I don't mean to be rude to and denigrate the high-level diplomatic investigative fact-finding mission currently underway, but what exactly is the Arab League hoping to accomplish in Syria?
Are they hoping to catch the Syrian army red-handed in some appalling crackdown even though they are there on the government's invitation and "under Syria's protection?"
Are they planning on talking to distressed Syrian activists in plain sight of Syrian government minders who will torture or imprison them as soon as the diplomats leave?
Are they planning on uncovering massive government tank deployments and opposition stockpiles of smuggled weapons even though both sides have had advanced warnings of their arrival?
I am glad that the Arab League is taking the lead and showing concern when it comes to the civil war in Syria, but come on, if the Arab League is serious about holding the Syrian government responsible, isn't it time they do more than go on fact finding missions?
What new revelations are they going to come away with anyway? Pictures of more bullet holes and shelled buildings? More mass protests? Isn't this already well established and accepted news... Roughly 5,000 people have already died. Shouldn't that be worthy of more actions?
It's not likely that the observers will be shown the real stories. For one, what mid-level diplomat wants to be caught in the middle of a city being shelled? Even if they were hoping to witness what is actually happening, it can't come as a surprise that Syrian authorities have moved thousands of prisoners to military bases in order to keep them hidden from Arab League officials. Or that another Syrian was killed in Homs, but away from the observers. Or that the Syrian government already (temporarily) withdrew its tanks.
For the past nine months the world has known that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been ruthlessly cracking down on his people. A "fact-finding" mission led by the Syrian government themselves is not going to discover anything new or shocking.
Everyone but Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iran has condemned the Syrian regime (when Putin and Iran are standing up for you, you know you are in trouble). Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad has proven he is as much a brutal dictator as his father was.
If the Arab League wants to take a leading role and help bring peace and stability to their own region, it's time they get off the fence and come out strong against Syria. Until they do, more blood will be spilt and lives will be lost.
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