Nothing is more telling of the state of affairs in Syria today than watching terror rear its ugly face on both sides. The latest is the execution of a 14-years old Mohammad Qatta from Aleppo for refusing to serve coffee by saying “If Muhammad, peace be upon him, were to come to this earth right now, I would still not lend a cup of coffee to anyone unless they pay for it”. Â The culprits are the new Islamists / terrorists who filled the vacuum left wide open by the Obama Administration by ignoring the moderate members of the Free Syrian Army who defected in mid-2011.
I am going to assume these were real Islamists, but I am not discounting for a moment that those who committed this crime could also be Assad agents to turn the people of Aleppo against the Islamists and by extension the rebels as well. When you know so much about a regime, these kinds of ideas come naturally because of past facts.
Between the butchery of Assad and the apathy of Obama, the grotesque transformation of Syria from a State whose people sacrificed their lives for freedom into a true evil-driven monstrosity. Syrians fighting each other have become dehumanized killing machines with each side exacting more terror and more revenge on civilians than on each other. This will have repercussions for a Levant region that prides itself on the notion of co-existence with minorities like no other Arab region to its east or west.
Who are the people we should thank for Syria”™s transformation? Here is my list.
- Baschar al-Assad for dictating the tempo with regard to inviting terrorists Assad knew could save his neck. Assad tied his own personal fate to those of millions of Syrians and foreigners who have been part of the transformation before us. Â It is hard for the minorities of Syria to judge him today as they struggle for survival, but his history of blood will haunt them for generations to come even if we never succeed in saving whatever remains of Syria. When the dust settles, the answers to the many questions their children will ask will be far less satisfying than the answers their parents had during their time. Just as the children of Nazi Germany searched their souls for justification to what their parents did and what their existence meant, so will Syria”™s children on both sides.
- President Obama for refusing to side against Assad for fear he may upset his attempts at negotiating a mirage peace deal with Iran, which effectively tipped the balance in favor of Assad/Iran/Hezbollah. No one speaks of Obama”™s foreign policy failures as these dangerous gaffes pile-up mountain high. The worst lies in the fact that Obama does not think his policy on Syria was harmful to US interests.
- Iran for fighting a cold war with intermittent sectarian wars all over the region to correct a history and settle a score that nobody should care about if the goal is the reformation of Islam and the culture of the people of the region. This is no different that Constantinople waging a war on the Vatican for the Orthodox Eastern Church to overrun the Catholic Church using violence and terror as its primary means of communication. The Iran before us, shaped by ignorant and vengeance-driven Ayatollahs, is as evil as it gets; the very same Iran President Obama believes is worthy of a negotiated settlement to inherit the region.
- President Putin of Russia who believes the redemption of Russia”™s great history lies not in books and enlightenment of the Russian people (Pushkin out), but in aggressive violence to dictate (Stalin in). The people of Russia are starting to realize that their country, under Putin, is the Soviet Union living under their bed instead of on top of them. Putin”™s support for the savagery of Assad has opened the door wide open in full view of what the DNA of Stalin is capable of. Right or wrong, given Obama”™s disposition towards a solution for Syria, Putin missed an opportunity to join the civilized in favor of remaining loyal to his true roots. Considering the miserable modern existence of the Russian people, I think they deserve far better than the appalling specter of their past.
- Secretary John Kerry whose past influence on Obama as the Senator chairing the powerful Foreign Relations Committee to support Assad was delivered frequently and consistently. Even when Assad began committing atrocities against peaceful protestors, Kerry kept pressing Obama for a solution to save Assad”™s neck. As Secretary, he continues to sing this tune even though he chooses his words either to look neutral or to take sides against Assad. The reality is far from his public position. For Kerry to accept waiting for Putin for 3 hours before seeing him says a lot about his mindset, his lack of courage, and his own views as to America”™s place in the pyramid of power. Do you think Vice President Cheney would have been kept waiting for 3 hours by Putin?
- Secretary Hillary Clinton for appeasing Assad from day one by calling him a “reformer” the very same day he was gunning down peaceful civilians marching in funerals of those he killed the day before. Clinton did not borrow the page from her husband”™s own foreign policy manual on Bosnia. By the time she sided with other cabinet members for a limited distribution of lethal weapons to the rebels, Syria”™s transformation into a mutated State was almost completed by then.
- Hamad al-Thani, the Emir of Qatar, and PM Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey who believed the solution for Syria is an Islamist State instead of the Assad State. By lobbying for the Muslim Brotherhood in Washington and supporting the organization politically, both doomed Syria”™s future because the minorities recoiled and circled the wagons. Today”™s destruction of Syria is partially the fault of two leaders whose common sense does not exceed those of talking parrots.
- Saudi Arabia for its timidity, weakness, and instigating religious extremism while hiding behind a veneer of moderation. The largest oil rich Arab country is also the weakest physically and morally because the whole country rests on one premise only: Keep one family ruling it no matter the cost. This policy opens the door open for weak responses, fearful maneuvers, and timid behavior. Iran is aggressive partially because the Gulf countries are weak morally. Saudi Arabia has been boasting about the powerful lobby Bandar Bin Sultan left behind in Washington, yet it cannot even influence a President who bowed to her King to do the right thing with regard to Iran and Hezbollah and to interfere in Syria to defeat Assad.
- Finally, the Western analysts who believed that if Sunni extremists fight the Shia extremists in Syria, there will be less extremism overall. They do not realize the folly of this logic and that extremists fighting will foster more extremism. Just ask Hezbollah how many more members it managed to enroll in its war in Syria when it called on saving Sayeda Zaynab Mausoleum outside Damascus from the hands of extremist Sunni fighters. The same call is mirrored on the other side to save al-Omayyad Mosque. The longer the civil war lasts, the more of our children will accrue and follow behind the unholy steps leading to terror. What happens when everyone tires of this war? These children will have learned by then where the blame for their misery lies, which is squarely on the shoulder of Western governments and their analysts.
Syria no longer exists. The ruins of its cities will be governed by the ruins of its humanity be it the Assads or the religious terrorists. What form or political shape will rise from these ashes should be our concern moving forward as we let history judge those who lacked the courage and the moral fortitude to save valuable lives rather than step aside to let lives destroy each other. There is no escaping responsibility because time always uncovers the truth.