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.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Privation, Starvation, Suicide Bombings

"As the conflict goes on and on, the situation on the ground is collapsing, especially in areas that are under siege."
Pawek Krzysiek, spokesman, International Committee of the Red Cross

"I never thought Abu Bilal would do that. He wasn't an extremist or a fanatic. But his whole attitude changed during the siege."
"Before the revolution, we never had this feeling [hatred of Alawites] toward any sect. But after what we passed through, our attitude changed. We hated the regime and those who are 'pro' them."
Jalal al-Talawy, Homs, Syria

"We will come back to this land, and we will liberate it with our blood and our body parts."
"They claim they [UN officials, international powers] are neutral -- how neutral? They are participating with the butcher to kick the people out of their lands and houses, instead of punishing the criminal regime."
"Wait before you judge [ISIL]. They are devout, pure Muslims. They left everything for jihad."
"There is nothing warmer than  your neighbourhood, your country, your house."
Abu Bilal al-Homsi, Homs

Abu Bilal al-Homsi holding a flag used by the Islamic State in an undated image that the group released after his death. He became a suicide bomber; his attack killed at least 30 people in Homs, Syria.

Caught up in the maelstrom of civil war, he witnessed his beloved city of Homs and its residents suffering under a brutal regime siege, to starve out and lethally punish Sunni Syrians for opposing the Alawite-Shiite regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. A president of the country who considered the initial protests by his Sunni majority against their unequal status to the minority Alawites as proof that they were all "terrorists".

So the Syrian Sunnis who were alternately considered "scum" for insisting they be treated as equal citizens were treated instead to summary arrest, torture, death, and aerial bombardment, chemical attacks, barrel bombing. If they had any doubt they were considered inferior in civil status they were left in no doubt that they were also scorned as jihadi terrorists out to destroy the government and the pride of Syria.

Abu Bilal al-Homsi was a man in his early 20s who became a media activist, working to help foreign journalists discover what was happening to Syria and its Sunni population at the hands of a bloody tyrant. He wanted to fight to achieve the kind of change in Syria that would make it a decent place to live for its people. He set out to defend first his neighbourhood and then his country. He found common cause with the rebel groups representing the interests of Syrian Sunnis.

Then, frustrated with the lack of progress in defeating their hated dictator whose vicious attacks against Syrian Sunnis simply intensified at every opportunity, he joined the ranks of the Islamists, viewing them as being more effective in achieving goals. Eventually as he saw the streets of Homs fill with the rubble of destroyed homes and buildings and people starving, with medical aid withheld and no outside humanitarian source making entry, he joined the Islamic State; a recruit of desperation.

Hatred for neighbours he had once considered to be no different than himself began to seep into every pore of his body. The Shiites, the Alawites who supported Bashar al-Assad, people who lived in streets neighbouring his own in Homs became his fixation for revenge. As long as Bashar al-Assad continued to drain the life out of the Sunni Syrians in Homs he would dedicate  his life to destroying Alawite Syrians.

And so this once-reasonable, courageous man who loved his country and his people became, as ISIL proclaimed him, a "knight of martyrdom". He transformed himself as a suicide bomber, targeting Alawite Shiite Homs residents living mere blocks from his own destroyed house. The ensuing blast as he blew himself up killed 30 people, wounding another 100. ISIL had prepared him to strike an "apostate crowd".

 Solving nothing whatever, only adding to the gruesome death count which has increased with Russia's intervention where its air raids exacerbate the humanitarian crisis creating more refugees, and enabling the regime to tighten its sieges on what they consider to be opposition strongholds. The siege-tightening has an  added purpose; to allow Assad to take possession of more key territory ahead of the Geneva talks meant to schedule a ceasefire.

In places like Madaya, people are known to have starved to death. In another opposition-held town encircled by government forces located a few kilometres southwest of Damascus, Dani Qappani, an activist in Moadamiyeh, is appealing for help from the international community: "We're starving to death, women and children. We have no food".

The United Nations estimate that 400,000 people are besieged in Syria, in 15 locations, though opposition activists insist the numbers are larger. And while the UN emphasizes that the rebel groups too are laying siege to Shia towns, the differences are many. A larger number of people are affected by the regime sieges, as Hassan Hassan, Syria analyst based in Washington points out. Assad's forces make use of their aircraft, and the rebels have none.

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