In terms of sheer numbers and scale of the devastation, modern history has certainly known worse tragedies. But this particular tragedy is unfolding in Damascus, the oldest living repository of human memories in history. Moreover, it’s unfolding right now, in full daylight, and not long after the world made its “never again” promise. What good is the international order and what value have its promises if they cannot stand up to the madness and avarice of few mad men?
The Great Distraction
Building on my quote in the Daily Beast today:
“To Assad, the current rallies spurred by Islam-bashing film were heaven-sent: they have given credence to his claims that the Arab Spring is at heart an Islamist Spring and that Al-Qaeda and its affiliates will be empowered as a result.”
Indeed, Assad’s violent and bloody crackdown against protesters and his war crimes must seem all justified now to his followers in whose minds he must now appear as a prophet as well as a protector. From now forward, Assad’s followers will fight for him with even greater zeal, committing more massacres with greater impunity and relish.
“Meanwhile, the rallies have also distracted international attention from the current mayhem unfolding in Syria and might still give pause to any calling for intervention.
On the other hand, this development is already making many revolutionaries question even the Islamists’ commitment to the main goal of the revolution: the establishment of a democratic civil state. The divide between secularist and Islamist revolutionaries (by now mostly Sunni Arabs) continues to expand. But this is unlikely to push secular Sunnis back in the direction of Alawites and other confessional minorities in Syria. The sense of betrayal is too deep, and secular Sunni Arabs are still too divided along regional and ideological lines to be able to come together and decide on a common vision. They might the largest group demographically, but they are the most divided of all.
Meanwhile, MIGs have taken part in bombarding Damascus City for the first time today. Funny how the tragedy of it all seems so insignificant and irrelevant at this stage!
Helicopter gunships take part in pounding the restive neighborhoods in southern parts of Damascus City and Eastern Ghoutah Region: Mleihah http://youtu.be/1Ui7T6lJk44 , http://youtu.be/g1acSRuwN9s Mazzeh http://youtu.be/DOHxUfMEriE Al-Qadam http://youtu.be/f3HIfXxzyXg , http://youtu.be/s-47T_C05Tc MIGs took part in the pounding as well: Saqba http://youtu.be/4Qe-0bS69B8 , http://youtu.be/aMy3TMyl45E , http://youtu.be/t9dG6uXjTuY Kafar Batna http://youtu.be/wO4oiBKWzvo
Local rebels in the town of Eizaz, Aleppo Province, carry out a summary execution of a local informant: no specifics are provided. But the town has been under continuous pounding by MIGs for weeks http://youtu.be/QWUbuzrDMyI