Blame Homer, not Assad, for the Syrian civil war 2

The Arabs and Islam in general are insulted and humiliated by modernity. The modern world created by the West is a conspiracy against the eternal truths of Muhammad’s perfect revelation. Night and day, year in year out, diligent researchers probe deep into Western culture to dig out the evidence. They found this 2001 episode of The Simpsons, and showed it triumphantly on Egyptian TV, with an explanation that blows wide open the American plot to force the uprising in Syria which evolved into the ongoing civil war.

Why haven’t Obama and Hillary Clinton had the makers of The Simpsons arrested and jailed? And shouldn’t they apologize to Assad?

Posted under Arab States, cartoons, Egypt, satire, Syria, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, May 6, 2014

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Where to turn? 1

You may find it hard to believe this, but Secretary of State John Kerry’s  “peace talks” for Syria have failed.  

This is from the (Kerry-sympathetic) New York Times:

The first round of the Syria peace talks ended on Friday without achieving even its most modest goal: easing the Syrian government’s blockade on the delivery of food and medicine to besieged communities.

Secretary of State John Kerry and Foreign Minister Sergey V. Lavrov of Russia raised expectations in January at a joint news conference in Paris that a way would be found to open humanitarian aid corridors and possibly establish local cease-fires in Aleppo and other cities and towns.

But to the dismay of the United Nations and other humanitarian organizations, even those basic steps proved elusive.

What a surprise!

Now what? Can anything at all be done for non-combatant victims of the Syrian civil war?

There is this:

Physicians for Human Rights urges Israel to allow wounded Syrian refugees to stay for continued care.

Wounded Syrians are treated at this Israeli field hospital on the Golan Heights. Photo: REUTERS

Humanitarian help pleaded for from the “Nazi-like”, “apartheid state” of Israel?

This is from the Jerusalem Post:

With the collapse of peace talks on Friday between President Bashar Assad’s regime and the opposition, the prospect of more wounded Syrians seeking treatment and refuge in Israel will continue to rise.

UN special representative Lakhdar Brahimi delivered a harsh verdict for Syrian civilians confronted with spectacular levels of violence: “We’ve had just eight days of negotiations in Geneva…. I’m sorry to report there was no progress.”

The Jerusalem Post obtained Israel Health Ministry correspondence showing the tensions and dilemmas among medical professionals and advocates for the refugees.

In one letter from the ministry, the agency defended its care of Syrians, but added that “the medical establishment does not have the tools to ensure continuity of care after discharge, nor to protect patient from risk to his life.”

The NGO Physicians for Human Rights (PHR)-Israel has urged Israeli governmental agencies to ensure “availability of continuity of care” following the discharge of hospitalized Syrians.

Israeli medical centers, including a military field hospital in the North, have provided healthcare services to roughly 700 refugees since 2013. The Post reported last week the first known case of a Syrian – a 17-year-old female – requesting asylum. The High Court of Justice rejected her petition and sent her back to Syria in late January. All of this helps to explain the growing involvement of Israel’s legal and medical personnel on the edges of the Syrian civil war.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 136,227 people have been killed since protests broke out against Assad in 2011. More than 2.4 million Syrians are defined as refugees.

Yossi Melman, a leading national security analyst who has written extensively about Syria, told the Post, “Zionism would not collapse if we accept 200 refugees. Why not?’”

Only 200? And then stop? The population of Syria is about 22 million.

Hadas Ziv, public outreach director for PHR-Israel, told the Post last week that Israel should press the UN to set up a safe haven in Syria, near the Israeli border, to create a humanitarian escape corridor.

Gerald Steinberg, a professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University in Ramat Gan, told the Post that the Syrian refugee crisis is “another example of the bankruptcy of the international humanitarian system.” There is “no UN mechanism” to address the problem, he stressed. The UN is “entirely politicized and has nothing to offer.”

Steinberg, who has an expertise in the inner workings of NGOs in the Middle East, said the Syrian refugee situation “leaves Israel completely on its own without the capacity to deal with the issues in a coherent manner. Israel would not get international assistance [even] if it would increase aid.”

