The Arab Spring is nothing more than an Arab nightmare. The latest outrage in Egypt is the break-in of the Israeli Embassy, which was stormed by around 30 activists. A special note here: there were about 300 who split off from the main group of protesters and who went to the Israeli embassy. They pounded at the brick fences that protected the embassy and they were successful in breaching the wall, however, only about 30 individuals entered the embassy. The signs for Egypt in my opinion remain bad. If this is an indication of the feelings of the general population, then Israel will become even more isolated.
The civil war in Libya is not over, but it continues with three towns holding out. According to the news reports the people of Bani Walid want an end to any confrontation, however Gadhafi and his sons left behind a small group of henchmen, who have been up on the roofs acting as snipers. The first action has come from pro-opposition forces within the town. No one has entered into Bani Walid. The situation at Sirte is far more extreme, and I have to add here that prayers are needed for the 300 who have been taken as hostage. The news item said that they were being herded into a village just outside of Sirte where they are being used as human shields. My prayer is that God will protect these Libyan citizens from evil. At the same time several Loyalist generals have escaped into Niger. You know those missing weapons? I bet that those weapons accompanied those generals on the trip into Niger. On the other hand, it could be that the numbers are being exaggerated, or it could be that those weapons are now in the process of being used outside of Sirte, Bani Walid and Sabha. The best result possible will be the capture of Daffy Duck.
However, it is time to turn attention once more to the situation in Syria. For myself I cannot back Assad because of the crackdown against the people who have been for the most part unarmed individuals. Whilst it was possible to see differences between the protests in Egypt and the ones in Libya that led to the civil war, I consider the Syrian situation to be far from straight forward. I think what is turning me off the Syrian situation is the picutre of the women in their niquabs protesting. Now, it could be that I am ignorant with regard to the women’s situation in Syria – are they required by law to wear either the burqa or niquab, or is this a purely voluntary thing? When I see women in those things I shudder, because it implies that these are indeed extremists. (for the most part the women in Syria wore at most the abeya with a few opting for a burqa and yes Libya has Sharia law).
It seems to me that the situation in Syria is quite different from that in Libya, even though in both cases the regime dictator is acting in a very brutal manner, and both have offered the same excuses. Rather than concentrating on the protesters (I do not know enough about them), I want to concentrate upon the excuses given by Assad, and to point to the inconsistencies that are all too obvious.
A few months ago I became aware that there were members of the military in Syria who had defected rather than participate in the brutality being perpetrated by the regime. In one town, where Assad claimed that the people had been the killers, there was ample evidence to show that the military who had died were shot from behind as though they had been executed. The scene as described pointed to military being shot because they would not follow orders. However, Assad had been claiming that the “Al Qaeda” or “terrorists” had killed those people.
For years Gadhafi had been pulling the Al Qaeda stunt against those people opposed to him and Assad is using the same excuse to try and get away with his brutality. The pair of them have been crying wolf for several years, using the West’s “crusade” against Al Qaeda as their excuse to stamp on the dissidents. This is so, even though the dissidents in Syria are by no means innocent of wrong doing, and their allegiances are ill-defined. The Syrians have not come out as stongly pro-West like the dissident Libyan.
Another factor in Syria is the role of Iran, and especially the Iranian relationship with Assad. Iran has been using Syria as a satellite in its own fight against Israel. Iran has been financing Hamas and Hezbollah, and Iran has been using Syria as a satellite state, hence Iran has been able to conduct hostilities against the USA, as well as against Israel via Syria. Iran has also been active in Lebanon via Syria. On top of that there is evidence that Iranian revolutionary guards have been active in the brutal crackdowns upon the Syrian people.
It should be pointed out that Iran was supplying weapons to Gadhafi but they also supplied food and medicine to the NTC in Benghazi. There really is a common thread.
The Syrian has a potential to become very explosive, especially when a lot of the action has occurred on the border with Turkey. At one point it really looked like there could be an international incident. The Turks are simply trying to protect the people who have not done anything wrong.
It is difficult to respond to the Syrian problem because of the unknown factors, yet, one must be consistent and condemn the actions of Assad in the brutal manner he has been cracking down on the minority dissidents.
For the record, the Assad regime has connections with the Ba’ath party. He has had ties to Saddam Hussein. It is more than likely that those WMDs that actually existed in Iraq were moved across the border and into Syria (no questions asked).