Syria’s Assad Remains Defiant
Syria’s Bashar al-Assad continues to strike a defiant tone against the ongoing protests and violence that has wracked his country for more than nine months. Thousands have died at the hands of his security forces, and he vows to use an iron hand to stop the violence (aka the protests).
Nor is it surprising that Russia continues backing the Syrian regime, and a weapons shipment destined for Syria was intercepted in Cyprus when a Russian flagged ship dropped anchor and inspectors impounded the shipment of tons of weapons.
The Arab League mission was hailed as a way to reduce the violence, but it is a farce - so says a former mission observer who quit when he saw how Assad was manipulating the mission for his own purposes even as security forces continued murdering Syrians and engaging in propaganda. Using the Arab League as propaganda was what I had warned when the mission was announced - Assad would use it as cover to continue his bloody crackdown, and that’s precisely what has happened.
Anwar Malek told al-Jazeera TV that he had resigned because of what he had witnessed in Syria, including a series of war crimes.
He said the government had “fabricated” most of what the monitors had seen to stop the Arab League taking action.
The monitors are tasked with verifying the implementation of a peace plan.
Mr Malek said he had resigned because what he had seen, and asserted that the observer mission had fallen apart.
“The mission was a farce and the observers have been fooled,” he added. “The regime orchestrated it and fabricated most of what we saw to stop the Arab League from taking action against the regime.”
He said that security forces had not withdrawn their tanks from the streets - as mandated by the Arab League peace initiative - but had just hidden them and then brought them back out after the observers had left.
Mr Malek also said imprisoned protesters who were shown by state television being freed last month as part of an amnesty were actually people who had been detained at random four or five days earlier.
Let that sink in - we’ve got a former member of the Arab League saying that Assad is engaging in war crimes, all while manipulating the mission for his own purposes and the mission is going along with this.