Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

How to Stop the Syria Massacre | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Syrians dead in war. Reuters

Syria’s story is now both tragedy and scandal. Day after day, its police and army humiliate, frighten and kill scores of its citizens.

Old and young, educated and ignorant, rich and poor: All have become targets.

One day alone, two weeks ago, youngsters were massacred individually — with bullets in their heads.

And the so-called civilized world isn’t even trying to stop the massacre. Its leaders issue statements, but the bloodshed continues. A situation that has lasted 13-odd months is not about to end.

When questioned, our leaders simply shrug their shoulders: “What in the world could be envisaged when a pseudo-democratically elected leader imprisons, torments, tortures and endlessly maims and kills, on a large scale, hundreds of his citizens, what could stop him?”

Military intervention? No. Why not? Because Americans are tired of waging distant wars and because American families have lost too many sons and daughters in far-away conflicts.

Should Syrian families suffer because of the help we have given others? Because of the sacrifices we have already made?

What about U.N. resolutions? Russia and China shamefully render them worthless.

What about economic sanctions? Somehow President Bashar al-Assad is not afraid of them.

Moreover, and regarding diplomatic expulsions, all what they produce are headlines, nothing else.

What strategic move is then operationally advisable with possible political results?

I am not sure that armed assistance is the only solution. Economic sanctions have proved to be relatively futile elsewhere.

But why not imagine another option that might produce a dramatic effect?

Why not warn Assad that, unless he stops the murderous policy he is engaged in, he will be arrested and brought to the international criminal court in The Hague and charged with committing crimes against humanity?

Such a charge would have discouraging aspects. He would lose any support, any sympathy, in the world at large.

No honorable person would come to his defense. No nation would offer him shelter. No statute of limitations would apply to his case.

If and when he realizes that, like other dictators, he will end up in disgrace, locked in a prison cell, he might put an end to his senseless criminal struggle for survival.

(The Washington Post)