Assad signed a protocol for allowing Arab observers to enter the country even as his killing machine continued its operations. The move was not a concession, but another stalling tactic. Assad was just granted several weeks of respite in which he can do pretty much what he wants, knowing that nothing will take place in the meantime on the regional or international scene to hurt him. Thanks Arab League!
Monday 19, 2011
Today’s death toll: 114. The Breakdown: 80 defectors, 72 in the town of Kinsafrah in Idlib Province, and 8 in Hassakeh Province. 34 were killed in ongoing crackdown against protesters in Deir Ezzor, Idlib, Deraa/Hauran and Damascus City. All defectors were killed as they tried to desert their units and join the protesters.
Meanwhile, protest communities continue observing the general strike for a 10th consecutive day.
Observe the handiwork of Assad’s snipers in all its glory/gory in Homs City http://youtu.be/YmoAsIwGQaQ
Let’s make things clear. The signing of the protocol to allow “international” monitors into the country is a major boost to Assad and a major setback for the revolution. It’s not a concession, but a reward. The signing will give Assad few more weeks during which he can continue to kill with impunity. The fact that the signing of the protocol coincided with the bloodiest day in weeks simply underscores the point.
The mission of the monitors is scheduled to last for a whole month, and already Assad’s Foreign Minister has warned the lucky group that they will be targeted by armed gangs. More importantly, should the Assads succeed in seeding the group with monitors from Algeria, Sudan, Iraq and Lebanon, as some expect them to, then we can all expect a highly conflicted report to emerge in a month time that will reflect the ideological divides within the Arab League. The AL can then be relied upon, as always, to find new ways to stall, dither and waste time. Meanwhile, the killing will continue, and the situation on the ground will worsen.
This is not a protocol over sending monitors, but a new lease on life. Assad’s FM said that Assad’s decision to sign the protocol came in response to Russian advice. He was probably referring to the Russian Mafia.
The Syrian National Council concluded its meeting in Tunis by holding a press conference and reading a statement that consigned it to further irrelevance. The statement hit all the right notes, from vowing commitment to minority rights and support to the Free Syrian Army to calling for the protection of civilians through the establishment of buffer zones and safe zones.
But the problem with the Council remains the same: its leaders, their squabbles, their ideological predilections, their arrogance, especially when dealing with minorities, not mention other opposition groups, their lack of transparency and their complete disregard to popular sentiments.
SNC leaders had a mission at this stage of healing rifts within the Syrian opposition whose internecine disputes had long spilled over into the ranks of the protesters and is seriously undermining the work of local coordination committees and councils. But SNC leaders have not just fail to rise up to expectations, they have even failed to acknowledge the mission. It’s as though they are fighting for a different cause. Perhaps they are.
The international community is free to legitimize and recognize who and what it wants, but so are the protesters. Meanwhile, the rift separating the revolutionaries from their self-appointed spokesmen and leaders, and that separating them from the rest of the world continue to grow.