Chapter by chapter, a long list of the guilty parties must bear responsibility for the Syrian catastrophe hacking the ruined country into bleeding parts.
1. The first culprit is undoubtedly its insensate president Bashar Assad and his close family, who have had no qualms about spilling the blood of some 300,000 men, women, children and old people – some estimate as many as half a million – and making some 11 million people homeless, to keep himself in power. No one has ever counted the number of people maimed and crippled by the war, but they are conservatively estimated at one million. These figures add up to genocide or serial mass murder, which has been allowed to go into its fifth year.
2. Iran warrants second billing for this mass crime. Tehran has laid out the stupendous sum of some $40 billion to keep the mass marderer Assad in power with total disregard for his methods of survival. The motives behind the ayatollahs’ military and political boost are well recorded. Worth mentioning here is that Tehran not only pressed its Lebanese proxy, the Shiite Hizballah group, into service alongside Assad’s army, but sent its its own generals to orchestrate the war, led by the Al Qods Brigades chief Qassem Soleimeni. We can reveal here that 22 Iranian generals have died fighting for the Assad cause.
3. The third place belongs to the United States and President Barack Obama. His refusal to put American boots on the ground may have been the correct decision for the US, but it had four direct consequences:
a) The slaughter of the Syrian people continued unchecked. Even after President Obama declared that chemical warfare was a red line, he backed down at the last minute against intervening and ordered the US fleet to draw back from the Syrian coast. To this day, Assad continues to use chemical weapons to poison his enemies.
b) Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry let Iran use its military backing for Assad as a high card in the negotiations for a nuclear accord. Instead of making it a condition for a deal against the lifting of sanctions, Washington allowed Tehran to come away from the table with US non-intervention in Syria as one of its concessions for buying Iran’s assent to the Vienna deal. Tehran, in a word, won Washington’s tacit approval for propping up the atrocious Syrian ruler.
c) The rest of the world, including the United Nations and the European Union, followed the Obama administration’s lead and stood aside as at least 11 million Syrians became homeless refugees.
The lifeless body of a three-year old Syrian child washed up from the sea has figured in the Western media as a symbol of the tragic fate of Syria’s refugees. However, his tragedy came after the hair-raising atrocities endured by millions of those refugees for nearly five years. Many families were forced to sell their daughters as sex slaves to buy food, their young sons to pedophile predators. The slave markets were centered on the Persian Gulf. Young Alan Kurdi died aged three. Many thousands of Syrian refugee children still live in appalling circumstances. No humanitarian organization has started an outcry or a campaign to rescue them.
d) US refusal to intervene in the most savage humanitarian tragedy the world has seen for many decades opened the door to the belligerent branch of al Qaeda, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, to march into the vacuum. The videotaped records of beheadings, the massacre of the Iraqi Yazdi people, the enslavement of its women and the burning alive of “apostates,” followed in quick succession.
The strongest nation in the world fought back with an ineffective trickle of air strikes on ISIS targets, allowing the group to go forward to conquer terrain and gain in strength.
4. Russia bears a heavy weight of guilt – and Israel would do well to watch its cynical conduct and draw the right conclusions. Like the ayatollahs, President Vladimir Putin led the second world power to total commitment for keeping Bashar Assad in power. Among other motivations, Putin pursued this policy to settle a score with Obama for the overthrow of Libya’s Muammar Qaddafi. With one world power on the sidelines and a second jumping in with two feet, the Syrian imbroglio was bound to have devastating historical repercussions.
Throughout the Syrian conflict, Israel refrained from interfering, with only one exception: It supported Syrian rebel groups holding a strip of southern Syria, as a buffer against Iranian, Hizballah and Syrian army encroachment on its northern borders. More than a thousand injured Syrians were treated and their lives saved in Israeli hospitals after receiving first aid at a field hospital on the Israeli-Syria border.
The esteemed Israeli historian Prof. Shlomo Avinery said Sunday, Sept 6, that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu did the right thing in steadfastly keeping Israel out of the Syrian conflict. He very much doubted that Syrian refugees would seek asylum in a country they regard as the Zionist enemy. Israel’s opposition leader Isaac Herzog nonetheless urged the government to take in a limited number of Syrian asylum seekers from among those flooding into Europe, and not to forget that “we are Jews.” One wonders why he never had a word to say about US dereliction when Assad committed his atrocities across Israel’s border. Herzog’s favorite advice to Netanyahu is to go to Washington right now, beard President Obama in the Oval Office and hammer out an agreed policy on Iran. Netanyahu referred to the Syrian refugee crisis at the weekly cabinet meeting Sunday: “While Israel is not indifferent to the human tragedy of refugees from Syria and Africa, it is a small country that cannot throw its doors open to them,” he said.
“We have conscientiously treated thousands of wounded from the fighting in Syria, and we have helped them rebuild their lives,” the prime minister recalled. “But Israel is a very small country, with neither demographic nor geographic depth, and therefore we must control our borders.”
Regarding a visit to Washington, the prime minister has a problem: Just as President Obama has not invited any Syrian refugees to come to America, he has not issued Netanyahu with an invitation to come to DC, whether to discuss the Iranian or the Syrian questions.