Arab League Parliament calls for recall of observer team from Syria
They've only been there a week but the Arab League observers have already seen enough, says the organization's parliament.
An Arab League advisory body called on Sunday for the immediate withdrawal of the organization's monitoring mission in Syria, saying it was allowing Damascus to cover up continued violence and abuses.
The Arab League has sent a small team to Syria to check whether President Bashar al-Assad is keeping his promise to end a crackdown on a nine-month uprising against his rule.
The observer mission has already stirred controversy. Rights groups have reported continued deaths in clashes and tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets to show the observers the extent of their anger.
The Sudanese head of the mission also infuriated some observers by suggesting he was reassured by first impressions of Homs, one of the main centers of unrest.
The Arab Parliament, an 88-member advisory committee of delegates from each of the League's member states, on Sunday said the violence was continuing to claim many victims.
"For this to happen in the presence of Arab monitors has roused the anger of Arab people and negates the purpose of sending a fact-finding mission," the organization's chairman Ali al-Salem al-Dekbas said.
The next step for the Arab League is unclear. They may ask for UN intervention, or they may try to establish buffer areas inside Syria to protect civilians. Any strong action is likely to be very controversial and opposed by Yemen, Lebanon, and Iraq - the same nations that opposed sanctions.
In the end, the small number of observers did little good and accomplished nothing. It's clear that Assad ignored their presence and continued his crackdown. What the Arab League does next is likely to be equally ineffectual.
Syria is probably headed for a full scale civil war as the army defectors become better armed and better organized, The bloodshed will almost certainly escalate with no end in sight either to the crackdown or resistance to the continued rule of President Assad.