Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Accountability an Exercise in Futility in Syria

"France and Germany condemn in the strongest possible terms the deliberate and indiscriminate attacks against civilian populations, including very large numbers of children, and against civil and medical infrastructure in clear violation of the most fundamental international humanitarian law."
Joint letter to Vladimir Putin

"This is about saving lives. UN convoys and evacuation teams are ready to go."
"It's time for the council to come together and shoulder its responsibility to urgently avert a situation that is beyond words in its desperation."
Olof Skoog, Swedish UN Ambassador
Hala, 9, receives treatment at a makeshift hospital following Syrian government bombardments on rebel-held town of Saqba, in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on February 22, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / AMER ALMOHIBANY)
Hala, 9, receives treatment at a makeshift hospital following Syrian government bombardments on rebel-held town of Saqba, in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus on February 22, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / AMER ALMOHIBANY)

Back in July of 2017 the General Assembly, despite vociferous objections from both Syria and Russia, voted for the establishment of a new body "to closely coordinate" with the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, established by the UN Human Rights Council. One of the very few times when the UNHRC focused on a country other than Israel which it normally upbraids for human rights violations. This time, a rare event; the focus was on Syria where war crimes are recognized to be "rampant".

The Syria war crimes probe is meant to represent the "International, impartial and independent mechanism" under auspices of the United Nations, mandated "to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyze evidence of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights violations and abuses and prepare files in order to facilitate and expedite fair and independent criminal proceedings" for the future. In view of the very indelible fact that the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad has been prosecuting a brutal conflict against his own Sunni population for seven years, this initiative belongs in the "about time" annals of history.

For sheer viciousness in the types of violent attacks against civilian populations among whom are those rebelling against the Alawite Shiite regime of Syria, aided and abetted by the Islamic Republic of Iran, its al-Quds Republican Guard Corps, the Lebanon-based Iranian terrorist militia Hezbollah and the various Iran-trained loyalist Shiite militias with a natural affinity to executing atrocities against Sunnis, only the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant is its equal.

From barrel bombs to chemical weapons attacks, artillery fire and bombing missions over  hospitals, schools and apartment blocks, the Syrian regime represents raw brutality.

Despite which, irrespective of all that dedicated assistance by Iran and Hezbollah, the rebellion might have succeeded were it not for the entrance of Russia to support he  Syrian regime. Russian air bombardment of civilian enclaves in the Damascus suburbs and elsewhere has rescued Bashar al-Assad from the fate he richly deserves. The natural justice of removing a dictator and holding him to account for crimes against humanity has been suspended.

An integral member of the UN Security Council, Russia has stalled sanctions and condemnatory motions time and again.

On the Syria file Vladimir Putin must stand alongside Bashar al-Assad to account for the same crimes. Characterizing civilian testimony from the East Ghouta area as "mass psychosis"; complaints from targeted, demoralized, traumatized, injured, displaced and mourning Syrians who have been and continue to live through a hell on Earth courtesy of Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Iraq and Russia as dementedly feverish imaginative descriptions of events that never saw the light of day, hits a new low.
The bodies of Syrian civilians, including a baby (R), lie wrapped in shrouds on the floor of a makeshift clinic following Syrian government bombardments in Douma, in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, on February 22, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Hamza AL-AJWEH)
 

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