The Arab League’s dubious mission to Syria

There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical of the Arab League observers currently visiting Syria. Most notably:

–Reports of continuing armed attacks on peaceful demonstrators, such as this incident in the Anadan district of Aleppo:

— A report from EA WorldView:

Residents in the besieged Bab Amro section of Homs have refused to meet Arab League observers in the presence of a Syrian army officer.

A local activist reported, “The monitors left the Baba Amr neighbourhood because they refused to enter the neighbourhood without being escorted by Lieutenant Colonel Mudeen Neda from the Fourth Division. The families of the martyrs and the wounded refused to meet them in his presence, and the monitors left.”

–A report from Reuters:

The head of the Arab League delegation investigating if Syria is keeping its promise to implement a peace plan said on Wednesday the situation in the flashpoint city of Homs was “reassuring so far.”

“There were some places where the situation was not good,” said Sudanese General Mustafa Dabi. “But there wasn’t anything frightening at least while we were there.”

Is the message from the observers going to be: as long as we personally observe (or hear about) nothing bad happening while in the presence of Syrian army officers, the Assad regime has nothing to fear from us?

On the other hand, the presence of the Arab League monitors seems to have emboldened some Syrians. Here’s video of a demonstration in front of Baath party headquarters in Damascus– something that would have been impossible before the AL team arrived, and likely will be impossible after they leave.