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Arab League Syria Task Force Head Says Monitors Have Made ‘Mistakes’

By Ben Armbruster  

"Arab League Syria Task Force Head Says Monitors Have Made ‘Mistakes’"

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Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani

The Arab League has received immense criticism for its monitoring mission in Syria. Rights groups first questioned the organization’s decision to appoint a war crime-linked Sudanese general to lead the mission, while activists on the ground say the Assad regime is deceiving the monitors. The Arab League Secretary-General said this week that the monitors have failed to halt the violence in Syria and today, Qatar’s prime minister said the group has made a series of mistakes in its mission:

“This is the first experience for us. I said we have to evaluate what sorts of mistakes” have been made, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani, who heads the bloc’s task force on Syria, was quoted as saying by the Kuwaiti news agency KUNA.

There is no doubt for me. I can see there are mistakes, but we went there not to stop the killing but to monitor,” the Qatari prime minister added.

CNN reports that Syrians plead their cases to the monitors, most of whom simply drove through the most violent areas “like tourists,” but the Arab League representatives tell them to file a complaint. “They say come see us in our office. File a report,” activist Abdel Rahman told CNN. “I responded, do you want us all slaughtered?” Watch the CNN report:

Meanwhile, Reuters reports today that Syrian opposition activists said that despite Arab League claims, government forces have not pulled back from the streets in towns where the violence has been the worst. “We are not seeing the release of detainees or the true removal of a military presence from the streets,” said Rami Abdelrahman, head of the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. “Army tanks have been replaced with police armored personnel carriers that still have the capability to shoot heavy weaponry.”

‹ National Security Brief: January 5, 2012

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