The Honorable Syrian Arabic Republic
My ranking of resistance to change among Middle Eastern and North African nations has generally started with Saudi, Syria, Libya and down from there. For a time Libya represented the sine qua non because of their history as an outlaw nation which sponsored terrorism, overseas assassination, and internal repression (Gaddafi -Sociopathy ).
We knew Syria would be a tougher nut than most. The Assads (Alawites) have been a lot more insular in growing their power structure than Libya. Syria is 74% Sunni, 14% Alawi/Shia (Alawite). At 14% of the population they have come from a collection of related tribes to dominate the Sunni majority. The core military (4th Mechanized Div, Republican Guard) are Alawis as is the majority of the other branches of the military.
Syria has joined Libya as a government that has lost its right to govern. The lack of journalists (witnesses) makes Syria virtually as opaque as N Korea. It’s no secret than Basheer wants no witnesses. Nevertheless, we have seen the tanks and the snipers. We know what the Assads have done in the past, the Hama massacre is a case in point. As with Gaddafi the Assads have a strategic agenda that includes intrigue with Iranian interests.
While not as manic as the messianic Gaddafis, Syria and Iran pose a different kind of threat to stability in the Middle East and further afield. Regardless of the larger regional issues, the Syrian government is guilty of war crimes. It’s not necessary to have reams of proof. I am not the Court of Justice of the European Union, nor any other court. I am a witness to history and beyond anything before in Syrian history there is recent history and the boy who was kidnapped, tortured, killed (Syrian 13-yo tortured, sexually mutilated) to serve as a warning to others of the lengths to which the government would go to make it’s point.
The link graphically shows the boy’s body, not in repose but unwrapped in plastic sheeting. Some human has lightly scattered flower petals about the body. The reports of castration were difficult to verify even as the photographer filmed the genitals with care (and zoom) it is unclear what damage had been done. I saw an enlarged scrotum with what appeared to be a small foreskin with no obvious damage. Let me know what you think. Ok, I may be asking a lot. This is pretty rough stuff. I wish I could have interviewed the boy, but he is dead.