Posts Tagged ‘ Bashar Al-Assad ’

Obama’s Dilemma And World Hesitation


Over a year ago I contributed a piece to this website which mentioned the use of torture by Syrian government forces in an organised fashion. It should be no surprise to us that the Assad regime has gone ahead and used gas on its own people. The Assad regime is without a doubt an evil regime hell-bent on maintaining power in any way possible. It is disheartening and tragic that this can continue in the twenty first century. We are essentially sitting watching another Rwanda happen, albeit over a longer period of time.

Living in the large shadow of the Gulf War II it is to be expected that western powers are going to be hesitant to intervene in another Middle East conflict. Assad’s regime is reportedly preparing for a U.S. strike, with reports coming through of troops, ordinance and sensitive documents being moved to civilian buildings and discreet locations. Obama’s decision to delay any possible action seems to be allowing time for Assad to prepare for this possibility. However the decision is hugely complex and Obama will have a number of motivations for his decision.

Following on Britain’s example, Obama is seeking Congressional approval for his action. One can easily see the allure of having a strong consensus built behind military action, given the disaster that was Iraq. Domestic factors may be present in the president’s mind. Intervening without Congressional approval (as in Libya) would leave Obama and the Democrats open to criticism from Rand Paul et al, hailing the UK as an example of how a democracy should decide on entering into a war. This would be an easy card to play to an American public which may balk at the prospect of another drawn out war. They have seen enough American boys come home in body bags.

Syria is also stocked full of new Russian anti-aircraft technology, and the supply chain will not halt any time soon. The UN is also unlikely to reach a strong consensus due to Russia and China’s position on the Security Council. This is an issue which needs to be changed as the current setup of the security council prevents it functioning to its full and proper potential.

There are numerous other complications so boggling that nobody can say with any certainty what will happen. The Islamic fundamentalist elements among the Syrian rebels are a mysterious threat. During this week, Iran threatened retaliation against Israel if Syria were struck. The war has already spilled over into Lebanon. Egypt, once reliable as a bastion of stability, is now more chaotic than any other point in recent years. One cannot blame America for being apprehensive about beginning to bomb a region that could inflame the whole region.

The great tragedy of these complications is that the carnage continues. This was the second gas attack by Syrian government forces, twice crossing Obama’s ‘Red Line’. The UK’s rash decision to avoid war, and America’s hesitation will send out the wrong message worldwide. This message is clear when we hear reports of the Syrian government taunting America’s aversion to war and loss of superpower status. To prevent mass war crimes against whole peoples in the future, perpetrators must understand they will be brought to justice. John Kerry has a reputation as a dull operator, but he has been an ardent supporter of intervention. He is one of a few prominent politicians with the conviction to call the Syrian government for what it is.

The firm line taken by France is hardly surprising given their willingness to become involved in former colonies like Chad and Mali.

Obama had missed the opportunity to be decisive and take a firm line on Syria. The UK has essentially forfeited its chance to help. The memories of Iraq, and the continuing deadlock of the U.N. Security Council means we are facing into more misery and more dead civilians with no end in sight.

The Beginning of the End, a Short Follow Up to the Syrian Situation as it Stands

It may have come in a brutal manner but it would seem that President Basher Al-Assad’s regime is within clear sight of its demise. Yesterday a bomb tore through the National Security Headquarters of the regime in Damascus. It left 3 top officials, and key advisors to Assad, dead, one of whom was Assad’s brother-in-law. 

The beautiful, ancient city of Damascus has seen days of intense fighting. As we speak Government forces are staging a fierce response to the assassinations yesterday. Fresh fighting has been reported all over the city. Many are fleeing the city as it becomes a war ground between Government forces and rebel fighters.