Israel is in a “very complex position,” because it is technically in a state of war with Syria and the potent presence of al-Qaida there has added another threat, he said.

Well, maybe John Kerry will come up with a solution.

The bored kid in power 1

It seems that Obama views the civil war in Syria and the threats that it involves – including the use of chemical weapons, the growth of Russian influence, Iranian power projection, and the plight of refugees pouring into neighboring Arab countries – chiefly as a nuisance to himself personally. He excuses his inability to grasp the issues and decide on a policy by alleging that all presidents must be similarly baffled and annoyed by foreign affairs.

A New York Times report reveals this – though the reporters don’t seem to realize the implications. Relating the long dismal story of Obama’s vacillations over several years whenever he had to consider what if anything should be done about the Syrian bloodbath, they write:

In private conversations with aides, Mr. Obama described Syria as one of those hellish problems every president faces, where the risks are endless and all the options are bad.

Someone who fully realizes the implications of all such information that leaks out of the White House about what sort of president Barack Obama is, and what sort of man, is Daniel Greenfield. He  comments scathingly at Front Page:

Barack Obama, Nobel Peace Prize winner, takes going to war every bit as seriously as you would expect.

Even as the debate about arming the [Syrian] rebels took on a new urgency, Mr. Obama rarely voiced strong opinions during senior staff meetings. But current and former officials said his body language was telling: he often appeared impatient or disengaged while listening to the debate, sometimes scrolling through messages on his BlackBerry or slouching and chewing gum.

Obama slept while Americans died in Benghazi because he was prepping to go party in Vegas with Jay-Z. And if Americans weapons fall into the hands of Al Qaeda and end up being used to kill Americans, then while that was being discussed we can take comfort in the fact that the man at the top was taking the time to chew gum, roll his eyes and scroll through his radical pals’ latest Facebook updates.

What did Obama say about Putin again?

The New York Times is reporting that an anonymous source described Russian President Vladimir Putin as “infuriated” when Obama described Putin’s body language “like the bored kid in the back of the classroom.”

Right back atcha, Putin might have said.

Our ridiculous foreign policy is supervised by a ridiculous man-child with more self-esteem than brains who can’t be bothered to pay attention when lives are on the line because his own entertainment comes first.

It’s no surprise that the parents of the Americans murdered in Benghazi have yet to receive a straight answer from Obama. He doesn’t care. That gets in the way of his “Me Time” playing golf and vacationing and partying with music stars and celebs.

War? He’ll show up and play with his phone and then say, “Yes” or “No” or “Let’s think about this some more” and hit the links.

We do not think the US should interfere directly in Syria. There is no good side in that internecine turmoil. But we think America should have a Middle East policy that treats Iran as a threat, Russia as a danger, the Muslim Brotherhood and all its offshoots including al-Qaeda and Hamas as enemies, and Israel as an ally.

“We Bring Hope and Change” by Attila the Hun 4

The New York Times (the equivalent of the Soviet Union’s Izvestia ) published an op-ed written or ostensibly written by the president of Russia, KGB man Vladimir Putin.

He urinated on Obama from a dizzy moral height. (Please – we’re not complaining, only pointing out an hypocrisy.) He explained that it would be wrong for the US to invade Syria, wrong to invade any country if yours was not being attacked and without the agreement of the UN Security Council:

Under current international law, force is permitted only in self-defense or by the decision of the Security Council. Anything else is unacceptable under the United Nations Charter and would constitute an act of aggression.

He laughed up his sleeve when he got his shirt on. But the people of Georgia who were subjected to a Russian invasion in 2008 and had a province or two stripped from them, did not join in the laughter.

Now the Washington Post ( the equivalent of the Soviet Union’s Pravda), not to be outdone, publishes a similarly beguiling piece: an op-ed “by Hassan Rouhani”, the name of the president of Iran.

Here – in a figurative petri dish – we proffer some specimens from it.

The world has changed. International politics is no longer a zero-sum game but a multi-dimensional arena where cooperation and competition often occur simultaneously. Gone is the age of blood feuds. World leaders are expected to lead in turning threats into opportunities.

