Friday, December 30, 2011

Questioning the Arab League's Syrian Monitors

    Friday, December 30, 2011   No comments


Violence continued in Syria on Thursday despite the arrival of the Arab League's monitors, and now the appointed leader of the monitors is being called into question over his own spotty human rights record. Sudan's General Mustafa al-Dabi is the leader of the 100 or so Arab League monitors in Syria right now. Al-Dabi has been accused of committing war crimes in Darfur in the 1990s. From this report in the Guardian, Amnesty International has spoken out against al-Dabi's participation, saying, "The Arab League's decision to appoint as the head of the observer mission a Sudanese general on whose watch severe human rights violations were committed in Sudan risks undermining the League's efforts so far and seriously calls into question the mission's credibility." 

Most of the controversy came after comments al-Dabi reportedly made after a recent visit to the "restive" city of Homs. Al-Dabi was quoted as saying the situation there is "reassuring," when there have been reports of protests and violence coming from the city. "Some places looked a bit of a mess but there was nothing frightening," he said, according to the BBC. Some were discouraged by his comments, but Russia, Syria's most high-profile ally, came out in support of al-Dabi's statements. The Russian government gave a statement on their website, and quoted by Reuters, saying, "Judging by the public statements made by the chief of the mission (Sudanese general Mustafa) al-Dabi, who in the first of his visits went to the city of Homs ... the situation seems to be reassuring."


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