The ongoing Assad-led crackdown in Syria, and the recent spate of bombings and attacks there, irrespective of the identity of their perpetrators, put the international community face-to-face with its legal and moral responsibility to step in to protect the Syrian people. The Arab League has failed in its mission to halt the violence, and armed with new weapon supplies from Russia and Iran, Assad continues to rally his supporters promising an even harsher crackdown. Unless the world intervenes now, the bloodbath will become worse and Syria will join the ranks of failed states.
Thursday 12, 2012
Today’s death toll: 26. The breakdown: 7 in Idlib, 5 in Homs, 2 in Rural Damascus, 1 in Hama, 1 in Deir Ezzor, 1 defector…
Director of the Grand Mufti’s office, Sheikh Abdeljaleel Al-Saeed, announced his defection from the official religious establishment, describing the Grand Mufti as a criminal and promising more high level defections from the establishment in the days to come.
A delegation representing the SNC headed by Burhan Ghalioun held a meeting met with Col. Riyad Al-Ass’aad, head of the FSA and his top officers. Discussions focused on increasing cooperation and information sharing. The SNC promised to provide political guidance courses to FSA officers. It also agreed that an SNC liaison office will be established at FSA headquarters to improve inter-communications.
Le Figro reports that French authorities “suspect” Assad officials of “involvement” in the death of French journalist Gilles Jacquier, seeing that they were the only ones who knew of his and his colleagues’ visit to Homs. The visit had been given official approval, which is extremely rare. Some of the same journalists have been prevented from filming in certain parts of Damascus away from official controls. The neighborhood in which the attack occurred is a majority-Alawite neighborhood, security is extremely tight, and the neighborhood falls completely under the control of the regime. French authorities suspect “manipulation” by Assad officials, in an attempt to “discourage foreign journalists” from visiting and to “demonize the rebellion.” Homs Governor had promised to investigate this “terrorist attack,” indicating that the results of the inquiry had already been predetermined.
All other arguments regarding context aside, the two main reasons for doubting official version regarding the recent bombings and attacks in Damascus and Homs are: 1) Assad officials proceeded to blame Al-Qaeda without conducting any kind of investigation, and 2) Assad security forces quickly moved in to destroy all crime scenes involved thus undermining the possibility of future independent inquiry. This is clearly the behavior of those who have more interest in hiding rather than uncovering the truth.
Still, let’s assume the worst: let’s assume that terrorist networks have indeed infiltrated Syria and that they are the ones responsible for the recent spate of attacks in Damascus and Homs, what would this development signify in practical terms?
Be it Assad loyalists or terrorist networks, the ultimate party responsible, politically, morally and legally, for all tragic developments in Syria continues to be the Assad regime, and ultimately Assad himself. It’s indeed Assad and his small coterie of family and friends, who are responsible for the violent crackdown taking place throughout the country and which created the necessary conditions for the rise of these hypothesized networks. Now, with security apparatuses actively engaged in perpetrating crimes against humanity, a military riddled with defections and dissent, and loyalist militias supported by state institutions and sponsored by pro-regime circles including members of Assad’s own family, the Assads are fast losing control, to the extent that they are now unable to protect even their own ardent followers, as evidenced by the recent attacks, while actively oppressing their opponents. The responsibility to protect, therefore, must now rest on the shoulders of the international community, lest Syria descends into a state of civil war and anarchy. The obvious failure of the Arab League monitoring mission makes clear as well that intervention has now become an international obligation.
On a related note, Assad’s recent call on his followers to support military and security apparatuses in their ongoing crackdown against protesters might actually provide a legal basis for referral to the ICC, considering the abuses and violations been perpetrated by Assad loyalist troops which has been sufficiently documented by many respected international human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Indeed, his call within the prevailing political, social and security context in the country constitutes an act of incitement of certain social groups against others.