Syrian syllogisms

Naturally by following news reports with videos and images that corroborate them, one becomes increasingly concerned by what's happening in the world. From the beginning of 2011 we've followed the sequence of events taking place in Syria.
We were shocked by the brutality of Assad's army and secret service who never hesitated in targeting and murdering unarmed Syrien demonstrators including women and children.

One of the catalysers of the civil war was the arrest of 13 year old Hamza, the 29th April, 2011. He was singled out for singing anti-regime slogans with other demonstrators. A month later his mother was contacted and ordered to come to collect his body. A video on Youtube is proof of the violence and torture inflicted on the boy, before he was finally killed. Hamza became an icon of the revolution. 'We are all Hamza al-Khateeb'.

Over fifteen months later, Bashar al-Assad is still struggling to maintain his dated power.
This whilst the free world continues to look on, officially unable to do anything to accelerate the end of his tyrannic reign.
But has the democratic world the right to continue to do so? How can one practice such blatant double standards with impunity? For it could be argued that if Gaddafi was guilty of crimes against humanity, he was relatively innocent compared with Assad.

The problem of course is the Russian and Chinese veto. They abstained in the case of Libya, allowing N. Sarkozy then D. Cameron to take their timely initiative.
The motives of Russia are, to some extent, understandable. Those of China are probably more commercially than politically motivated.
From noble Confucius, Imperial China, it's epic dynasties through the centuries onwards to it's first Republic (1912) proceeding the founding of the Peoples' Republic of China (1949), and then the reign of less noble Mao Tse-tung (under which an estimated 45 million people died of starvation). Ironically communist China, with its huge population of 1.3 billion, has finally arrived at a stage of its evolution by establishing what it seems to believe to be the ultimate culmination of power. The power of capitalism, which the Chinese have tirelessly consolidated and sustain. The power of having the democratic world in one's pocket.

Nevertheless, China's vulnerability is that its heart has become an enormous industrial pump. To insure that it continues to throb on healthily, it has to rely on an equally enormous amount of international clients. China could ill afford to be commercially boycotted by Europe and the USA, even for a few months. In this sense perhaps it could even be argued that China relies more on it's clients, than its clients rely on China. And no great nation should ever run the risk of suffering from the consequences of a capital heart attack.

Russia seems to be the more serious stumbling block regarding Syria, simply because Russia is Syria's ally. But logically Russia's main concern would be more the stability of neighbour nations than any historical ties, especially with a man who appears to have become a mad monster.

The present situation in Syria however presents an enormous question mark. Would it be in Russia's interests to continue to support a criminal regime, when it's becoming more and more evident that Assad will never be able to crush an opposition that not only seems to have unlimited clandestine backing, but also has the advantage of far greater mobility?

Such an opposing force could eventually exhaust the Syrian regime's army, from whose ranks more and more officers and soldiers are also deserting.
That even Assad's Prime Minister has quit his post not so very long ago, is also most revealing. (This former Prime Minister recently stated that Assad only controls 30% of Syria).
If the opposition forces are deprived of determining support, the civil war could be endless, and the final result could be an irredemably divided, and uncooperative Syria.

The question that Russia might therefore consider, is that if the Syrian opposition doesn't obtain the help it needs from democratic nations, it's unlikely to refuse help from extremist militia and Sunni djihadists, only too happy to be able to take advantage of the opportunity.

Assuming then that the opposition are eventually able to exhaust the regime and overthrow it, which now seems plausible, Russia, as the regime's accomplice, would have an extremely dangerous enemy close to its border. This instead of a stable democratic nation as its neighbour.

In view of this, would it not make sense, or not be too naively out of the question, to form an international delegation comprising first and foremost of Europeans (including Cameron and Merkel) to go to Moscow in order to try to persuade Russia to join Europe in aiding the officially recognised opposition either directly or indirectly? In doing so the nations involved, including Russia, would have more claim and capacity to be able oversee an effective transition in order to eventually bring about a real Syrian democracy. The abandoning of the regime by Russia, would in any case dramatically accelerate the end of Assad.

As was the case with Libya, the USA should hold back, also for geopolitical reasons. US help however, regarding logistics, satellite observation and a no-fly zone, would obviously be crucial.

The implications of what's taking place in Syria are enormous. They are bound to greatly effect Lebanon, Israel, Iran and thus the standing of the Hezbollah and Hamas organisations. This will obviously have an important impact on the Palestiniens as well. The collapse of Assad's regime is also bound to effect the political future of Iran, and therefore the future and stability of the Middle East. Naturally a positive outcome for Syria would be globally beneficial.

If there is any sense or possibility in such a suggestion, it could also be regarded as an opportunity to pull Russia more towards Europe. We have, after all, much in common. We share great chapters of history.

This interview (July 5th, 2012) with  Bashar al-Assad (German television ARD) is revealing because although the interviewer seems to avoid asking blunt questions, like why, for example, the Syrian army fired on peaceful demonstrators, or arrested and tortured young children in the first place, he seems to be humouring Assad.
Assad's replies are either evasive, incoherent or simply dishonest. Paradoxically one nevertheless gets the impression that he is absolutely convinced that the scenario he is trying to present is the absolute reality.
Isn't this symptomatic of madness? But one would have to be a qualified psychoanalyst to be able to reach such a conclusion.
In any case to continue to blindly destroy one's own nation is madness in itself.

Text © Mirino. Top image (modified) AFP Getty images. Lower image (modified) Reuters. 
With thanks. August, 2012

No comments: