Friday, June 29, 2012

Equal Access...Human Rights Violations

"In the increasingly militarized context, human rights violations are occurring across the country on an alarming scale during military operations against locations believed to be hosting defectors and/or those perceived as affiliated with anti-government armed groups, including the Free Syrian Army..."  Extract from report by United Nations investigators

United Nations investigation head Paulo Pinheiro released a report to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.  That report listed kidnappings and killings by armed opposition groups.  That would be the opposition to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, the groups he refers to as terrorists.  And if that designation can be held to the description of those who convey emotions of terror in the hearts of those whom they attack, the opposition certainly qualifies.

Of course, to be entirely fair, so does the Alawite regime of President al-Assad.  His military troops with their orders to defeat the opposition at whatever cost it takes are no less terrorists than the opposition who clearly have among their ranks groups which are identified as terrorists, including members of al-Qaeda, and the Muslim Brotherhood, among others.

And the Syrian government forces include members of the terrorist group Hezbollah, as well as Iran's Republican Guard al Quds units, aiding and assisting the regime.  They are almost equally matched in their proclivity for butchery.  And to deny that this all-out civil war owes much of its steamy hatred to sectarian and tribal animosities is to deny reality.

The United Nations investigators have come to the conclusion that they could not definitely determine who exactly it was that carried out the massacre of over 100 civilians in Houla in late May.  Forces loyal to President al-Assad may have been responsible for many of the deaths based on a preliminary analysis of satellite images, videos and witness interviews.

Which does not entirely preclude the potential of some or all of those deaths having been carried out with the collusion of the opposition.  There appears to be some evidence in support of the rebels, opposition, terrorists, whatever nomenclature seems suitable under the circumstances, having been the real and actual cause of the Houla massacre.

"We can't say things for which we do not have sufficient evidence.  We are in good company because nobody knows exactly what happened in that crime scene", investigation head Paulo Pinheiri informed at a press conference.

And while government troops have the use of artillery, tanks and machine guns in their assaults, rebel forces were increasing their use of improvised explosive devices.  Neutral death-dealing explosives so popular among the Taliban in Afghanistan.  What works there can most certainly work elsewhere.  Deadly devices to leaven the playing field as it were.

Syria's ambassador treats all of this as a smear campaign deliberately embarked upon by the international community wishing to find fault with a country that is legitimately engaged in protecting its citizens from terrorist activity.  "All sides recognize now that the crisis is not attributable to peaceful demonstrations and legitimate demands for reform. "The crisis in Syria is a genuine war", warned Ambassador Faysal Khabbaz Hamoui.

The UN investigators expressed their unease with the knowledge that the rebels were increasingly dependent on the use of children as messengers, cooks, medical porters.  Some of whom had been passing across the border with Turkey in their helpful missions tasked to them by the rebel army.  Those children were clearly being exposed to risk of injury and death.

It is questionable whether the UN Human Rights Council will find much amiss in this report.  After all, so many of their respectable members are themselves fully practising human-rights abusers.

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