My heart remains with the people who are suffering at the hands of the Allawite tribe and Bashar al-Assad. It has been almost 18 months since the trouble began in Syria with a simple protest. Bashar al-Assad brought in the Iranian elite guards to take care of the troublemakers. People were massacred in the streets. A young boy was tortured to death… and the world remained silent. Even now I am haunted by the image of that boy in death. He died as a result of the torture inflicted upon him, and he was just a child. The boy was not the only child to die.
Assad sent his troops to quell the people in the north, claiming that they were al Qaeda – ah now there is a familiar and hollow ring, and Gadhafi tried that one of for size as well. The excuse was that al Qaeda had killed some of his officers or army members. Actually, we do not know who killed that general during that particular little spat. As a result villagers who lived near the Turkish border felt the Assad form of justice. The army came in firing indiscriminately, and the claim went out that members of the army were killed by Al Qaeda. How strange that the officers and other army members who died were in fact shot in the back by someone in the army!! These were the people who refused to fire upon their own people. The people fled across the border into Turkey, and some members of the army followed, as deserters.
Then came the deaths of a British journalist and a French photographer. Assad had his troops deliberately fire at the building where they were located. A woman who was dedicated to her work died as a result of perhaps her own folly in trying to get her story. Do keep in mind that Assad would not allow in any journalists, not even the Lebanese were allowed to come in and record what has been taking place in Syria. The people who are opposed to Assad have somehow managed to get their story out to the western world.
In the meantime the death toll has been mounting, and is estimated at something like 16,000. There have been massacres committed by both sides, and now the latest has a toll of at least 300 dead. Yet the Russians and the Chinese continue to hinder the United Nations so that no resolution can be put in place. It is this latest outrage that shows how Assad has taken the same path as Moammar Gadhafi, in that he has used his military against his own people, including the use of helicopters and other heavy equipment. The difference seems to be that the UN, specifically France and the UK intervened after Libya was made a no-fly zone.
In my mind the Syrian situation remains dire for the people opposed to Assad, yet I see other signs that might indicate that Assad is wagging the tail and doing not much else. The UN will continue to do nothing. The efforts to bring about a resolution to date have been useless for a very simple reason – China and Russia are opposed to any UN or NATO intervention. I perceive that such intervention would be very unwise at this point in time. Russia will continue to not condemn Assad, because Russia in fact supports this form of dictatorship in the world. On the other hand Russia does not want to lose a sphere of influence, and Syria is very important to Russia in the Middle East.
Other than a few incidents such as a suicide bombing or two, I see no real direct evidence of Al Qaeda in Syria. This does not alter the fact that I perceive this conflict as one that is above all else tribal. The Allawite tribe are a minority in Syria and yet they wield great power in the world. It is no wonder that the balance of Syrian is opposed to the rule of the Allawite tribe. However, do keep in mind that it is possible that those bombings were not the work of Al Qaeda… there are other possibilities, such as the people who actually went into Iraq to fight against the Americans, might just be the people to have set off the bombs… anything is possible in Syria.