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Shock News: Arab League as Ineffective In Syria As It Is Everywhere Else

Next time you want to stop a bloodbath, don’t send a war criminal to report on human rights abuses. In a bizarre turn of events, the head of the Sudanese military intelligence has been tasked with ending the crackdown on protesters in Syria as the leader of Arab League observers.

Perhaps it doesn’t matter; the Arab League has a long tradition of irrelevance and, so far, its observer mission in Syria is keeping tradition alive. The impact of the observers has been negligible. At least 49 people have been killed by the regime in the past 5 days, according to Bloomberg. The Arab Parliament, an advisory body to a talking shop, announced on January 1 that the “fact-finding” mission of Arab League monitors has failed.

Lieutenant General Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi, the head of Sudan’s military intelligence since 1989, has for decades, it is widely believed, personally overseen what most now recognize as genocide in Darfur. And now he is expected to help end the bloodshed in Syria? Tellingly, he declared to Reuters after visiting Homs: “some places looked a bit of a mess but there was nothing frightening.”

Al-Dabi’s appointment was a mistake but it reflects the weaknesses that beset the Arab League as a whole. For most of its history, involvement in wholesale human rights abuses was more a badge of courage than a mark of shame in what was mostly a dictators’ club. Ignoring or even conniving at and enabling widespread, massive violations of human rights throughout the Arab world while screaming to high heaven about everything and anything Israel did has been standard operating procedure in the Arab League for decades.

The Arab League will change only after its member governments change.  Even then, change won’t come quickly. It lacks the standing, the skills, the resources and the leadership to play the kind of role Syria needs. Naming a notorious genocidaire to a humanitarian mission is only one symptom of this much deeper disease. The Arab League can bless initiatives of the west (as in Libya) or perhaps of Turkey and others in Syria; it is a very long way from having the capacity to act on its own.

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  • WigWag

    How could it be otherwise? A significant majority of Arabs lived under the Ottoman Turks for hundreds of years. The civilizing influence of the British Empire lasted in the Middle East for less than 50 years. Is it any wonder that the Arab world is a mess with no light at the end of the tunnel yet in sight?

    As Egypt morphs into Somalia on the Nile, as Syria implodes, as Iraq inches towards civil war, as sectarian conflict continues to plague Lebanon, is there any hope for the people of these nations?

    What would Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states be like but for their oil wealth? Isn’t Newt Gingrich fundamentally correct? Wasn’t Palestinian nationalism invented by the Arab world in the 1960s specifically for the purpose of confronting Israel and the Jews?

    Great swaths of the Muslim world are afflicted with serious pathologies; increasingly this includes “moderate” Islamic nations like Turkey, Malaysia and even Indonesia. While the Muslim world is ill, the Arab world is in critical condition. Is Obama so clueless that he really believes the solution is to embrace the Muslim Brotherhood?

    The Brotherhood’s credo is,

    “Allah is our objective; the Quran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of Allah is the highest of our aspirations.”

    What is it about faux-progressives in the United States and Europe that motivates them to view classically liberal political parties like the “True Finns”, “Swedish Democrats,” MSI (Italy) and PVV (Netherlands) as beyond the pale while at the same time championing the Muslim Brotherhood? How is it that credulous morons like Nick Kristof are happy to write columns extolling the liberality of the Muslim Brotherhood while at the same time condemning Geert Wilders as a racist?

    Unfortunately, when it comes to his policies on the Middle East, President Obama seems to be as much of a credulous moron as many of the columnists who write for the New York Times. This virtually ensures that American policy towards Egypt, Syria and the rest of the Middle East will continue to be a muddled mess until Obama leaves office.

    As far as a war criminal who helped perpetrate the genocide in Darfur leading the Arab observer group in Syria, what else should we expect?

    Besides, according to Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan the Darfur Genocide, like the Armenian Genocide is a myth. Erdogan has explained very clearly that “it is impossible for Muslims to commit genocide.”

  • Willis

    “It lacks the standing, the skills, the resources and the leadership to play the kind of role Syria needs.”

    Not to mention the morals, ethics, integrity, and legitimacy of standing.

  • boqueronman

    Perhaps I’m just dense, but isn’t it conceivable that Mr. al-Dabi was named to his post to do exactly what he is doing, i.e. ignoring or excusing whatever, in Western culture, would be termed “human rights abuses” in Syria? WRM seems to assume to his appointment was some kind of tragic mistake, or, better yet, “bizarre turn of events.” Maybe. Anything’s possible.

    It seems more realistic, however, to conclude that if “Arab governments change,” there will come about a change in the Arab region’s to human rights issues is to breathe deeply of hopium. An honest re-evaluation in the Arab people’s appreciation of their religion, history and culture, to say nothing of their politics, is very much a part of the required changes.

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