jul)
* Multi-party elections allowed (04 Aug)
* Parliamentary elections to be held in Feb 2012 (06 Aug)
* Decree supporting media freedom (28 Aug)
* Drafting of new constitution begins (15 Oct)

When the rebels were calling for reform, they had my sympathy. Ironically, they stopped calling for reform and started calling for overthrow as soon as Assad actually started to make reforms. That tells me that freedom for all Syrians was never their real aim. It's just the slogan they're using to please their U.S. backers. What they may want is freedom to impose Sharia law.

Charles O.
Charles O6 years ago

Israel could support Sunni radicals in Syria for the same reason it supported Hamas:

> One of the dictators faced with this dilemma was the Israel military governor in the occupied Palestinian territories. Right from the beginning, he forbade any political activity. Even peace activists went to prison. Advocates of non-violence were deported. Civic centers were closed down. Only the mosques remained open. There people could meet.

> But this went beyond tolerance. The General Security Service (known as Shin Bet or Shabak) had an active interest in the flourishing of the mosques. People who pray five times a day, they thought, have no time to build bombs.

> The main enemy, as laid down by Shabak, was the dreadful PLO, led by that monster, Yasser Arafat. The PLO was a secular organization, with many prominent Christian members, aiming at a “nonsectarian” Palestinian state. They were the enemies of the Islamists, who were talking about a pan-Islamic Caliphate.

> Turning the Palestinians towards Islam, it was thought, would weaken the PLO and its main faction, Fatah. So everything was done to help the Islamic movement discreetly.

-- Uri Avnery, ["Shukran, Israel"](, *Gush Shalom*, 31 Dec 2011

Avnery doesn't mention it, but Israel actually subsidized Hamas, as the articles in the previous post indicate.

Charles O.
Charles O6 years ago

Hello Stephan B. --

I think Zionists are divided on what to do about Assad. Some see him as a bulwark against Islamic extremism. Others want to see the Middle East divided up into tiny feuding ethnic cantons, in accord with Israel's 1982 Oded Yinon Plan. Remember that Israel once subsidized Hamas and favors Islamists over secularists -- because it is easier to discredit the religious fanatics.


* Uri Avnery, ["Shukran, Israel"](, *Gush Shalom*, 31 Dec 2011

* Justin Raimondo, ["Hamas, Son of Israel"](, 28 Jan 2006

* Andrew Higgins, ["How Israel helped to spawn Hamas"](, 24 Jan 2009

* New York Press, ["Israel's Hamas"](, 30 Apr 2002

* Brendan O'Neill, ["Today's 'Islamic Fascists' Were Yesterday's Friends"](, 29 Aug 2006

> One of the dictators faced with this dilemma was the Israel military governor in the occupied Palestinian territories. Right from the beginning, he forbade any political activity. Even peace activists went to prison. Advocates of non-violence were deported. Civic centers were closed down. Only the mosques remained open. There people could meet.

> But this went beyond tolerance. The General Security Service (known as Shin Bet or Shabak

patrica and edw jones

Assad - being the powerful, murderous, insane ruler that he is, would surely find favour with John murders with impunity and the other appears to be doing the same with his pillow.....a poor, defenceless inanimate object.