The international community faces many challenges in this new world — terrorism, extremism, foreign military interference, drug trafficking, cybercrime and cultural encroachment — all within a framework that has emphasized hard power and the use of brute force.

Yes, it does say “terrorism”. And “extremism” and “foreign military interference”. Iran is the biggest financier of terrorism in the world. If the mullahs who run Iran are not “extreme”, nobody is. And not only did Iran launch Hezbollah in Lebanon, its Revolutionary Guards are training Shia rebels in Syria. You see, the Post is quite as capable of poker-faced irony as the Times.

We must pay attention to the complexities of the issues at hand to solve them. Enter my definition of constructive engagement. In a world where global politics is no longer a zero-sum game, it is — or should be — counterintuitive to pursue one’s interests without considering the interests of others. A constructive approach to diplomacy doesn’t mean relinquishing one’s rights. It means engaging with one’s counterparts, on the basis of equal footing and mutual respect, to address shared concerns and achieve shared objectives. In other words, win-win outcomes are not just favorable but also achievable. A zero-sum, Cold War mentality leads to everyone’s loss.

Sadly, unilateralism often continues to overshadow constructive approaches. Security is pursued at the expense of the insecurity of others, with disastrous consequences. …

We must work together to end the unhealthy rivalries and interferences that fuel violence and drive us apart. We must also pay attention to the issue of identity as a key driver of tension in, and beyond, the Middle East.

At their core, the vicious battles in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria are over the nature of those countries’ identities and their consequent roles in our region and the world. The centrality of identity extends to the case of our peaceful nuclear energy program.

Interpretation: “We’re big and important and we want you to say we are, and because we ‘e big and important we must have nuclear … energy.”

To us, mastering the atomic fuel cycle and generating nuclear power is as much about diversifying our energy resources as it is about who Iranians are as a nation, our demand for dignity and respect and our consequent place in the world. Without comprehending the role of identity, many issues we all face will remain unresolved. …

“If you don’t say we’re big and important and as entitled to develop nuclear energy as you are, we won’t talk to you, so there!”

First, we must join hands to constructively work toward national dialogue, whether in Syria or Bahrain. …

“We’re unclenching our fist, Obama, as you asked us to, and we’ll clasp the hand you hold out to us, if you say we’re big and important.”

We must create an atmosphere where peoples of the region can decide their own fates.

“Except Israel, of course.”

As part of this, I announce my government’s readiness to help facilitate dialogue between the Syrian government and the opposition.

“We, Russia, and you. And we and Russia will be calling the shots.”

Second, we must address the broader, overarching injustices and rivalries that fuel violence and tensions.

“By overarching injustices we mean the existence of Israel. By rivalries we mean no more stopping us being a nuclear power too.”  

A key aspect of my commitment to constructive interaction entails a sincere effort to engage with neighbors and other nations to identify and secure win-win solutions. …

After 10 years of back-and-forth, what all sides don’t want in relation to our nuclear file is clear. The same dynamic is evident in the rival approaches to Syria.

This approach can be useful for efforts to prevent cold conflicts from turning hot.

“You’ll force us to use our bomb when we get it if you don’t say we’re big and important now.”

But to move beyond impasses, whether in relation to Syria, my country’s nuclear program or its relations with the United States, we need to aim higher. Rather than focusing on how to prevent things from getting worse, we need to think — and talk — about how to make things better. To do that, we all need to muster the courage to start conveying what we want — clearly, concisely and sincerely — and to back it up with the political will to take necessary action.

“What we want is for you to say we’re big and important. And to annihilate Israel.”

This is the essence of my approach to constructive interaction.

Rouhani wrote that op-ed like your great-grandmother wrote  “War and Peace”. It could not be more glaringly obvious that it was an American Obama-supporting professional political writer (very possibly an Obama speech writer or two) who plonked down all the clichés. Or are such as these common in Persian parlance? – “constructive engagement”; “zero-sum game”; “counterintuitive”; “win-win outcomes”; “unilateralism”; “a key driver”; “diversifying our energy resources”;  “about who Iranians are as a nation”; “facilitate dialogue”; “commitment to constructive interaction”; “the same dynamic” …

The version in his own language, which was read to him for his approval, would have been close to the interpretations we’ve given in italics. So he approved, of course.

