Assad has “repeatedly” used chemical weapons, according to Israel, but the U.S. continues to dither. Whatever the reasons, this tendency to dither even when clearly set red lines have been clearly crossed has served to strengthen Assad’s resolve and is one way the U.S. has become complicit in Assad’s crimes. Providing humanitarian aid is not enough to alleviate the culpability and the guilt. Action is needed. A no-fly zone is needed. Many would say that there is no use asking for something when the political will for it is clearly lacking. But then, perhaps if we asked for it “repeatedly,” the political will for it might just materialize. Isn’t that what advocacy is about? Besides, a no-fly zone is part of the solution, we cannot make do without it so we cannot give up on it. How can we “guarantee” anyone’s safety when we have no ability to guarantee ours?
Don’t Rush to Judgment
Things are seldom what they appear to be in Syria. This has been true long before the Revolution, and is increasingly true now, hence the need for careful examination and constant review of available evidence.
We actually don’t know yet who is behind the kidnapping of the two Christian Archbishops in Syria. Archbishop Ibrahim had turned increasingly critical of late of the government stances on the revolution and her violent tactics. The Assads have very limited tolerance for overtly critical clergymen in their midst.
Not long ago, one of Assad’s top supporters within the Sunni religious establishment, Sheikh Ramadan Al-Bouti, was killed in an incident at first described as a suicide bombing attack that left 90 dead. But a video that emerged few weeks later, whose validity was finally confirmed by Syrian State TV, told a different story, supporting claims that the loyalist Sunni cleric was actually assassinated by his own body guards, and that the whole scene was later staged, poorly, to back government claims of suicide bombing attack. Though, we cannot to date be sure of the exact reason for which the regime chose the dispense of their servile cleric, it exploited quite well to send different messages to the international community, to its supporters, and to that critical segment of the population still clinging to silence and irrelevance. All in all, the death of Al-Bouti was useful, and perhaps that’s in itself is sufficient explanation.
So, could the regime be behind the kidnappings of the two archbishops? Of course, it could. But so could any myriad of actors at this stage, especially when you take under consideration the possibility raised by church officials that a group of Chechen fighters is behind the kidnappings. And, if these reports are indeed true, whose interests could these Chechens be serving: Al-Qaeda’s or the FSB’s?
Today Syria is not just host to rebels and loyalist militias, we now have mercenary groups, made up of foreign and domestic elements, willing to sell their services to the highest bidder. In the northeast, Jabhat Al-Nusra itself is selling oil to the regime, then, using the funds to provide goods to the local population as part of its heart and minds campaign. The regime is funding the rebellion, the rebels are enabling the crackdown.
Moreover, all different sorts of security agencies now have their agents in the field and are funding their own little fighting groups on both sides, implementing agendas that seem to reflect calculations not necessarily related to the current goings-on in Syria.
As for the Assad, and even though I, like so many others, tend to refer to him as if he is still in charge, in reality, he is NOT. He is just a tool at this stage wielded by a military-security complex run by people whose ultimate loyalty now is to Iran, Russia and themselves. No one represents or speaks for Syria, or any of her ethnic communities. All Syrians are now fodder in a complex proxy-war.
As for my comments yesterday trying to explain Assad’s take on American policy towards him, it’s important to note, that irrespective of what the reality is, and what I personally believe, this is what Assad himself seems to think, as he explained in his own words. As a descendant of a dynasty that profited from the shifts and contradictions of American foreign policy, I can understand how he came to believe what he believes about America. Directly and indirectly, and often unintentionally, the U.S. contributed to the way Assad thinks and behaves today, which makes the U.S. complicit in what is taking place in Syria at this stage. The U.S. needs to understand that and takes responsibility for it. The U.S. is far from blameless in this, and the hand wringing by American officials is quite hypocritical.
Rebels in Aleppo claim these corpses belong to Iranian militias operating in the village of Nabol http://youtu.be/xnG3uoImruc
Fighter jets continue their raid against rebel strongholds around Damascus: Zamalka http://youtu.be/EIj9JdnNvQ8 Al-Qadam http://youtu.be/rHlrhTIG9-c Jobar http://youtu.be/TvN_2qCnu2I Moadamiyeh http://youtu.be/TS8zEj2pguU Daraya http://youtu.be/eSBRLMZMSJc
Rebels in Mayadeen, Deir Ezzor Province, pound the military airport with homemade rockets http://youtu.be/bCQ1ZO1qnk0 Meanwhile, Deir Ezzor City comes under heavy pounding http://youtu.be/A75I7zhO69Y
The village of Bashiriyeh, Idlib Province, comes under heavy pounding http://youtu.be/VforzTFS-gg , http://youtu.be/1vZssGtK3QM , http://youtu.be/AiR1UupatxM