Thursday, June 14, 2012

An Arab/Muslim Affair

"The situation is dire.  Forget the weapons, people need medicine and food.  As you know, we're in a state of war in Syria.  The army could enter Haffey in minutes if it wanted but it is trying to crush it instead."  Rebel commander Abdulaziz Kanaan

The eyes of the United Nations were refused entry to yet another point of observation entry.  This time from the town of Haffeh.  But this time it was angry residents, crowds throwing stones and metal rods.  The observers had little option but to expeditiously leave.  As they did, three of their vehicles were fired upon, but the UN monitors were spared injury.  If they were being threatened by the military, why not welcome the observers?

Their lack of success in attempting to enter Haffeh of course restrains them from observing what is occurring.  "Activists" inform them that the army is fighting with hundreds of rebels.  The international diplomats are steeling themselves for word of yet another massacre.  In Haffeh the rebels claim they were attempting to smuggle trapped civilians away from the conflict.  Their own fighters are facing down tank and helicopter assaults.

"Every few days we manage to open a route to get the wounded out, so some families were able to escape yesterday", said one activist. Who contend that between the regime's military and the pro-Assad militias two mass killings have taken place in the last three weeks.  Whereas Damascus claims that it is "terrorists" who have committed the atrocities.

Since observers are not permitted entry to view for themselves what is occurring it is anybody's guess.  Both sides, in fact, are skilled in orchestrating events to tell a story they want to be believed.  Each has proven themselves to be equally capable of performing horrific acts of revenge against the other.  And whoever is responsible for those massacres - one, or both - the sectarian divide is becoming even more viral.

The rebels are being armed with more effective weaponry.  Filtered through from Turkey perhaps .  Some EU countries were agitating for just that.  Even as the United States is blaming Russia for delivering more attack helicopters to the regime.  Mortar bombs fired by security forces kill protesters, and soldiers attacked by the rebels die in their numbers as well.

 A UN report on children in armed conflict claims children from nine up have become victims of maiming, arrest, torture, sexual violence and use as human shields.  "In almost all recorded cases, children were among the victims of military operations by government forces, including the Syrian Armed Forces, the intelligence forces and the shabiha militia".

On the other hand, reports have emerged that cannot be ignored of children recruited by the rebel Free Syrian Army.  The army and the militia were accused of placing children aged eight to thirteen in front of the windows of buses transporting military personnel to raid a village.

The rebels call upon the West to protect the civilian population of Syria.  The combined armies of Sunni Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, all three wringing their hands in distress over the regime's brutality, could very well halt the bloodshed.  And this, of course, would have those combined Sunni armies meeting up with their Shia Iranian and Lebanese (Hezbollah) armies aligned with the regime's military.

This is a Middle East scenario.  The tribal/sectarian violence occurring within Syria reflects what has occurred elsewhere in the Arab Muslim world.  It is an Arab/Muslim conflict, and it is for the Middle East to settle for itself.  The West should not intervene because this is not a Western problem.  Each time the West does become involved, it is accused by one of the factions of interference in MidEast affairs.

In the end, the conflict is a kind of background setting for Hezbollah and al-Qaeda, the two sectarian fundamentalist non-state militias with aspirations as proxies to help create a global caliphate; not all that different, in fact, from the aspirations of Iran and Saudi Arabia.  And with the increasing political strength of the Muslim Brotherhood, it will of a certainty claim power in Syria with the departure of President al-Assad.

The most populous Arab state also is preparing itself to welcome, however reluctantly in some quarters, the self-assignment through a heritage of careful planning the current Muslim Brotherhood government-in-waiting in Cairo.

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