“Yes. Let the Americans think I want to clasp the hand and everything. As long as they understand they must first admit we’re …  Sure. You can say I said all that. ” 

Rouhani once boasted that he could deceive the West into thinking he was against nuclear arms while his country went ahead building a nuclear arsenal. He spoke the truth that time.

The rising possibility of war between major powers 6

So it’s coming – war? The big one?

As the Syrian war rages on – now a religious battle between Sunnis and Shiites as much as an armed rebellion against Bashar Assad’s tyranny – the Russians have offered troops to replace the withdrawing Austrian contingent of the UN’s “peace keeping” force on the Golan border between Syria and Israel. It looks likely that Fijian troops will be preferred by the UN, but Putin is nevertheless going ahead and preparing a Golan brigade. He is committed to helping the Syrian dictator Bashar Assad by supplying advanced weaponry, and he has warships near the Syrian coast.

At this juncture, Obama has decided that the US must send military aid to the rebels, composed of al-Qaeda affiliated and Muslim Brotherhood Sunnis. Assad himself is an Alawite, but his main support comes from Shia Iran and Iran’s Shia proxy, Hezbollah.

We quote from the (British) Mail Online .

The chilling headlines:

Could Syria ignite World War 3? That’s the terrifying question as the hatred between two Muslim ideologies sucks in the worlds superpowers.

  • Syrian conflict could engulf region in struggle between Sunni and Shia
  • Already claimed 93,000 lives and made 1.6million people refugees
  • UK, France and U.S. taken different side to China and Russia

The article proceeds:

The crisis in Syria may appear to be no more or less than a civil war in a country many people would struggle to place on a map.

But it’s much more than that: it is rapidly becoming a sectarian struggle for power that is bleeding across the Middle East, with the potential to engulf the entire region in a deadly power struggle between two bitterly opposed Muslim ideologies, Sunni and Shia.

Already, the war inside Syria has resulted in 93,000 dead and 1.6 million refugees, with millions more displaced internally. And those figures are escalating rapidly amid reports of appalling atrocities on both sides.

Fearing that Syria faced the kind of protests that had toppled the rulers of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya during the “Arab Spring”, Bashar al-Assad’s security forces used tanks and gunfire to crush the demonstrations. But it only stoked the fires.

The opposition developed into an armed insurgency, and now Syria has been engulfed in a civil war which has degenerated into a vicious sectarian conflict.

On one side are those who follow President Assad, who belongs to the Alawites — a splinter sect from Shia Islam.

On the other are a loose affiliation of insurgents drawn from the majority Sunni population, some of whom have close links to the Sunni jihadists of Al Qaeda.

The level of savagery is appalling. This week, up to 60 Shia Muslims were reported to have been slaughtered in an attack by opposition fighters in the eastern Syrian city of Hatla. …

Syria might fragment into three or four pieces on sectarian lines, with anyone marooned in the wrong enclave liable to face vicious ethnic cleansing.

And because the conflict is driven by religion, it could easily leap Syria’s frontiers to draw in regional powers.

So who is aligned with whom? Broadly speaking, Assad is supported by Iran (the main Shia power in the Middle East) and its militant Lebanese ally, the terrorist group Hezbollah.

The latter is Iran’s main weapon in any fight with Israel.

As a result, Assad is advised (and protected) by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, and there are also between 5,000 and 8,000 seasoned Hezbollah fighters inside Syria. …

The forces against Assad are joined by thousands of fighters flooding the country every week from across the region.

The rebels have also benefited from the ferocious will-to-die of an Islamist group called Jabhat al-Nusra, which is allied with Al Qaeda in Iraq.

Many more rebels are Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood persuasion.

They are supported with guns and money from Sunni states such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Such are the complex connections between modern nations, and the globalised nature of international politics, that repercussions could be felt around the world.

