Inside Syria
Is the Arab League mission doomed to fail?
Despite the presence of the Arab League observers in Syria the government crackdown on protesters continues.
Last Modified: 01 Jan 2012 15:06

Almost a week has passed since the Arab League observers arrived in Syria. But despite their presence on the ground the bloodshed continues.

"I don't think they [the Arab League observers] are capable of doing anything. A different strategy that would rely on the Syrian people themselves to be able to mount their own uprising to overthrow the regime could have been the real strategy. Otherwise the affairs of running Syria
and undertaking change in the country are going to be left, like in Libya, to NATO."

- As'ad Abukhalil, a professor of political science at California State University

While opposition activists have been deeply skeptical of the observer mission, the outpouring of demonstrators across Syria on Friday underscored their wish to make their case to the foreign monitors and to take advantage of the small measure of safety they feel they brought with them.

Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets around the country, emboldened by the presence of the Arab League observers.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says monitors visited Idlib, Hama, Deraa and Homs on Friday, yet at least 35 people were killed across Syria. Witnesses say government snipers were seen firing into crowds.

How effective is the Arab League mission? Has the Syrian regime managed to continue their heavy handed crackdown on protesters despite the Arab League's presence on the ground? Who controls the Syrian military, and how does it function against protesters?

Inside Syria discusses with guests: Elias Hanna, a retired Brigadier General; As'ad Abukhalil, a professor of political science at California State University; and Ahed al-Hendi, a programme coordinator for the US-based human rights organisation cyberdissident.org and the founder of Syrian Youth for Justice.

"Should the regime fail to meet the commitments that it has taken up on itself then there will be no option left for us except to go to the United Nations Security Council, and I believe that matters are heading in that direction at the moment. We are going to the Security Council as we have seen the regime still resorts to snipers, thugs and still prevents people from demonstrating in public."

Burghan Ghalioun, head of the Syrian National Council

Al Jazeera
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