Friday, 11 October 2013

Syria: Executions, Hostage Taking by Rebels

The SNC has disavowed these groups, and supported the call for their funding to be stopped, and quite right too. Still, the vast majority of atrocities are committed by government forces. What makes me think that? Because they bomb civilian areas every night.* A couple of years ago they were shooting at demonstrators every day, which is how the Free Syrian Army came into existence. Meanwhile the state's lie machine went into overdrive, where it has stayed ever since. The torture, arrests and murder was justified because rebels killed 175 soldiers at Jisr al-Shughur (it was later rounded down to 120), "local witnesses denied the government's version of events, claiming that the dead were killed by their own side for defecting." And this has gone on ever since. Over and over the régime has killed civilians, while its media and those of its allies in Russia and Iran have blamed the violence on terrorists, and the media consensus in the West has been that there have been accusations against both sides. And that aid to those fighting in Syria against the government will cause a catastrophe.
It isn't the Russian aid of billions of dollars of weaponry, the tens of thousands of Iranian, Iraqi and Lebanese fighters, that are sucking us into a quagmire, that need to be protested against, that need to be stopped. It is a Western intervention that was never going to amount to much, and turned out to amount to nothing at all. Except an excuse to carve up a deal with the Russians whereby Assad would be free to continue killing as long as he does it without the chemical weapons. 
I noticed this morning that the latest post on Brown Moses blog** is by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi. He used to be a guest poster at Harry's Place, a nasty blog in which any disagreement with their support for liberal interventionism in the Middle East leads to screams of antisemitism and Nazism. I've seen other people of similar persuasion, like Adam Holland, Terry Glavin and Marko Attila Hoare be similarly clued in to what is going on in Syria. I worry that whatever influence they bring to bear on Syrian revolutionaries will be pushing them towards accepting direct Western military intervention which I think would be a negative, but as a mirror image of the jihadis fighting on the ground in Syria, to the extent they are useful in the fight against Assad good, and what influence they have is down to the abandonment of Syrians to war in the name of peace.
I did mean to talk about the threat by African countries to withdraw from the International Criminal Court over claims that African leaders are unfairly targeted. In short, when the rich and powerful are never prosecuted, this looks a lot like an instrument of control rather than justice. I did also mean to talk about the overall casualty figures, which Patrick Cockburn among others claims show that the rebels have killed more people than the government. This jars with the régime's triumphalism, in which they claim to always be killing a lot of terrorists. I think the most likely explanation overall is that the civilian casualties have been massively under-reported, because when millions are fleeing it is hard to tell who has left and who has died, and so when the dust settles, it is more likely to be the case that up to this point 250,000 have died, and the government forces have killed 85% of them. A figure that will only continue to rise if the foreign arms and weapons continue to flow to Assad. That a barely armed population has fought him to more than a standstill shows that he cannot win, and it wouldn't take too much to finally bring him down.
*From yesterday […/syria-air-raids-on-rebels-k…]

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