What happens in Syria affects Israel, with which it shares a militarised border on the Golan Heights. …

Although President Obama wants to downgrade America’s involvement in the Middle East now the U.S. can rely on reserves of cheap shale oil and gas at home, his own somewhat ostentatious concern for human rights keeps sucking him back in to side with the rebels.

We would correct that to (newly appointed Ambassador to the UN) Samantha Power’s and (newly appointed National Security Adviser) Susan Rice’s concern to be concerned gives Obama the excuse he needs to side with the rebels.

Why do we say “excuse”? In his role as pacifist and demilitarizer he is reluctant to have the US actively involved in another war so soon after the Iraq war ended and the Afghanistan war started winding down. But he is (we are convinced) on the side of the Arabs in their endless hostility to Israel, and he is a consistent supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood (sending, for instance, lavish aid to the MB government in Egypt). We guess he would not be sorry to see a Sunni victory – or an Israeli defeat. Regardless of his own prejudices, however, the US has commitments to NATO.

That [“concern for human rights”] is also broadly the position of Britain and France, whose leaders seem swayed by lurid and unverified social media footage of atrocities.

But while leading NATO nations line up in sympathy with the rebels, on the other side President Assad is being backed by Russia — a long-time friend of Syria — and by China.

Russia and China feel they were tricked by the West over the way the Libyan regime was overthrown with Western aid two years ago, and are determined Assad won’t be ousted and murdered like Gaddafi.

The war in Syria therefore has had a destabilising effect on the entire region, and could exert a terrifying domino effect as states disintegrate.

Whether such a nightmare scenario can be avoided — and global superpowers can be persuaded to keep their powder dry — we must wait to see with baited breath.

Obama, having said that if Assad used chemical weapons he would be crossing a “red line”, and having now acknowledged that sarin gas has been used, announced that the US will provide military aid to the Syrian rebels.

While there’s nothing new about the US aiding the Muslim Brotherhood (lavish aid to Egypt’s MB government is a case in point), it will be a strange development for the US to be allied with al-Qaeda. (How, we wonder will the survivors and bereft families of 9/11 feel about it?)

The most fearsome fact is that the powers are lined up now as the Mail reports: China and Russia on the side of the Shias,  Britain and France and the US – which is to say NATO – on the side of the Sunnis. And the West cannot allow Russia and China to become dominant powers on the edge of the Mediterranean.

Syrian barbecue 8

We found the picture via Front Page, and we quote from the article about it by Theodore Shoebat:

According to a report, the victim was a Syrian helicopter pilot who was journeying to bring food to army bases and villages around the Marraat Noman city in the Idleb province, until he was shot down, murdered and beheaded and his head cooked on a grill. …

It is vital to keep in mind that the act of cooking the head of an enemy is rooted deeply in the Islamic religion. The most famous warrior in Sunni Islam’s history, Khalid ibn Walid, decapitated the head of a man named Malik ibn Nuwayrah, before raping his wife; he placed it under a cooking pot in which he cooked food and from which he then ate …

The Hadith for this recounts:

And he [Khalid] ordered they bring his [Malik’s] head and he placed it with two other rocks and he cooked on top of the three a pot, and Khalid ate from it that night in order to terrorize the renegade Arabs and others.

This story is further substantiated by the Arab scholar Ibn Khallikan, who writes the story thus:

[T]he head was put in the place of one of the three stones which supported the flesh-pot. Malik, as we have said, surpassed most men by the abundance of his hair, which was so thick, that the meat was cooked in the pot before the fire had reached the skull. …Khalid seized on the wife of Malik – or by another account he purchased her out of the booty — and married her.

We must now realize: we have not seen the full face of Islam yet; true Islam is more than just terrorism with bombs and guns; it is a cultic system which emphasizes human sacrifice and cannibalization of Allah’s enemies. …

Al Azhar University decreed that it was permissible to cannibalize enemies of Islam … human sacrifice was promoted by Safwat Hegazi … a Syrian rebel grilled a man’s head … [and] we have actual footage, recently released, of a Syrian jihadist eating the heart of his enemy. …

(To watch the disgusting video, see our post Eating their hearts out, May 13, 2013 – two days ago. There can, we think, be some doubt as to whether this is really a human head or perhaps a rubber mask on the grill; but there is no doubt that the rebel leader in the video is taking a bite of a man’s internal organ. Later he confirmed that he ate part of the victim’s lung – raw.)  

