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Atrocity in Syria and the Globalization of Callous Disregard

Posted: Aug 30, 2012

It was once reasoned that in a globalized world of instant communication, no willful cruelty would go unnoticed or its perpetrators left unpunished. Yet as the “Arab Spring” continues to blossom amid the blood of the innocent, the prevailing attitude around the world remains that of wait and see.

Most egregious is the response from Tehran, whose recent delegates to Damascus were all smiles as they declared their support for the policy of indiscriminate carnage that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has been forced to adopt toward the very people he is sworn to protect.

Al-Assad, who once trained as an ophthalmologist, is the accidental mass murderer, acting at the behest of the very Syrian security and military apparatus that is poised to overthrow him in a heartbeat, should he refuse to carry out its dictates.

Al-Assad is correct in his contention that the Syrian rebellion is supported by world powers whose final intention is to redraw the regional map. The United States and its allies, in fact, make little secret of it. They see the current configuration of nation states in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as inimical to their long-range interests of controlling Middle East oil resources. Already, the vicious contention between Al-Assad’s Shia regime and the Sunni-majority Syrians, whose “free army” is supported by the United States and Saudi Arabia, is spilling over into Lebanon and Libya, promising further instability.

Quite tragically, Al-Assad’s compliance with uncompromising violence is fulfilling to a tee the expectations of the architects of MENA’s hyper-colonialism. As amateur videos of indiscriminate shelling and aerial bombing of Syrian cities invade the web to cries of “Allahu-Akbar” (Allah is the Greatest), they only perpetuate a perception of Muslims as bloodthirsty and backward among the oil-thirsty populations of developed countries.

In the United States, as election year mud-slinging begins to reach its traditional crescendo, neither President Obama nor his European counterparts are in a position to commit either moral or material capital to end the shedding of innocent blood in Syria and the surrounding region.

Indeed, all hands are politically tied. Kofi Annan, the former United Nations Secretary General, who was sent by the international body on a peace mission to Syria, ended up describing his task as “mission impossible,” confirming a prevailing perception that he was set up to fail. His successor, the Algerian diplomat Lakhdar Brahimi, is not intended to fare any better.

Current UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon is slated to attend the16th summit of the 120 non-aligned nations, which is being held this week in Tehran, albeit without a focus on Syria. His purpose at the summit will mainly be to warn the host country to curb its practices of terrorism, nuclear proliferation and human rights abuses. The rehashing of those charges, in absence of any positive solutions, will only serve to further demonize Iran, while smoothing a path to make of it another Syria.

Al-Assad, an ethnic Shia surrounded by a sea of Sunni Arab hostility, only has Iran as a non-Arab yet Shia brethren to reach out to. Meanwhile, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who is also attending the Tehran summit, is establishing a working group with Iran in a bid to broker a peaceful solution in Syria, knowing that Iran is the indispensable country in the process. Yet an Iran stooped under crippling sanctions, as it is being targeted for destabilization itself, can do little more than to send smiling delegates to Damascus.

To most people in developed countries, the entire affair remains remote, regional and irrelevant in a supposedly globalized world, even though it is further polarizing America and its allies against Russia and China in a potentially disastrous rivalry for all the riches that MENA has to offer.

Most oblivious are the American voters during a crucial election year as they continue to obsess over their own sputtering economy and the likability of their candidates. Little do they realize that President Obama’s foreign policy path, which Mitt Romney would pursue with even more vigor if elected, could lead to a world war with an unconscionable toll on American lives and riches.

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