A Syrian |
Al Hayat - 15 June, 2012
Author: Hassan Haidar
It was purely coincidental for the Syrian National Council (SNC) to have selected a Kurdish figure to lead it while the war waged by Bashar Al-Assad's army against rebellious cities is coming close to turning into a Syrian "Anfal Campaign – in reference to the war of extermination waged by Saddam Hussein against the Kurds in his own country. Yet it is no coincidence at all for the Baath regime to be the perpetrator in both cases.
Indeed, reports coming out of Syria, both on paper and on camera, indicate an unprecedented escalation of violence on the part of the regime’s army, within the framework of campaigns of ethnic cleansing that have begun to take shape in the regions of Homs and Hama surrounding the theoretical “Alawite State” – campaigns that aim at displacing the inhabitants of mixed neighborhoods in order to establish a security belt that would protect the future secessionist entity.
Such talk, at the beginning of the ruler of Damascus’s violent response to the popular uprising, would have been considered gross exaggeration. Yet all of the behavior and tactics of the Assad family’s regime now seem to indicate the prevalence of the trend favoring the division of Syria, if it becomes impossible to keep it united under its rule. Division there would take on a confessional and sectarian nature, and its success would threaten to infect other Arab countries – and that is at the end of the day the dream shared by both Israel and Iran.
There have been, over the past few days, repeated Western warnings of the occurrence of additional massacres after those of Houla, Qubeir and others. Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Haig compared developments in Syria to the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the early 1990s, where a sectarian civil war took place that reaped the lives of over 200 thousand people while the international community stood by and watched, before deciding to intervene out of fear that the conflict might spread. What such warnings and comparisons mean is that the world is expecting an enormous increase in the number of Syrian victims while its ability to intervene remains restricted.
And it is laughable for Israel to express its concern about Syria’s missile and chemical arsenal, despite the fact that it in reality has no need for such concern, as Assad’s generals can see no enemy but the opposition in the cities and villages they are classifying according to sectarian identity, while news has begun to surface of unknown gases and chemicals being used in their shelling. The planners and strategists in Assad’s army are busy burning forests aged thousands of years, stretched along the border with Turkey, in order to prevent the fighters and civilians of the opposition from finding refuge there. And of course, those who would so willfully and completely engage in the destruction of their own country in such a way will find no time for the “Pan-Arab enemy” which they have grown accustomed to “fighting” with slogans for decades. In fact, they imitate, in their hatred of men and trees, Israel itself, whose soldiers and settlers uproot ancient olive groves in the West Bank and Gaza, and whose air force destroyed in 1982 an entire forested area South of Beirut in order to prevent Palestinian fighters from deploying there.
The Iraqi Baath regime exterminated without batting an eye tens of thousands of its Kurdish citizens, making use of its entire arsenal, including banned chemical weapons. It burned down entire villages, with their homes and fields, and brutally shelled cities from land and air, displacing their inhabitants – all the while raising the slogan of “Unity, Liberty and Socialism”. And here is the Syrian Baath regime repeating the same crime against its own civilians, while asserting that it is engaged in “confronting terrorism”. And no one knows what the final number of its victims will be before the world agrees to restrain it.