While Obama dithers, Israel bombs Syria 1

Obama swore that there would be “enormous consequences” if Bashar Assad, presently at war with al-Qaeda in his own country, used chemical weapons.

Bashar Assad has now used chemical weapons. So Obama has snapped into dithering over whether to do anything about it and if so what.

Meanwhile Israel, being in the region actually threatened by Assad’s lethal chemistry, took to the air and bombed Syrian chemical weapons stores.

This is from The Tower:

Syrian opposition forces reported that IAF [Israeli Air Force] strikes had taken place on Syrian territory. The opposition reports also indicated that the Israeli attack targeted Syria’s chemical weapons program.

Since it is impossible to bomb a program, it is to be understood that Israel targeted chemical weapons. Targeted and destroyed (some of) them.

Israeli officials have been increasingly explicit in warning that Jerusalem would act to prevent the Syrian regime from crossing the double red line that Israeli officials had set at the onset of the Syrian conflict: no transfer of advanced Syrian weapons to terrorist allies of the embattled Bashar al-Assad and no seizure of those weapons by Al Qaeda-linked opponents fighting to overthrow the regime.

President Barack Obama has endorsed the Israeli position [in a manner of speaking]:

“That’s an issue that doesn’t just concern Syria. It concerns our close allies in the region, including Israel. It concerns us,” Obama said, also acknowledging the possibility that militant groups might acquire some of those weapons. “We cannot have a situation where chemical or biological weapons are falling into the hands of the wrong people.”

The president noted that he has not ordered any armed U.S. intervention yet, but said: “We have communicated in no uncertain terms with every player in the region, that that’s a red line for us, and that there would be enormous consequences if we start seeing movement on the chemical weapons front, or the use of chemical weapons. That would change my calculations significantly.”

A great threatener, President Obama.

The odds of transfer or seizure have dramatically increased in recent weeks.

Israeli officials publicly worried earlier this week that Assad’s forces had already transferred small amounts of chemical weapons to the Iran-backed terror group Hezbollah. For its part Hezbollah is thought to have poured literally thousands of fighters into Syria, and has become deeply embedded in the Syrian army’s battles against opposition forces. The regime has kept much of the Syrian army out of the fighting due to fears of defection. There are no such worries with Hezbollah’s fighters, and Hezbollah forces had already been deployed to guard Syrian WMD arsenals months ago. Iran and Hezbollah have also reportedly built an enormous force to seize control of Syria if necessary.

The risk of chemical weapons seizure has also spiked. Areas evacuated by Syrian forces, especially those around the border area with Israel, have been filled in by fighters from the Al Nusra Front. The beginning of April saw the largest redeployment of Syrian army forces in 40 years, and rebels are now within striking distance of Syria’s largest WMD caches. The Al Nusra Front is, according to the the State Department, merely an alias for Al Qaeda, and Al Nusra fighters have pledged allegiance to the global terrorist group. Islamist rebels in Syria have pledged to attack Israel and top Israeli military officials believe those attacks would include the use of chemical weapons. …

As the White House mulls whether Syria has crossed President Obama’s red line and used chemical weapons, the U.S. military and intelligence community are quietly acknowledging that the United States does not know where many of those weapons are located… At the heart of the concern is that the Syrian military has transferred more and more of its stock of sarin and mustard gas from storage sites to trucks where they are being moved around the country. … Also worrisome … is intelligence from late last year that says the Syrian Scientific Research Center — an entity responsible for Syria’s chemical-weapons stockpile — has begun to train irregular militias loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad [namely Hezbollah] in how to use the chemical munitions.

Now Obama can claim that he took action through Israel. So Israel is his right hand. (He is left-handed). He can also, if he thinks it expedient, claim that his left hand doesn’t know what his right hand is doing.

Posted under Israel, News, Syria, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Saturday, May 4, 2013

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Children’s story 11

Both sides of the civil war in Syria torture children to death.

