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My English wording of Tariq Alhomayed’s editorial appearing today in Arabic in Saudi Asharq Alawsat:
I was privy to confusing and disturbing information concerning the Arab League and its perception and handling of the Syria File and its view of the Syrian opposition. It was passed on to me by unimpeachable and highly informed sources. I am publishing it here in the style of unprejudiced queries so as to give the Arab League the benefit of the doubt.
The information suggests that, in explaining conditions in Syria and how to handle them, a very senior League official told his visitor, “There are not more than 3,000 Syrian activists on the ground. They instigate the street protests. The regime of Bashar al-Assad is looking for them. The finale in Syria will come when the regime hunts them down and gets rid of them.”
The aforesaid official expects this to happen by February. He also questions the Syrian opposition’s commitment. He questions its sources of funding, saying: “It has oodles of cash… I wish I knew where from.”
Others at the League are tittle-tattling that a Gulf state supplied Assad’s regime with electronic surveillance technologies to intercept “Thuraya” satellite mobile phone sets (used by activists for satellite communication). My authoritative source involved in this file says Assad’s regime was the first to spread the rumor, which has since been picked up by some Arabs. He says Intelligence data however shows it’s the Iranians who are supplying Assad’s regime with the electronic surveillance technologies. They used them to great effect to put down the Green Revolution protests at home.
The information does not stop here. It says deployment of Gulf members of the monitoring team was held up by the regime's attempt to bar entry to those hailing from Qatar. The other Gulfites stood by the Qataris, which embarrassed the Arab League and forced Assad’s regime to let them all in.
In the same vein, and according to my authoritative source, Assad’s regime did not sign the monitoring protocol before getting word from the Arab League that Sudanese Gen. M. al-Dabi will head the observer mission.
All the above raises concern over Arab League intentions vis-à-vis the Syrian revolution. Do we have here a case of breakdown and confusion or one of bad intentions aimed at buoying up Assad’s regime despite its crimes?
So, what’s happening in truth?