The criminal practice of laundering is no longer limited to the realm of finance; corrupt regimes also require this method to wash the disgrace of their actions, even if this ultimately leaves them dirtier. It seems that the Syrian regime now needs to resort to this method to prevent an imminent collapse, and this time the laundering is courtesy of the head of the Arab observation team, General Mustafa al-Dabi.
The difference between money laundering and the Syrian regime’s laundering is that it the latter is less intelligent and more destructive. The regime’s cards have been exposed, its statements blatant, and the situation in Syria, as my colleague Tariq Alhomayed said, “does not require delegations and observers, but rather it requires a real effort to stop the al-Assad killing machine”. I would add that every Syrian citizen has turned into an observer with no recognition; a correspondent with no salary. Their mobile phone cameras are depicting, monitoring, documenting and fuelling media content across the internet, which appears on major global satellite channels within minutes, and without them the world would not have seen the horrors of the regime and its crimes.
I saw General al-Dabi for the first time on a satellite news program, and he was walking amongst the Syrian protestors with a certain swagger. He had a swollen chest and his facial expression was stern, as if he was reviewing a military line up, walking with his face away from the protestors even when they spoke, barely responding to their cries of distress, as if they were insolent beggars. This left me with a feeling of alienation towards him and his observer mission, and I scolded myself for my hasty assessment, which was not based upon wise perceptions. However, after al-Dabi’s provocative statements overlooking the crimes of the al-Assad regime, my initial feelings were proved to be correct.
The choice of a military figure to lead this noble humanitarian mission; a nominee from a military regime that is stained with blood in many areas of Sudan where massacres have taken place – and where we do not know al-Dabi’s role – and the al-Assad regime blessing this nomination and then praising al-Dabi and his comments, has made the Arab people – as well as the world’s media – doubt the integrity of the General’s nomination. Some have suggested that Syria interfered to “create” these arrangements, with the help of the Sudanese government. Regardless of whether this this conspiracy theory is credible or not, the facts on the ground and al-Dabi’s abhorrent comments, which do not difference between the executioner and the victims in Syria, are suffice to condemn this observer, and put pressure upon the Arab League to quickly change the head of the mission, along with any observers who have obeyed al-Dabi rather than God and their conscience. Of course, this does not include a number of honorable observers, whose genuine voices in conveying the suffering of the captive Syrian people have been overshadowed by the noise of General al-Dabi’s statements.
The Arab people do not want the new head of the observer mission to be prejudiced against the Bashar al-Assad regime, or to have already sympathized with the suffering of the Syrian people. They want an honest, neutral, transparent leader, who describes the Syrian scene as it is, without cosmetics or embellishments. The leader must be indifferent to complex political accounts, and must not be politicized or commandeered by any regime. We want the Arab observation project in Syria to be successful, because several Arab areas could potentially lead to a reproduction of the Syrian scene, God forbid. This would require action similar to this noble mission, and its success will ensure that future solutions to problems in the Arab house are conducted by Arab hands.