zondag 5 februari 2012

League of Arab States Observer Mission to Syria

Report of the Head of the League of Arab States Observer Mission to Syria for the period from 24 December 2011 to 18 January 2012
 
Chapter X: Evaluation

70. The purpose of the Protocol is to protect Syrian citizens through the commitment of the Syrian Government to stop acts of violence, release detainees and withdraw all military presence from cities and residential neighbourhoods. This phase must lead to dialogue among the Syrian sides and the launching of a parallel political process. Otherwise, the duration of this Mission will be extended without achieving the desired results on the ground.

71. The Mission determined that there is an armed entity that is not mentioned in the protocol. This
development on the ground can undoubtedly be attributed to the excessive use of force by Syrian Government forces in response to protests that occurred before the deployment of the Mission demanding the fall of the regime. In some zones, this armed entity reacted by attacking Syrian security forces and citizens, causing the Government to respond with further violence. In the end, innocent citizens pay the price for those actions with
life and limb.


72. The Mission noted that the opposition had welcomed it and its members since their deployment to
Syria. The citizens were reassured by the Mission’s presence and came forward to present their demands, although the opposition had previously been afraid to do so publicly owing to their fear of being arrested once again, as they had been prior to the Mission’s arrival in Syria. However, this was not case in the period that
followed the last Ministerial Committee statement, although the situation is gradually improving.

73. The Mission noted that the Government strived to help it succeed in its task and remove any barriers
that might stand in its way. The Government also facilitated meetings with all parties. No restrictions were placed on the movement of the Mission and its ability to interview Syrian citizens, both those who opposed the
Government and those loyal to it.

74. In some cities, the Mission sensed the extreme tension, oppression and injustice from which the Syrian
people are suffering. However, the citizens believe the crisis should be resolved peacefully through Arab mediation alone, without international intervention. Doing so would allow them to live in peace and complete the reform process and bring about the change they desire. The Mission was informed by the opposition, particularly in Dar‘a, Homs, Hama and Idlib, that some of its members had taken up arms in response to the suffering of the Syrian people as a result of the regime’s oppression and tyranny; corruption, which affects all
sectors of society; the use of torture by the security agencies; and human rights violations.

75. Recently, there have been incidents that could widen the gap and increase bitterness between the
parties. These incidents can have grave consequences and lead to the loss of life and property. Such incidents include the bombing of buildings, trains carrying fuel, vehicles carrying diesel oil and explosions targeting the police, members of the media and fuel pipelines. Some of those attacks have been carried out by the Free
Syrian Army and some by other armed opposition groups.

76. The Mission has adhered scrupulously to its mandate, as set out in the Protocol. It has observed daily realities on the ground with complete neutrality and independence, thereby ensuring transparency and integrity in its monitoring of the situation, despite the difficulties the Mission encountered and the inappropriate actions of some individuals.

77. Under the Protocol, the Mission’s mandate is one month. This does not allow adequate time for
administrative preparations, let alone for the Mission to carry out its task. To date, the Mission has actually operated for 23 days. This amount of time is definitely not sufficient, particularly in view of the number of items the Mission must investigate. The Mission needs to remain on the ground for a longer period of time, which would allow it to experience citizens’ daily living conditions and monitor all events. It should be noted
that similar previous operations lasted for several months or, in some cases, several years.

78. Arab and foreign audiences of certain media organizations have questioned the Mission’s credibility
because those organizations use the media to distort the facts. It will be difficult to overcome this problem unless there is political and media support for the Mission and its mandate. It is only natural that some negative incidents should occur as it conducts its activities because such incidents occur as a matter of course in similar
missions.

79. The Mission arrived in Syria after the imposition of sanctions aimed at compelling to implement what
was agreed to in the Protocol. Despite that, the Mission was welcomed by the opposition, loyalists and the Government. Nonetheless, questions remains as to how the Mission should fulfil its mandate. It should be noted that the mandate established for the Mission in the Protocol was changed in response to developments on the ground and the reactions thereto. Some of those were violent reactions by entities that were not mentioned in the Protocol. All of these developments necessitated an expansion of and a change in the Mission’s mandate. The most important point in this regard is the commitment of all sides to cease all acts of violence, thereby
allowing the Mission to complete its tasks and, ultimately, lay the groundwork for the political process.

80. Should there be agreement to extend its mandate, then the Mission must be provided with
communications equipment, means of transportation and all the equipment it requires to carry out its mandate
on the ground.

81. On the other hand, ending the Mission’s work after such a short period will reverse any progress, even if partial, that has thus far been made. This could perhaps lead to chaos on the ground because all the parties involved in the crisis thus remain unprepared for the political process required to resolve the Syrian crisis.

82. Since its establishment, attitudes towards the Mission have been characterized by insincerity or, more broadly speaking, a lack of seriousness. Before it began carrying out its mandate and even before its members had arrived, the Mission was the target of a vicious campaign directed against the League of Arab States and the Head of the Mission, a campaign that increased in intensity after the observers’ deployment. The Mission still lack the political and media support it needs in order to fulfil its mandate. Should its mandate be extended, the goals set out in the Protocol will not be achieved unless such support is provided and the Mission receives the backing it needs to ensure the success of the Arab solution.

(signed) Muhammad Ahmad Mustafa Al-Dabi
Head of the Mission


This report, censored by the Arab League, was obtained and made public by Inner City Press; it is reproduced here for non-profit educational purposes. See, also, Sharmine Narwani, "Foolishly Ignoring the Arab League Report on Syria" (Mideast Shuffle, 3 February 2012).

See also (quote from) “Exposed: The Arab agenda in Syria” by Pepe Escobar, Feb 4, 2012 in left column on Geopolitiek in perspectief.

                  

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