Friday, June 1, 2012

The Venomous Grin of Bashar al-Assad

June1, 2012
By Saeed Qureshi

Insensitive and unmindful like a psychopath of the ongoing unflagging uprising and citizens’ beastly massacres, the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad exudes in public appearances a broad smile and a cheerful countenance that reflect as if all was fine in Syria.
The incumbent Syrian president is the son of that heartless predator who preyed upon his own dissident citizens and killed them without batting eyes. Mostly they were from Sunnis groups including the Muslim brotherhood.  Perfectly fitting into the proverb “like father like son”, the incumbent Syrian tyrant is brazenly treading on the footprints of his fiendish father Hafiz Al Assad who was rightly nicknamed as the Butcher of Damascus.
 With the mammoth liberation movement picking up momentum against the Bashar al-Assad’s repressive regime , the casualties at the hand of the security forces are correspondingly soaring.  The latest spine- chilling orgy of blood carried out in the Houla city on May 25, makes one speechless and traumatized as to how callous the regime in Syria tends to be. According to the United Nations’ handout, some 108 people were killed including 49 children and 34 women.
 An eye witness injured woman narrated the carnage in a video released by activists in these words “They entered our homes ... men wearing fatigues, herding us like sheep in the room and started spraying bullets at us"

During his barbaric rule of 30 years, Hafiz al Assad ordered at least six brutal massacres in which several thousand Syrians were killed. In some of these massacres, the people were not only shot point blank but were buried under the debris when they were still alive. One of such gruesome massacres was carried out in Hama village where the entire population was massacred, their houses bulldozed and the ground leveled with dead or alive bodies underneath.

The Hama massacre occurred in February 1982, when the Syrian army, undertook a scorched- earth operation against the town of Hama in order to quell revolt by the Sunni Muslim community against the regime of al-Assad. Reportedly 10 thousand to 40 thousand citizens perished. In the 13 October 1990 massacre executed during the closing times of the Lebanese Civil War, hundreds of Lebanese soldiers were executed after they surrendered to the Syrian forces

The Syrian fierce uprising against the incumbent regime that began in January 2011 is fast turning into a civil war. According to a rough reckoning, thus far it has swallowed over 12000 human lives while around 35000 are reported to be injured or maimed. All the initiatives, efforts and appeals to the Syrian government to stop the use of unhindered violent means and heavy artillery and weaponry, has fallen on deaf ears.

A United Nations Security Council’s resolution to end the violence in Syria was torpedoed by a double veto of Russia and China on February 4, hours after the Syrian military launched a deadliest attack on the city of Homs.

The Arab League suspended Syria's membership over the government's response to the crisis, and sent an observer mission in December 2011 without any tangible progress. It failed to persuade the Syrian authorities for ending the escalating violence and appalling brutalities being indiscriminately inflicted on the demonstrators. Kofi Annan, the special envoy for the United Nations and the Arab League, was in Damascus trying to keep alive a peace plan under which Mr. Assad promised six weeks ago to end the violence. He as usual defied that pledge

The strong condemnation by United States, the European Union states and Gulf Cooperation Council states (GCC), had remained futile in impelling Bashar to desist from the bloodletting of Syrian people who want to change the dictatorial regime run by a minority religious section and bring a populist democratic government.

Besides imposing a surfeit of sanctions lately, the United States, Britain, France and at least five other major nations  expelled senior Syrian diplomats that could lead to a similar action by other states that realize it was time to force the oppressive and betraying Alawite regime to initiate talks with the opposition groups for restoring peace and transfer of power.

But this time the situation presents drastically different scenario. The revolution is to say is part of the sweeping Arab spring that would not dissipate or relapse notwithstanding the temporary setbacks till the repressive tyrants merciless despots, and bloodsucking dynastic sovereigns are obliterated.  
The regime in Syria is engaged in an insane, callous and frenzied witch-hunt of the agitators by attacking and besieging the cities wherever the anti-regime demonstrations take place. Yusef Khalil in his masterpiece article, “A Turning Point in Syria” published by socialist tells us that “The Syrian military has used heavy weapons, tanks, bombs and artillery to destroy entire civilian neighborhoods…….. Tens of thousands have been detained or disappeared, and hundreds of thousands displaced”.

According to Yusef Khalil, “what began as mostly unarmed demonstrations has, in response to the intense government repression, turned to arms to defend the protests from the military and the regime's thugs. with large demonstrations in every part of the country, and entire cities falling out of the regime's control, only to be attacked and taken back by the armed forces with reckless slaughtering of those who come n their way.”

If the Syrian dynastic regime is under the illusion that finally it would be able to overpower the unrelenting countrywide upsurge then it should be taken for granted that that day would never dawn in beleaguered Syria.  The overriding reason for such forecast is that the disaffected and brutally suppressed people of Syria never imagined that they could rebel against a callous tyrant in such a defiant manner. They would not lose this historic chance by backtracking from a revolutionary struggle.

The Alawite regime has been keeping itself in the power saddle by dint of terrorizing her own citizens for almost 42 years. The insurgency or liberation movement is like water which one finds way flows out. The distressed and oppressed Syrian people being killed and brutalized incessantly by regime would not sit back after huge sacrifices ranging from countless deaths to destruction of their houses and displacement from their own land.

There are two potent groups braced against the Syrian regime. One is the Free Syrian Army (FSA) backed by Turkey that is battling in the streets and markets of Syrian towns and cities against the Syrian regular army. It consists of independent groups and individual brigades that believe in the armed struggle as was done by the Libyan armed groups.

The second is the pro west Syrian National Council (SNC) set up by the Syrian exiles that supports the foreign intervention even armed as was done by the NATO in Libya to protect the Syrian people from the pogroms and mass killings by the Syrian army. This entity wants harsh sanctions againt the Bashar regime and its functionaries besides creation of no fly zones.

The Syrian revolution pits two regional powers against each other for achieving their coveted goals of leadership. Saudi Arabia and its protégé Qatar would want the Shia minority regime of Alawite to be dismantled and defeated via the Syrian armed groups and by the foreign interventions powers.
On the contrary Iran would not like its partner in faith and a close ally and neighbor to be destabilized and overthrown. If Alawite regime is removed like that of Libya then Iran’s influence in Arab world would considerably whittle down. The Lebanese based Hezbollah also harbors and supports the incumbent Syrian regime because of common faith and for showing their solidarity with a patronising regime.

Although foreign support is indispensible in this historic movement, yet essentially it is neither the colliding powers trying to fish in the troubled Syrian waters nor the external invention that could bring the regime’s downfall. It would be the people themselves most notably the working classes, the suffering downtrodden, the suppressed religious and ethnic groups, the farmers, the intellectuals and all those sections of society who would herald this colossal change.  It is only the Syrian masses who would replace a dictatorial dynastic regime with a system of government where the power belongs to the people and not to a coterie of blood sucking, rapacious and diabolic usurpers.

Why don’t the isolated tyrants realize that they can no more hold on to their tyrannical regimes any longer in the present liberating times? The supreme sacrifices of the Syrian people for ending the reign of incessant terror let loose on them for decades would not go in vain.

If a gubernatorial change can come in Egypt with deliverance from a rogue, pharaoh like tyrant, it can as well be brought about in Syria no matter what the sacrifices of the people or the stakes of the foreign stake holders are. The Arab spring would eventually also make its enchanting advent in Syria with all its fragrance, charm, glory and magnificence and as a harbinger of the national liberation and the establishment of a popular government. That blessed day is not far off.

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