Time For Al-Dabi's Team To Leave: A Mission That Holds No Credibility


31 December 2011

By Tariq Alhomayed

My colleague Mshari Al-Zaydi, along with others, has written demanding the removal of the head of the Arab League observer mission in Syria, or the "spectator" mission as I have previously branded it. The Arab Parliament called for the observer delegation to withdraw immediately, and day by day it is losing the confidence of the Syrian opposition, so what is the solution?

The logical answer is that al-Dabi's team should leave immediately, and apologize for not completing its task, for it has now lost all confidence. This is clear, especially after its contradictory statements. Al-Dabi's team recently made two statements, the first to confirm what Nabil el-Araby had said [in support of al-Dabi], and the second in an attempt to refute the comments of one of its members, whom I described as "the only genuine observer", because he said that he had seen snipers in Daraa. Al-Dabi's team claimed that in fact he hadn't said that, although the statement was clearly shown on video! After this, how can al-Dabi be trusted? This is also not to mention his relationship with the al-Assad regime!

The solution does not only lie in the departure of al-Dabi, or the immediate withdrawal of the Arab spectators, as demanded by the Chairman of the Arab Parliament, but it also lies in correcting the error, and improving the work of the Arab taskforce in Syria, to undertake genuine tasks, not only observations. What is happening in Syria is known by everyone except those who want to argue, simply to give more time to the tyrant Bashar al-Assad. Thus, the plan to send Arab observers to Syria should be augmented in order to verify the implementation of the terms of the Arab protocol, and fundamentally prove that the Arab League is trustworthy. This is especially necessary given the strange statement attributed to Ahmad Bin Hali, an Arab League official, who called for Arab observers not to issue any further comments on the situation in Syria! So now will the observers deliver their findings to al-Dabi, who can then write what he likes in the final report? This is not reasonable.

The Arab League should declare its need to utilize international authorities, and respected legal figures, as the King of Bahrain did, or along the lines of Special Tribunal for Lebanon. This is necessary in order to activate the clauses of the Arab initiative, including the entry to the Arab and international media into Syria, the immediate withdrawal of tanks and the Shabiha from the streets, and the release of detainees. The deadline for these terms to be implemented should be limited period of time not exceeding three days. Then the Arab League would show it was serious about protecting the Syrian civilians, and applying the Arab initiative, because what we are witnessing today is nothing but a blatant attempt to save al-Assad, although it is better to think that the League is simply not able to implement its initiative towards Syria.

Beyond that –and most importantly – the Arab League must initiate the transfer of the Syrian file to the UN Security Council, where it will be entrusted to a specific Arab commission, not necessarily the League itself, but rather a commission comprising of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Kuwait, Libya and Morocco, and all those who have a desire to stop the al-Assad killing machine. This commission must then proceed with intense diplomatic efforts from Russia to America, via Europe, to provide a UN or international resolution securing both a buffer and no-fly zone for the Syrians.

This is what must be done, instead of waiting for the completion of al-Dabi's mission that holds no credibility, and does not protect the unarmed Syrians

 

Tariq Alhomayed is the Editor-in-Chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, the youngest person to be appointed that position. He holds a BA degree in Media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, and has also completed his Introductory courses towards a Master's degree from George Washington University in Washington D.C. He is based in London.

 

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