Questions Surround Credibility of Arab League Monitors’ Report
With the end of the Arab League’s month-long observation mission serious concerns have been raised about the credibility of the monitors’ report, which is scheduled to be released January 22, at Arab League headquarters in Cairo. The objective of the Arab League initiative was to assess the ongoing crisis in Syria, and determine if the Syrian Government was committed to ending its violent crackdown.
The Human Rights Watch sent a letter to Arab League Secretary General Nabil El Araby demanding that the monitors’ report be released publicly. “The Arab League should make its monitors’ report public to address increasing concerns that its monitoring mission is being manipulated by the Syrian authorities,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, the group’s Middle East director. “Only a transparent assessment of the monitoring mission can determine whether the monitors should stay in the country.”
A former observer who served on the Arab League initiative has volunteered to discuss his experience. In an interview with NPR, Anwar Malek, a former Algerian political prisoner and observer in Syria, claimed, “on every street there were signs of blood”. He reiterated his concern for the humanitarian situation which he said was “totally disastrous.” He resigned from his position a monitor calling the mission a “charade full of lies.”
At the State Department’s daily press briefing on January 19, spokesperson Victoria Nuland asserted the United States position that ”the Arab League needs to make its own report, and then we need to work together on how to take the results of that mission and bring the ideas and recommendations that the Arab League comes out of this process with to the Security Council so that we can have a strong resolution that reflects the experience that the monitors have had”