A primary team of Arab League peace monitors are expected to arrive in Syria on Thursday as the violent revolt against President Bashar al-Assad rages on. However, despite the move, the Syrian opposition is still clamoring for foreign intervention.
Arab League Secretary General Nabil Elaraby told Reuters Tuesday that a remaining 150 monitors would arrive by the end of the month.
"In a week's time, from the start of the operation, we will know (if Syria is complying)," Elaraby said, the agency reports.
Damascus signed a protocol on Monday seeking to put an end to the cycle of violence that has left the country on the verge of all-out civil war.
While Russia and China welcomed Syria’s decision to allow observers into the country, the US State Department was more cynical, stating it was “less interested in a signed piece of paper” than in concrete actions.
Perhaps following Washington's lead, the Syrian opposition has also dismissed the plan as a stalling tactic on the part of the Assad regime. However, Beirut-based political analyst and journalist Dr. Omar Nashabe told RT that those parts of the opposition which continue to call for foreign military intervention have shown their true colors.
“I think the move by the Syrian government to accept the coming of Arab observers to Syria is a very positive move, and … if there is good faith, one actually welcomes a positive move. When the Syrian opposition – or at least part of the Syrian opposition – answered that positive move with more insistence on foreign intervention in Syrian affairs, that actually shows, once again, that the intentions of [at least part of] the opposition … are not the well-being of the Syrian people.”
Meanwhile, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says more than 60 soldiers were gunned down in the northwestern Idlib province on Monday as they left a military base, and that 40 others have been shot dead throughout the country.
However, Nashabe argues, Syrian security forces are stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to dealing with the revolt.
“It is very difficult for the army and for the police and security forces in Syria to refrain from arresting people who are shooting at government institutions or deserters from the army. Any country in the world where you would have part of the army deserting and occupying certain buildings and shooting at civilians, that would actually compel the security forces to interfere forcefully and stop these people, so that is what is happening in Syria.”
While Nashabe says it is necessary to stop the flow of money that is helping to further militarize the opposition, for some, a Libya-style intervention is what could be thwarted if the observer mission is successful.
“[The opposition] has reached a point after nine months of attempting to destabilize the situation in Syria that they’re really ready for a full-fledged war … That is why the Syrian government is trying as hard as possible to act positively," Nashabe said. "In order to calm the situation down so that such destruction and full-fledged war can be prevented; so that real concrete solutions based on reforms can be implemented. That is what President Bashar Assad announced earlier and that is what he intends to do."
Regional expert Dr Hisham Ghassib says those who look to foreign intervention in Syria do not really have humanitarian motives.
“We know how the Syrian people feel – they are all against foreign intervention. And we have seen what foreign intervention has done in other countries, in Iraq, for example, and in Libya recently. It was a disaster. So nobody no Arab, I think – not only the Syrians – would welcome a foreign intervention.”
Ghassib believes that “the so-called opposition,” as he put it, “have gone out of their minds.”
“They are beginning to lose contact with the Syrian people, it’s simple as that. These people are desperate, they want power, they of course want to topple the Syrian regime and they do not care about the country.”
Foreign intervention, Ghassib concludes, would be “inimical not only to the Syrian government, but to the Syrian people.”
Rick Rozoff of “Stop NATO,” a web-based information campaign against the alliance, points out a recent, dangerous pattern of events in North Africa.
“We have to recall that three countries in North Africa – Tunisia, Egypt and Libya – have experienced regime change so far this year, and that the process seems well under way in Yemen and Syria. So what we are looking at is a pattern. What may initially start as a peaceful protest could end up being quite violent as in the case of Libya, with NATO being on behalf of the opposition, and there is a very real prospect of the replication of that model being employed in Syria.”