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The EU stands ready to assist Arab observers in Syria. Which ?

(BRUSSELS2) The European Union is ready to provide assistance “ technical to the Arab observers who are beginning to deploy in Syria, as long as the Arab League requests it », as recently recalled by Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs. But, for the moment, said a diplomatic service official to B2, “ however, we have not yet received an official request from the Arab League ».

Help that must remain discreet

In any case, this aid must, above all, remain above all, very discreet ". The Arab League does not intend to be open to accusations of interference. NB: the example of the Arab Deterrence Force deployed in Lebanon at the end of the 1970s is still remembered by some; a multinational force, it then became above all the armed arm of Syria among its Lebanese neighbor. The more recent example of Libya is also present. “ The Arab League wants to keep this crisis (Syria) under its control explains our interlocutor.

European experience can be useful

The European contribution could, despite everything, be first and foremost feedback from experience. The EU has carried out several different observation missions in the past: ensuring a ceasefire as in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s or even today in Georgia; or of a more ad hoc nature, particularly in the context of electoral missions which are regularly deployed. And she learned a series of lessons from it “ that could be useful and put to good use by Arab observers »: the organization of observers, liaison with the command center. European support could also be more outside Syria than on the ground. This would involve seeing how the connection between observers on the ground and the command center can be ensured, or for the organization of this command center, strictly speaking.

The Europeans also remain very cautious before committing, waiting to know in which direction the Arab observers will take.

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).