- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Sudanese general linked to genocide in Darfur is leading an Arab League team to Syria to monitor the regime’s compliance with a promise to end its violent crackdown on anti-government protesters.

Gen. Mohamed Ahmad al-Dabi served as Sudan’s military intelligence chief, and President Omar Bashir appointed him as his representative in the western province of Darfur in the late 1990s.

In Darfur, Gen. al-Dabi recruited and armed Arab militias and set the building blocks for the mass killing of black Africans, said Omer Ismail, a Sudan analyst with the Enough Project, an anti-genocide group.

“He was one of the architects of the genocide in Darfur. Instead of going to Syria, he should be investigated by the ICC and held accountable for his deeds,” he added.

The Hague-based International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for Gen. al-Dabi on charges of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur. He denies the allegations.

Mousab Azzawi, chief coordinator with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said in an interview from London that Gen. al-Dabi’s presence undermines the credibility of the Arab League mission.

“Out of 340 million Arabs, they could not find one decent person to lead the observer mission?” he said.

Gen. al-Dabi on Wednesday said that he had seen “nothing frightening” in the restive city of Homs, where the Syrian military has inflicted mass casualties.

About one-third of the more than 5,000 deaths documented by the United Nations in the uprising that started in March have been reported from Homs.

Nevertheless, Gen. al-Dabi told the Reuters News Agency, “The situation seemed reassuring so far.”

His comments sparked an angry response from the Syrian opposition.

“I wonder if he does not have a much higher threshold than others for what constitutes frightening, given his own baggage,” said Rafif Jouejati, a spokeswoman for the civil resistance movement in Syria.

Members of the opposition Syrian National Council worry that Gen. al-Dabi’s comments portend a possible Arab League whitewash of the crackdown on protesters by Syrian President Bashar Assad.

An Arab League official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Gen. al-Dabi is not wanted by the ICC in connection with war crimes in Darfur, but declined to say whether the accusations would affect the monitors’ mission in Syria.

The Obama administration has called on the Syrian regime to allow unfettered access to the monitors. However, the Arab League team is accompanied by Syrian military minders, deterring many who want to report atrocities committed by the regime’s forces but fear for their safety.

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