This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Monday, January 18, 2016

A Pact With The Devil

"The regime will continue to use its 'submit or starve' policy because it's working."
"With a big happy stamp of approval by the United Nations [and global powers]."
Bissan Fakih, Syrian Campaign

"I'm telling you, not a single morsel is allowed in there. I don't make the rules. There are those bigger than me and you who make the rules and they're watching us right now. So go back home."
Syrian soldier [addressing a starving boy pleading for bread]

"In the revolution I was dreaming of democracy, freedom….Today all my dreams are food."
Syrian rebel 

"Starving civilians is a war crime under international humanitarian law and of course any such act deserves to be condemned, whether it’s in Madaya or Idlib."
"Should there be prosecutions? Of course. At the very least there should be accountability for these crimes."
U.N. Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid bin Ra’ad

A member of the Syrian pro-government forces stands at the entrance of the besieged rebel-held Syrian town of Madaya as residents wait for a convoy of aid from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent on January 14, 2016.
The United Nations wrung its hands in deep distress over the 42,000 people trapped by the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad in Madaya. But that number represents roughly a tenth of the entire Syrian population stranded in besieged or difficult-to-reach in war zone areas, and conditions are steadily becoming more grave. The residents of Madaya and other places have suffered dreadful deprivation, even as efforts by the UN to strike engagements in new peace talks have been proceeding.

And just as those diplomatic extensions are in place, nothing stops the escalating military interventions on the part of Russia and the United States. The warring parties and their supporters continue to flout international law even as they're being pleaded with to initiate negotiations to stop the conflict. Madaya was in starvation mode before January 11 when the first UN aid convoy arrived. The town, controlled by rebels, has been encircled by pro-government forces. Barbed wire, land mines and snipers control the movements of any residents attempting escape.

So people did what they could in desperation. Preparing 'soups' comprised of grass, spices and olive leaves and completely absent nutrition. Family pets were sacrificed so their owners might live another day. People were unable to recognize one another, their appearance so transformed by starvation. Behind front lines almost a half-million Syrians are denied access to food and medicine, trapped where they live. The UN Security Council ordered the warring parties to permit aid delivery in 2014. Since then the victim count has risen.

Russia and the government of Syria have carried out airstrikes they characterize as being aimed at Islamic State militias. Since last fall with the entry of Russian warplanes an estimated sixteen health centers have been hit by bombs leaving six aid groups little option but to withdraw from Idlib Province. Where, just incidentally the Islamic State has a scant presence, leaving Syrian and Russian forces to bomb other groups attempting to oust Bashar al-Assad.

Almost half of the 400,000 Syrians whom the UN identifies as besieged are hemmed in by government forces using systematic starvation around Damascus and Homs. The Islamic State group blockades an estimated 200,000 people in Deir al-Zour in the east, with other insurgents such as Ahrar al-Sha Islamists encircling some 2,000 people in isolated pro-government towns in northern Syria.

Syrian Army soldiers monitor residents who said they have received permission from the Syrian government to leave the besieged town as they wait with their belongings after an aid convoy entered Madaya, Syria, Thursday. Aid was sent on Thursday to the Syrian town blockaded by pro-government forces and two villages besieged by rebels for the second time this week, and a U.N. official said he hoped to make more deliveries to areas where people are starving. | REUTERS

Critics of the United Nations feel in its eagerness to influence the Syrian government to agree to peace talks with opposition groups, it is selling out the protection of Syrian civilians from government depredation. Human rights abuses are taking place under the very nose of the United Nations and they are averting their eyes. Some of the deals brokered by the UN for access to food and medicine, meant to be unconditional, are exchanged for civilians leaving their homes.

Diplomats and aid workers feel Assad has cleverly divided the UN's political and humanitarian arms where political officials while deploring the starve-or-surrender terms, still proceed with deals that humanitarian agencies balk at but cannot refuse to buy into with the need to deliver aid representing the only and most immediate concern to help the trapped civilians endure the unendurable.

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home

() Follow @rheytah Tweet