Friday, January 13, 2012

Leading article: The Arab League must withdraw

The Independent
Friday 13 January 2012

"....The credibility of the Arab League mission has been suspect from the outset. With only 165 observers at its full complement, the delegation was never anywhere near large enough to cover a country the size of Syria effectively. Its reliance on the regime for logistical and security support rightly sparked concerns about its independence. And the leadership of General Mustafa al-Dabi – a supporter of the Sudanese President, wanted in the Hague over genocide in Darfur – also raised eyebrows. After weeks of escalating violence, the mission is now unravelling. That one of its observers has quit, branding the entire operation a "farce", accusing the regime of gross crimes, and describing the situation on the ground as a "humanitarian disaster" only confirms sceptics' worst fears.

Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, has hinted that the Arab League mission should not continue indefinitely. She is half-right. It should not continue at all. Simply by their presence, the monitors are lending legitimacy to a wholly illegitimate regime. They should be withdrawn forthwith."

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