Report of Arab League mission to Syria contradicts Western propaganda

By Chris Marsden
9 February 2012

As in their eight-month war for regime change in Libya, the US and its NATO allies in Western Europe have claimed in their present buildup toward intervention in Syria to be acting in the name and at the behest of the Arab League.

The resolution on Syria vetoed at the United Nations Security Council by Russia and China was moved by the Arab League, citing the failure of the regime of Bashir al-Assad to abide by its demands for an end to violence against the opposition.

The veto has been followed by hysterical official denunciations in the West and a media propaganda campaign portraying the developments in Syria as an entirely one-sided and indiscriminate massacre carried out by the Assad regime against its own people.

The UN resolution included a brief reference to the observer mission sent by the Arab League into Syria, “commending its efforts” and suggesting that violence had prevented it from continuing its work.

The reality, however, is that to make the case for regime change in Syria, the League, currently chaired by Qatar and politically dominated by the US-aligned Gulf monarchies, had to terminate its own observer mission and squelch its report.

The report was suppressed because the 166-member observer mission found that violence in Syria was abating, the Syrian government was complying with most of the Arab League’s requirements and the ruling Baathists were faced with an armed insurrection. Qatar, along with Saudi Arabia, played the instrumental role in burying the report, and cutting short the mission, because they are arming the opposition forces and arguing for direct military intervention to depose Assad.

The full report is published on Global Research. Its findings are a devastating indictment of the efforts of the United States, France and Britain, working in collusion with the Gulf States and Turkey, to fuel a civil war and prepare the way for the installation of a pro-Western Sunni government hostile to Iran.

Syria signed the protocol agreeing to the mission on December 19. It was headed by Sudan’s General Muhammad Ahmad Mustafa Al-Dabi and included 166 monitors from 13 Arab countries and six Arab organisations.

On December 22, the Syrian Government “confirmed its readiness to facilitate the Mission in every way by allowing the free and safe movement of all of the observers throughout Syria,” and allowing it to “freely conduct” meetings with whomever it wished.

By and large, the report finds that this pledge was fulfilled.

On December 27, there was a visit to the city of Homs, “one of the epicentres of tension.” The governor of the city “explained that there had been an escalation in violence perpetrated by armed groups…believed to include some 3,000 individuals.”

The mission visited several districts and met “a number of opposition citizens”, witnessing “an intense exchange of gunfire between the Army and opposition in Baba Amr.” It succeeded in negotiating a withdrawal of military vehicles, an end to acts of violence, a lifting of the blockade on food and fuel and an exchange of prisoners and bodies.

What followed was the mission’s “full and smooth deployment across the country” into 15 zones covering 20 cities and districts including both loyalist and opposition-dominated areas: Damascus, Homs, Rif Homs, Idlib, Deraa, Hama, Aleppo, Deir Al-Zor, Latakia, Qamishli, Hasaka, Suwaida, Bu Kamal, Deir Al-Zor, Palmyra (Tadmur), Sukhna, Banyas and Tartous.

Group leaders “witnessed acts of violence perpetrated by Government forces and an exchange of gunfire with armed elements in Homs and Hama,” but achieved “a considerable calming of the situation”. In Homs and Dera’a, they observed “armed groups committing acts of violence against Government forces, resulting in death and injury.” Government forces responded “with force…some of the armed groups were using flares and armour-piercing projectiles.”

In Homs, Idlib and Hama, the mission witnessed opposition “acts of violence being committed against Government forces and civilians that resulted in several deaths and injuries” including “the bombing of a civilian bus, killing eight persons and injuring others, including women and children”.

The report adds: “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.”

Day after day, the media features reports of ever-rising casualty figures and atrocities that generally originate with the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights—a pro-opposition group that reportedly receives funding from Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

The mission report notes “that many parties falsely reported that explosions or violence had occurred in several locations. When the observers went to those locations, they found that those reports were unfounded. The Mission also noted that, according to its teams in the field, the media exaggerated the nature of the incidents and the number of persons killed in incidents and protests in certain towns.”

Peaceful demonstrations by government supporters and the opposition in several places were not disrupted, “except for some minor clashes”.

On the release of detainees, as agreed under Assad’s January 15 amnesty, reports from parties outside Syria that detainees numbered 16,237 or 12,005 according to the internal opposition were deemed unreliable: “there were discrepancies between the lists…information was missing and inaccurate,…names were repeated.”

The Assad regime claimed to have released a total of 7,604 detainees before and during the amnesty. The mission verified 5,152 of these.

All “military vehicles, tanks and heavy weapons had been withdrawn from cities and residential neighbourhoods,” it states.

The report gives a scathing account of how the mission was deliberately sabotaged by the combined forces of the Western media and some of its own delegates. “Since it began its work,” it states, “the Mission has been the target of a vicious media campaign…. Some media organisations were exploited in order to defame the Mission and its Head and cause the Mission to fail.”

“Some observers reneged on their duties and broke the oath they had taken,” it notes. “They made contact with officials from their countries and gave them exaggerated accounts of events. Those officials consequently developed a bleak and unfounded picture of the situation.”

The delegates and their governments are not named, but one can hazard a guess that they likely have residency in Riyadh and Doha.

The report’s last major point is equally damaging for the propaganda justifying war against Syria. It notes how “The Mission determined that there is an armed entity that is not mentioned in the [Arab League] protocol,” later describing this as “the Free Syrian Army and some by other armed opposition groups.”

While attributing armed resistance to “the excessive use of force by Syrian Government”, it comments, “In some zones, this armed entity reacted by attacking Syrian security forces and citizens, causing the Government to respond with further violence.”

General Al-Dabi concludes his report with an appeal for more time to carry out the mission’s work, noting that it had only been given 23 days. Instead, Saudi Arabia withdrew its backing, followed by Qatar, and the mission was declared a failure.

The real failure, as far as its Arab League paymasters were concerned, was that the mission’s findings cut across the campaign justifying regime change in the run-up to the UN Security Council meeting—above all by insisting that Syria’s “citizens believe the crisis should be resolved peacefully through Arab mediation alone, without international intervention.”

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