Some have come out to condemn the attacks yesterday. China has strongly condemned the bombing. In a statement from Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei, it was stated that “China opposes all forms of terrorism and violence and strongly condemns yesterday’s bombing attacks in Damascus”. The statement has left many bewildered. China has remained somewhat taciturn on the crimes committed by Assad forces in the past 15 months. Hong Lei also said that “China is deeply worried about the rising tensions in Syria and we again urge all sides in Syria to immediately ceasefire and stop the violence”. China has stood by Russia’s side twice since the conflict began in blocking earlier resolutions, so it is bewildering to many what China’s real stance on Syria is.

It is the rejection of earlier resolutions in Syria that have caused the country to descend into brutal civil war. The International Red Cross recently concluded that Syria was now in a state of  ‘Civil War’. This is important because the two sides are now subject to international humanitarian law. The law is also retroactive which means any crimes committed before the ‘civil war’ status can be considered war crimes. It is also important because it should give the non-interventionalists, like Russia and China, more incentive to vote for a resolution, which seems unlikely for Russia has already said that it will not support any intervention at this point in time.

You get the sense that it is all a little too late anyway. the fighting is entering its last, and possibly bloodiest, phase. The international bodies that are in place to serve and protect us have failed again, as they did in Bosnia. As it was in Bosnia, and as it is in Syria, with little or no help the uprising was (or seemingly is) a success, but a bloody and violent one. With a resolution a little earlier the lives os thousands could have been spared. The intrepid freedom fighters can call this one their own. As for Assad, his forces will fight until the end, wreaking as much havoc as they can before the removal of their leader.

Pro Assad Forces Bring More Bloodshed To War Ravaged Syria

Shocking reports of yet another massacre have reached us today from Syria. Early yesterday morning Government troops loyal to Bashar al-Assad descended upon the village of Al-Treimseh, west of the city of Hamah.

Residents of the village have said that the town was bombarded by tanks and helicopters in the early hours of Thursday (12/07) morning. As villagers tried to flee the attack members of the pro-Assad militia group, the much feared Shabiha, ruthlessly shot and executed many of them. Activist groups have said the death toll is over 200, with numbers expected to rise. The devastation is enormous. After what will be the 5th, and bloodiest, massacre this year alone, the death toll will rise above 500. The first massacre occurred on the 3rd of February in Homs, with around 55 people losing their lives. It was this massacre that really attracted attention from around the world. But all the attention and condemnation didn’t stop another four from happening since. On the 3rd of April Assad’s military murdered approximately 59 in Idlib. The two massacres preceding the one yesterday occurred on the 25th of May and the 6th of June and were all the more distressing and saddening to learn that most that had perished were women and children. 187 people were slaughtered.

What people don’t realise is that the men have mostly all joined in the fighting and the revolution and have left the home. The towns and villages that are being destroyed contain the wives, children, and sisters of those intrepid men fighting for the freedom of their country. It is feared that yesterday’s massacre will be no different from the two that preceded it.

The state news agency, run largely by and through pro-Assad followers, blamed the killings on the revolutionaries. The dignity and integrity of the claim is questioned by the sheer weight of evidence against the Assad regime. They claim that the ‘terrorist’ revolutionary group carried out the massacre to sway public opinion with the upcoming UN Security Council meeting, although these claims will not be met with any serious scrutiny.

The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights have posted a graphic video showing the bodies of a number of Syrian civilians following the massacre. They also report that intense and violent clashes have occurred between rebel fighters and Syrian troops in the city of Deir Izzor following the news of what has happened in Al-Treimseh. The death toll quoted by the SOHR is 160.

The Syrian National Council (SNC) has urged the Security Council, which meet on Sunday, to put an end once and for all to the crisis. They have said that “To stop this bloody madness which threatens the entity of Syria, as well as peace and security in the region and in the world, requires an urgent and sharp resolution of the Security Council under Chapter VII (UN Charter), which protects the Syrian people”. The chapter states that the Council can “determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression and shall make recommendations, or decide what measures shall be taken…to maintain or restore international peace and security”, (Article 39).

The charter clearly states UN countries should be protected from this horrific murder and aggression, so it begs the question, why hasn’t anything been done up until now?