This is from Front Page, by Frank Crimi:

One of the more loathsome horrors of Syria’s civil war has been the deliberate targeting of Syrian children by both pro-government and rebel forces, barbarity which includes imprisonment, rape, torture, sexual abuse, murder, and use as human shields.

That gruesome reality has been chillingly documented in recently released reports by the United Nations [see that pig flying? – JB] and two British-based humanitarian groups working with Syrian refugees, War Child and Save the Children.

While children in war zones are normally caught in the crossfire between opposing forces, the purposeful targeting of young children, according to the July 2012 War Child report, make the Syrian conflict “disturbingly unique”.

Well, the War Child report is just plain wrong there. Palestinian terrorists have been purposely targeting Israeli children for decades – and killing their own (see our post The sacrifice of children to Allah, August 19, 2011). The Lord’s Army in Africa forces children to cook and eat their parents (see our post The Lord’s Army of child slave cannibals, June 14, 2011). We could make a long list. But the point is not whether what the Syrians are doing is unique, but that they are doing it.

They are –

 … abducting children and imprisoning them in former schools which have been converted into specially designed torture centers.

There the children are –

… beaten, blindfolded, and subjected to stress positions, whipped with heavy electrical cables, and scarred by cigarette burns.

One of these victims was a 15-year-old boy named Khalid, tortured in his old school where his father had once been the principal, who said, “They hung me up from the ceiling by my wrists, with my feet off the ground. Then I was beaten. I was terrified.”

In some instances, captors would bind the children’s hands together so tightly that, according to one victim, “the veins in their wrists would start to bleed. I witnessed so many children dying from this torture”.

For some, the maltreatment inflicted was a form of “sexual torture,” sexual violence levied on both boys and girls, some as young as 12, which included “rape, penetration with objects, sexual groping, prolonged forced nudity, and electroshock and beatings to genitalia”. …

The type of sadistic punishment meted out to the children followed no formal protocol, but rather, according to a child sufferer who was subjected to electric shocks, “depended on what mood these men were in … They showed no sympathy, no mercy”.

This abject cruelty was pointedly expressed in the torture and death of a 6-year-old boy named Alaa, who was slated for torture because his father was an anti-government activist wanted by the Syrian regime. … Over the course of three days, the little boy was tortured, beaten and starved by his captors, with one 16-year-old witness to Alaa’s suffering saying, “I watched him die… He was terrified all the time. …” 

They speak of the terror, but not of the pain. How can one not think of the pain? Of six year old children in pain. Think how they must have cried.

These children are housed like animals as well, inhumanely incarcerated in small, overcrowded rooms, often shared with decomposing bodies. Then, as they await their assigned date with their torturer, they are starved for days on end, with their only drinkable water available from the cell’s toilet. …

Children outside [these]  deadly confines face equally lethal dangers, such as being used for target practice. …

One Syrian woman  … witnessed two armed militia men betting on which of them could shoot an 8-year-old boy playing alone in a street. … The men shot the boy, but their shots didn’t kill him right away. As he lay bleeding, the boy’s mother tried to reach him but was kept back by the men, leaving the boy to die hours later alone in the street outside his home. …

While the Syrian government may treat a child’s life as worthless, it has discovered they possess some practical value … serving as human shields … placing them on the front of government tanks and armored personnel carriers as they advance into an opposition held area.

Pretty pointless really, as the opposition cares no more for children than the government does. Using children as shields can only work against people with moral principles and a conscience.

One Syrian man named Nabil witnessed such a barbarous and cowardly act when he [saw]  two tanks entering his village with “children attached to them, tied up by their hands and feet, and by their torsos,” a sight which made Nabil feel so helpless that all he could do was cry.

Tanks “protected” by the bodies of living children – who will not deter the other side from shooting at the tank or blowing it up.

They must be very religious, the people who do such a thing. 

Of course, none of this … comes as a complete shock given that pro-government forces had signaled their contempt for children early on in the Syrian uprising, disregard expressed in the form of regime snipers deliberately shooting children who were part of street protests.

