By Ria Novosti
The Syrian opposition is pushing for the resignation of a Sudanese general heading the Arab League’s monitoring mission in Syria, al Arabiya reported on Friday.
Lt. Gen. Mohamed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi, who held a top position in the government of Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, arrived in Syria last week with a group of 50 Arab Leage observers and 10 officials to check whether the peace plan is being observed.
He was strongly criticized by the opposition after his arrival when he said that the situation in Syria was calm and reassuring. The opposition then called the Arab League’s mission “a farce” as anti-government protests on Syrian streets continue, al Arabiya said.
Arab League officials however said that their responsibilities were not to stop the violence, but to observe and analyze the situation.
Amnesty International denounced the appointment of al-Dabi, saying that he had headed the Sudanese military intelligence service in the 1990s.
“During the early 1990s, the military intelligence in Sudan was responsible for the arbitrary arrest and detention, enforced disappearance, and torture or other ill-treatment of numerous people in Sudan,” Amnesty International said in a statement.
The human rights watchdog also said that al-Dabi’s appointment “undermines the League’s efforts so far and seriously calls into question the mission’s credibility.”
The Arab League plans to eventually boost the number of international monitors in Syria to 150. According to media reports, the observers will oversee the situation in the troubled cities of Homs and Hama, the capital Damascus and the northern city of Idlib. A group of Arab League monitors arrived to Syria late on Monday on a mission.
Earlier on Friday, the Moscow-based Arabic-language newspaper Anbaa Mosku, said that the Arab League had created a special e-mail address for complaints from journalists who may report violations of their professional duties in Syria.
The UN says Syrian President Bashar Assad’s crackdown on the protests, inspired by uprisings across the Arab world this year, has killed more than 5,000 people. Authorities blame armed gangs for the violence and say 1,100 soldiers and police have been killed.
The Arab League suspended Syria and imposed economic sanctions, joining the United States, the European Union and neighboring Turkey who have also imposed sanctions.
Russia on December 16 presented a surprising draft resolution at the United Nations which stepped up its criticism of the bloodshed in Syria. The draft demands that “all parties in Syria immediately stop any violence irrespective of where it comes from,” but does not call for sanctions.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the proposal presented a “seeming parity between the government and peaceful protesters,” but that the United States was going to “study the draft carefully.”