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, April 04, 2016

Fleeing the Terrorism of Government Vengeance in Syria

"Putin apparently thinks Syria needs Russia more than the other way around. But Assad and his inner circle probably arrogantly think it is quite the reverse."
"[Some Syrian advisers believe decentralization of authority at some level is required, yet it remains to be seen] if they can form a critical mass to convince Assad to negotiate seriously."
David W. Lesch, Assad biographer

"It’s like the West now is crying for the refugees with one eye and aiming at them with a machine gun with the second one, because actually those refugees left Syria because of the terrorism, mainly because of the terrorists and because of the killing, and second because of the results of terrorism."
"When you have terrorism, and you have the destruction of infrastructure, you won’t have the basic needs of living, so many people leave because of the terrorism and because they want to earn their living somewhere in this world."
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
Handout photo of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad by Syria's national news agency SANA via Reuters
Handout photo of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad -- SANA via Reuters

The tide has turned for Bashar al-Assad, the bloodthirsty president of Syria, a much-shrunken country whose population has suffered a trauma even beyond that of the Sudanese in the agony of Darfurians. Where a year earlier it looked certain that his regime would fall under the weight of attacks by the Sunni Syrian rebels, the al-Qaeda-linked Nusra group, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the entrance of Russian bombers and military personnel has managed to produce what Iran, Hezbollah and Shiite militias could not.

A man whose arrogance led him to respond to peaceful demonstrations by his majority Syrian citizens using the expedience of arrests, torture, bombing and strafing innocent Syrians, causing the largest mass exodus of people desperate to escape the fate that has claimed 330,000 Syrian lives, now struts on the world stage, brimming with the confidence of success. He succeeded admirably in reducing Syria to one-third of its former cohesive geography. Seven million Syrians are homeless, internally displaced, another five million are refugees.

But Palmyra was retaken from the Islamic State, and returned to the 'protection' of the Syrian regime. The pounding the ancient artefacts and buildings took in the bombing of the city may account for as much irreparable damage as the destruction deliberately inflicted by the ISIL terrorists intent on defacing and damaging 'graven images' forbidden by Islam. UNESCO, however, is pleased to have the site restored. And precautions had been taken previous to ISIL's invasion, to remove tens of thousands of items of great antiquity to safety.

Syrian army soldiers stand on the ruins of the Temple of Bel in the historic city of Palmyra, in Homs Governorate

The strategic prize of Palmyra,  however, has had great benefit to President Assad. The butcher of his own people, responsible for hundreds of thousands dead over a period of five years, the man who described his citizens as 'terrorists' and scum, is now reaping the reward of diminished returns. The head of UNESCO, gives tribute to the man, for the "liberation" of Palmyra, and UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, speaks of the operation retaking the city as "fortunate". Restrained perhaps, but laudatory.

Mr. Assad, who is so highly regarded as an ally who must retain his position as president of Syria by the Kremlin, was bypassed for prior notification by his collegial peer, President Vladimir Putin, that he has decided to pull the majority of troops and jets out of Syria. But Assad informed diplomats that nonetheless, Russian support remains undiminished. For that observation, at least, he might have had the support of Mr. Putin.

It is now being bruited about that President Assad's advisers believe that his penchant for independence in pursuit of his own drummer demonstrates to the world at large that he is more than capable of independent decision-making for he has demonstrated how he is able to "stand up to the whole world", a character trait that makes of him "a leader in the region", a prominent and much-admired personage. Perhaps only in the Middle East (or tribal Africa) is a leader admired for unrestrained butchery.

He is, admittedly, an astute judge of people like himself; ruthless and single-minded and unforgiving. He has managed to juggle relations with two very different states; Iran and Russia. Vladimir Putin has re-gained a presence, or so he imagines, on the world stage through his Syrian intervention and presiding over a potential political solution to the agony of Syria, more illusion than possibility, but one that has him conferring with U.S. President Barack Obama, as equals in the theatre.

Assad's perseverance, his ability to move forward using all means at his disposal, from outright violence in atrocity-laden strikes against civilians, to siege-and-starvation techniques, and barrel bombing, to manipulating two nations to stand steadfast in his defence, leaving him a survivor when none thought he could. And he is firm now in his belief that the West needs him, having made a choice between his remaining to lead Syria, in the common battle against Islamic State.

Forces loyal to Syria's President Bashar al-Assad walk in the town of al-Qaryatain, Syria, after they recaptured it in this picture provided by SANA on April 3, 2016. REUTERS/SANA/Handout via Reuters

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