In fact, so distasteful was the sight of child protesters to the Syrian regime that it would take its vengeance by attacking schools. In one village, pro-regime militia went to a grade school, picked 50 children at random, many of whom were as young as 6-years-old, and proceeded to tear out their fingernails….

While most of the acts of violent child assault and murder have been committed by Syrian security forces and pro-regime militias, such as the dreaded Shabiha militias, the hands of opposition forces are far from clean. … The Free Syrian Army (FSA) forcibly [recruited] children, some as young as 8-years-old, into their ranks. …

Syrian Christian children have been targeted, along with their families, by elements of the FSA and an assortment of armed Islamist and al-Qaeda-linked terror groups as part of a systematic cleansing of Syrian Christians.

Cleansing: derived from the iniquitous phrase “ethnic cleansing”, the word has become a euphemism for mass murder.

That cleansing includes the killing of whole families, the sacking of churches, and the forcible evacuation of Christians from towns and cities, such as the forced Christian exodus of nearly 50,000 people from Homs in which armed Islamists murdered more than 200 Christians, including entire families with young children. …

As Rob Williams, CEO of War Child, has said, “The Syrian conflict must now rank as one of the worst for the depth and scale of abuses against children,” adding that it “will scar Syria for generations”.

If Rob Williams means that a nation with too few children is “scarred”, he may be right. If he means that the parents of the murdered children will be “scarred” he must surely be right. But if he means that Syria’s reputation, as a people, will be scarred, we must say that we very much doubt it. Who will hold the torturing to death of children against the torturing killers? Christians? They forgive. Western opinion generally? There is no precedent to suggest it. So who will remember those children, and refuse to forgive?

The envoy and the tides of war 2

Kofi Annan, the UN’s and Arab League’s “special envoy” to Syria, tasked with ordering the incoming tide to go back … Oh no, sorry – that was King Canute’s futile endeavor. Easy to confuse it with Kofi Annan’s: to stop the civil war raging in Syria. Anyway, he has given up. He arrived, he chatted a bit, he went away.

Rick Moran writes at Front Page:

[Kofi] Annan’s futile efforts to stop the violence in Syria are added to other failures in his career that include an inability to stop the massacres in Bosnia in the 1990s, the Rwandan genocide where 800,000 were murdered, the tragedy in Darfur where upwards of 450,000 were killed, and Iraq’s oil for food scandal that hit close to home when his own son was accused of profiting from Saddam Hussein’s multi-billion dollar bribery schemes. Each of those horrific events occurred either while he was serving as Secretary General of the UN, or head of the world body’s peacekeeping efforts in Rwanda when he failed to act to prevent the slaughter of Tutsi tribesmen.

The writer’s heart is in the right place, but there’s nothing remarkable in such UN “failures” as keeping clear of massacres and profiting from helping the sort of despots who carry them out. That’s what the UN does. It’s what the corrupt, dim-witted men who run it do. The only remarkable thing is that the UN was set up to do the opposite, but as it never has and never will, pointing out the hypocrisy is almost as pointless as giving orders to the tides.

[Annan’s] mission was doomed from the start because the Security Council and the world community was unable to come together to address the tragedy. The lion’s share of the blame for that can be placed directly on Russia and China, whose vetoes of Security Council resolution after resolution gave Bashar Assad cover to carry out his war against his own people. But there is plenty of blame left for the United States, the European countries, and the Arab League, who clung for months to Annan’s moribund “peace plan” despite a mountain of evidence that it had failed almost as soon as it was negotiated last April.

Is there any good reason for the US or any Western power to intervene in Syria?

Rick Moran offers a fairly persuasive one:

The worst case scenario is to have President Assad eventually triumph which would strengthen Russia, Iran, and China in the region. Anything we can do to prevent that — including expending the same amount of energy in supporting the rebels that the Russians are using to prop up Assad — would be a welcome change in policy.

Yes. But who knows whether Assad’s successor, even if helped into power by the West, will be any less an ally and cat’s paw of Russia, China, and Iran? 

Posted under Arab States, China, Civil war, Commentary, corruption, Diplomacy, Iran, middle east, Russia, Syria, United Nations, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Saturday, August 4, 2012

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