EDITORIAL: Mayhem spreading in Syria
The latest display of brutality displayed by President Bashar Al Assad to repress legitimate protests of the Syrian people is appalling, to say the least, and has prompted United States President Barack Obama to speak out strongly against the Syrian regime.
Unfortunately, this feckless call is not likely to affect the situation on the ground, unless the United States mobilizes world action against the regime. Too much time has now passed before the world powers sit down and address the deteriorating situation in Syria.
On the other side of the Atlantic, British Foreign Secretary William Hague recently spoke out strongly, albeit too late, about the need to step up the pressure on Assad, and he called for additional sanctions, not only from Western states but also from regional states and Turkey.
Turkey itself is going through a period of uncertainty as its military is in turmoil in the face of several resignations. The dramatic standing down of the military, air force and navy chiefs will certainly impact the political establishment for some time.
Interestingly, The Hague has also warned that United Nations-authorized military action against Syria was also “not a remote possibility”. It has taken so long to move against Syria, despite serious human rights atrocities, that the threat seems hollow.
The moral dilemma for the so-called international community at this point is how to continue to turn a blind eye to the atrocities in Syria, especially after invading Libya on much lesser pretext and much less provocation.
The protests that started in Syria in mid-March have now become a full-blown resistance spreading across the country. Despite the killings of thousands of civilians and security officials and mass arrests, the Syrian protests continue unabated.
The government’s justification for the latest massacre in Hama was the illegal barricades set up in the city by the protesters along with the attacks of vandalism and arson on police stations and other public and private properties – a claim rejected by the United States Embassy in Damascus.
Given the lack of definitive success in Libya, Syrian protesters might have to sweat it out a little longer.
The bigger dilemma for President Assad is on how to control the situation that has obviously got out of hand and has slid way past all reasonable limits. The truth is that his government cannot continue to roll in tanks and shoot to kill ordinary civilians in such mindless fashion with continued impunity.
This is unacceptable and it is time immediate and purposeful efforts are undertaken to settle matters somehow between Damascus and Syrian opposition groups. Other neighbouring Arab states and possibly Turkey should help, but some country somewhere needs to take the lead.