Today In Syria: The Arab League Arrives

Andrew Sullivan —  Dec 28 2011 @ 1:47pm

… to protests with 70,000 participants and scenes like the one above, where AL monitors are confronted with the body of a murdered child. Yet some monitors are preposterously asserting they see "nothing frightening" in Homs. David Kenner guesses at why that might be:

[Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa al] Dabi [the head of the monitoring mission] may be the unlikeliest leader of a humanitarian mission the world has ever seen. He is a staunch loyalist of Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for genocide and crimes against humanity for his government's policies in Darfur. And Dabi's own record in the restive Sudanese region, where he stands accused of presiding over the creation of the feared Arab militias known as the "janjaweed," is enough to make any human rights activist blanch.

EA's liveblog is keeping close tabs on updates from the Arab League mission, including some evidence that observers were shot at during an inspection. Elias Muhanna looks [NYT] at how the uprising has transformed the Syrian blogosphere:

This highly polarized response is symptomatic of a broader culture war that has recently emerged among Syria watchers. For the first decade of Assad’s presidency, most Syrian blogs I read were fairly supportive of the regime because of its commitment to the Palestinian cause and its opposition to the United States and Israel. But this year has changed everything.

Here's a protest in Hama:

This man is being rushed to a makeshift opposition hospital after an artillery strike:

And here you can watch Assad thugs shoot directly at protestors documenting their brutality: