In the original Italian, this article appeared in Il Giornale, 28 April 2011.
|Pro-Assad Syrian Demonstrators|
But it's time to be honest and to admit that we - the West, the US who sent back its ambassador to Syria, the EU that called Assad to start peaceful talks with Israel, the UN that might let him have a seat in the Human Rights Council – it's time to tell ourselves honestly that we wanted to see only "Assad the fireman". After so many killings, America now starts talking of personal sanctions on the Assad family (not a big deal). Meantime the US ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, told publicly something really worth mentioning: the United States can prove that among Syrian security forces, the same that are perpetrating a mass killing of civilians, there are many Iranian emissaries.
The governments of Italy, France, United Kingdom, Germany and Spain have summoned the Syrian ambassadors and the EU is expected to gather an high ranking meeting in the following days to discuss potential sanctions against Assad's regime. Meanwhile, another of the very few initiatives of the EU nations, i.e. a resolution in the Security Council, has been defeated by Russian, Chinese and Lebanese opposition.
But one the most interesting of all the useless reactions to the Syria slaughter is the call by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to the Human Rights Council to take a position. Yet Syria is still a candidate for the vacant Libyan seat in the HRC. Ban Ki Moon, requested to express his opinion on this contradiction, answered that this is not his business. Since Syria is one the four Asian countries entitled to one seat in this UN body, without a veto on the nomination, Syria could get its aim, while Syrians are slaughtered in the streets.
The UN should do whatever is necessary to save Syrians, reaffirming 2the responsibility "to protect", the same principle that has led the UN Security Council to approve the 1973 resolution, and allowed Nato to wage war against Muammar Ghaddafi. But Robert Gates, while still US Secretary of Defence, in a joint statement with his British counterpart, Liam Fox, has stated that the situation in Syria is far different from that of Libya. And even though the international community has responded to Ghaddafi's brutality with military means, it certainly won't do the same in confronting Assad.
This is the kind of weakness revealed by this UN indifference for democracy and human rights; the same unfortunate deviation we witnessed on massacres like Darfur and Tibet. And this tells the truth about the real reasons inspiring most of the approved Security Council resolutions: political interests. Ghaddafi is a bizarre dictator, his ferocity is unquestionable but his strategic value is poor, it is not critical for our and Middle East future. And after all, when he started to shoot his own people, we certainly had to stop him.
|Pro-Assad Druze in the Golan Heights|
Bashar Assad knows that the Sunni majority of his country - where the Alawites are a tiny Shiite minority - keeps a vivid memory of 1982 Hama massacre, where 20,000 Muslim Brothers were wiped out by Bashar's father, Hafez. The Syrian president knows that unless he would succeed in choking the protests at the very beginning, only tanks could crush a large opposition waiting for revenge. Now we can expect from Assad an awful enormous carnage that we have the duty to stop. But the world concern about a possible collapse of Syria, the best friend of Iran, is much greater than the worry about the future of Libya. For that reason we wait and see, while Syrians keep being killed.
Because of our fear of Iran, looking at Bashar Assad in recent years, we have rather chosen to see a beanpole guy wearing well-tailored British suits, a middle class faced boy with a charming wife, instead of the professional butcher who has already decreed the killings of more of 500 among his citizens, awfully using for this aim his brother Maher who commands the Presidential Guard.
Many self-made videos show us ferocious aggressions even against women and children. Assad has employed tanks and warplanes against his own towns. This is what we witness, but we don’t want to face it. In the meanwhile the death toll rises.
It's time to define with moral clarity how worth is the Western religion of human rights. But we must do it now, before the next dictator shoots his people. We gave credit to a dictator, Assad, who didn't deserve such a chance as no dictator have ever deserved. Instead he used the chance we gave him to arm terrorist groups, to build up chemical weapons and a powerful army. And today, to crash his own people.'