Monday, 2 January 2012

An open line to the Middle East

“Latakia Simmers, Homs Paralyzed, Outrage against Dabi.” That’s how today’s banner headline in Saudi Asharq Alawsat encapsulates news about Syria.
Gen. Mustafa al-Dabi is the tainted Sudanese head of the Arab League’s Syria observer mission.
Like all other Arab media outlets, Alawsat underscores the call made by Ali Salem al-Diqbassi, Kuwaiti speaker of the 88-member Arab Parliament, on the League to end its observer mission because of the ongoing crackdown on protests. Diqbassi said the observers had to leave “considering the ongoing killing of innocent civilians by the Syrian regime.”
He said there has been no letup in state violence against protesters since the observers started their mission in Syria, adding: “This has infuriated Arab peoples and undercut the fact-finding mission… thereby giving the Syrian regime an Arab cover to continue its inhumane practices under the nose of the Arab League.”
Jordanian columnist Raja Talab, writing for Amman’s al-Rai, says deaths in Syria are so well documented that they need not be verified by Dabi. He says the linchpin of a solution in Syria is not the observer mission but the November 2 Arab peace roadmap. The roadmap calls for the release of all detainees, the withdrawal of military forces from populated areas, free access to observers and Arab and international media people and League-sponsored negotiations between Damascus and the Syrian opposition.
Qatar’s Aljazeera quotes activists as saying 10 more civilians were gunned down across Syria on New Year’s Day, most of them in the cities of Homs and Hama. This takes to at least 300 the number of people killed since the monitors arrived in the country on December 27, according to the activists.
But Aljazeera also says “new observers from Tunisia, Sudan, Iraq and the GCC member states have arrived in Cairo to join their colleagues in Syria.”
Lebanese Hezbollah’s al-Manar today carries two Iran-related video clips on (1) Iran’s Navy test firing of an advanced surface-to-air missile during war games in international waters. It says, “the sea maneuvers will conclude with tactical drills to take control of, and close, the Strait of Hormuz” (2) The Islamic Republic’s successfully testing of its first locally produced nuclear fuel rod. “By so doing, Iran crosses the threshold of peaceful nuclear technology from the wide door.”