Thursday, 29 June 2017

From The Liberty Wall – Nations without States – Syria’s ‘Hierarchy Of Suffering’ (Part 2)
THE END of last month saw Nations without States (NwS) reproduce the first part of an article – http://nationalliberal.org/from-the-liberty-wall-%e2%80%93-nations-without-states-%e2%80%93-syria%e2%80%99s-%e2%80%98hierarchy-of-suffering%e2%80%99-part-one – by Bob Fisk. The article itself had originally appeared in The Independent. Fisk is is the multi-award winning Middle East correspondent of The Independent.

The original article was published after two horrific attacks in Syria – one of which led US President Donald Trump to launch a missile attack on a military facility loyal to President Bashar al-Assad’s government. The other attack was carried out by opponents of President Assad, but there was no retribution by the US. With this in mind, Fisk appears to argue that there is a ‘Hierarchy Of Suffering’ in Syria.

This is the second part of Fisk’s original article. NwS has reproduced it in an effort to stimulate debate concerning the situation in Syria. It goes without saying that there are no official links between Robert Fisk, The Independent or Nations without States.

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If Trump cares so much about Syrian babies, why is he not condemning the rebels who slaughtered children?

US President Donald Trump (left) and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (right). Trump sudenly went from being the devil incarnate to a ‘good guy’ after launching a missile attack on a pro-Assad military facility.

There’s no doubting the flagrant, deliberate, vile cruelty of Saturday’s attack. The suicide bomber approached the refugee buses with a cartload of children’s cookies and potato chips – approaching, I might add, a population of fleeing Shia civilians who had been starving under siege by the anti-Assad rebels (some of whom, of course, were armed by us). Yet they didn’t count. Their “beautiful little babies” – I quote Trump on the earlier gas victims – didn’t stir us to anger. Because they were Shias? Because the culprits might have been too closely associated with us in the West? Or because – and here’s the point – they were the victims of the wrong kind of killer.


For what we want right now is to blame the “evil”, “animal”, “brutal”, etc, Bashar al-Assad who was first “suspected” to have carried out the 4 April gas attack (I quote The Wall Street Journal, no less) and then accused by the entire West of total and deliberate responsibility of the gas massacre. No-one should question the brutality of the regime. Nor its torture. Nor its history of massive oppression. Yet there are, in fact, some grave doubts about Bashar’s responsibility for the 4 April attack – which he has predictably denied – even among Arabs who loath his Baathist regime and all it stands for.

Even the leftist but hardly pro-Syrian Israeli writer Uri Avneri – briefly, in his life, a detective – has asked why Assad should commit such a crime d (1) when his army and its allies were winning the war in Syria, when such an attack would gravely embarrass the Russian government and military, and when it would change the softening western attitude towards him back towards open support for regime change.

And the regime’s claim that a Syrian air attack set off explosions in al-Nusra weapons store in Khan Shaykoun (2) (an idea which the Russians also adopted) would be easier to dismiss if the Americans had not used precisely the same excuse for the killing of well over a hundred Iraqi civilians in Mosul in March; they suggested that a US air strike on an Isis arms lorry may have killed the civilians.

But this has nothing to do with the weekend’s far more bloody assault on the refugee convoys heading for western Aleppo. They were part of a now-familiar pattern of mass hostage exchanges between the Syrian government and its opponents in which Sunni opponents of the regime in villages surrounded by the Syrian army or its allies have been trucked out to Idlib and other “rebel”-held areas under safe passage in return for the freedom of Shia villagers surrounded by al-Nusra, Isis and “our” rebels who have been allowed to leave their villages for the safety of government-held cities. Such were the victims of Saturday’s suicide bombing; they were Shia villagers of al-Foua and Kfraya, along with several government fighters, en route to what would be – for them – the safety of Aleppo.
Whether or not this constitutes a form of ethnic cleansing – another of Bashar’s sins, according to his enemies – is a moot point. Al-Nusra did not exactly urge the villagers of al-Foua and Kfraya to stay home since they wanted some of their own Sunni fighters back from their own encircled enclaves. Last month, the governor of Homs pleaded with Sunnis to leave the city on “rebel” convoys to Idlib to stay in their houses and remain in the city. But this is a civil war and such terrifying conflicts divide cities and towns for generations. Just look at Lebanon 27 years after its civil war ended.

But what ultimately proves our own participation in this immoral and unjust and frightful civil war is our reaction to those two massacres of the innocents. We cried over and lamented and even went to war for those “beautiful little babies” (3) whom we believed to be Sunni victims of the Assad government. But when Shia babies of equal humanity were blasted to pieces this weekend, Trump could not care less. And the mothering spirit of Ivanka and Federica simply dried up.

And we claim that Middle East violence has nothing to do with us.

(1) http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1492111523

(2)  http://www.independent.co.uk/topic/khan-sheikhoun

(3) http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/donald-trump-basarl-al-assad-syria-military-strike-sarin-nerve-gas-a7671291.html

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