Syria vigil for chemical attack 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir)
There are no simple solutions to the horrors unfolding in Syria. Had the West
responded sooner, there might have been a remote chance for moderates within the
rebel camp to form a functional political authority. Today, that is
Now the forces of darkness and evil dominate the behavior
of the government and rebels alike.
The depths of unimaginable barbarism
to which both parties have descended exceed the worst horror films.
mere few kilometers from Israel’s border in Damascus, President Bashar Assad has
been butchering and massacring his own people for two years. He has now added
chemical weapons to his arsenal. US Secretary of State John Kerry, who, until
recently considered Assad a “reformer,” has condemned Assad’s chemical weapons
attack as defying “any code of morality” and representing a “moral
The Iranian terrorist regime and its Lebanese terrorist
extension, Hezbollah, fully support Assad.
Together, they have concocted
the ultimate evil witch’s brew. It is shocking that for reasons of realpolitik
Russia supports these terrorists in order to bolster its regional influence. It
represents Moscow’s most shameful foreign policy initiative since the overthrow
of the Evil Empire.
The Syrian rebels are guilty of perpetrating similar
if not even more grotesque atrocities. Dominated by fanatical jihadists,
including al-Qaida elements committed to global Shari’a and martyrdom, they have
murdered innocent Sunni women and children. They revel in committing vile
atrocities, some even descending to the depths of public displays of barbaric
acts of cannibalism.
Victory by either side will have disastrous effects
on the region. If Assad retains even partial power, Iranian’s state terrorists
will consider it a victory. If the rebels succeed, Syria will be controlled by
jihadist packs. Unspeakable brutality will inevitably follow. Former British
prime minister, Tony Blair, succinctly summed up the situation: “Syria
is... mired in carnage between the brutality of Assad and various
affiliates of al-Qaida.”
Within this context, why should the West get
involved? Why not let a plague descend on both houses? Because it is
unacceptable for the civilized world to abrogate morality and stand aside as
innocent civilians are massacred. If we remain spectators to the mass murder and
gassing of innocent civilians, we will be providing a green light to other cruel
regimes to act similarly. We will lose our humanity. It will revive memories of
the world which stood by as Jews were being exterminated in the Nazi
Intervention is a risky business. Time and again efforts to
apply external pressure – especially on authoritarian Arab regimes – have proven
to be counterproductive. In Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and even Egypt, crude
attempts at imposing democracy have resulted in the ascendency of fundamentalist
Islamic regimes with human rights records far worse than their
Nonetheless, the West, led by the US, must act decisively.
Despite division within Congress and American opposition to another military
intervention, President Barack Obama must deliver on his repeated threats of
military action should Assad cross the redline of chemical weapons
Initially, Obama tried to fudge the issue, claiming that the US
requires approval from the United Nations before embarking on a military
initiative, but he faces pressures to act from Britain, France, Turkey and Arab
countries. If Obama fails to respond now, Iran, North Korea and other rogue
states will have little to fear as they continue in their defiant marches toward
The risks associated with targeted strikes at
chemical weapons arsenals are high. Massive casualties amongst innocent
civilians and fallouts are possible. Additionally, there is doubt as to whether
US intelligence can accurately identify and ensure the destruction of
Overall, the current US response has been
appalling. It has formally assured Assad that it will restrict its punitive
military response to “limited strikes” over a number of days, and stressed that
it is not seeking to bring about regime change.
This mere rap over the
knuckles is hardly likely to act as a deterrent and the killing business will
proceed as in the past. In fact, Assad is likely to boast that he defeated the
US and the Western alliance. It will not reassure those concerned about the
failure of the US to stand by its commitments and allies. It will certainly not
allay Israel’s concerns about the US standing by its undertakings concerning the
Iranian nuclear threat.
Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal, a
former Jerusalem Post editor in chief, has urged that the US concentrate on
military strikes designed to kill Assad and his principal henchmen. Stephens
correctly notes that if President Obama could boast about how he finished Osama
bin Laden “with a bullet to the head and another to the heart,” he should have
no inhibitions about doing likewise to a mass murderer such as Bashar
Targeted assassinations would avoid becoming enmeshed in a ground
war like the US faced in Iraq and Afghanistan. They would serve as a deterrent
to other tyrants who would fear for their own lives if they behaved similarly
and they would send a signal to the Iranians that the US is not the toothless
tiger it often appears to be.
This would neither empower al-Qaida and the
jihadists nor necessarily lead to an immediate regime change, but it might
accelerate division of the country which, from a humanitarian viewpoint,
represents the best possible outcome and would limit the civilian massacre which
would inevitably result if either party achieves total supremacy.The
writer’s website can be viewed at www.wordfromjerusalem.com. He may be
contacted at email@example.com.