ISIS Kills Father Paolo
On June 21st, the perpetrator of industrial-scale killings said "If the people want me to, I will run for President in June." Assad made this statement just days after 55,000 Syrian photos of torture victims surfaced from "the bowels of Assad's prison system" and [if true] "show the Assad government is guilty of mass war crimes against its own citizens."
Only a criminal with a deep sociopsychological problem could face the clear implications that these photos imply with no remorse. The impression Assad has that the People of Syria want him to continue as the President of Syria is egocentric.
This tyrant's psychological factors are the same that plague many dictators when they are trying desperately to cling to power. The cost is much too high for Syria. As the International Community has stood by with their "eyes wide shut," more than 130,000 Syrians are now dead, of which 13,000 are children.
Historical Towns Bombed Into Rubble
Cities and towns are bombed into piles of rubble. Syria's rich history in ruins and antiquities are damaged or missing. More than 2.5 million Syrians have left the country and are now residing in temporary shelter in neighboring countries in refugee camps. Up to 6.5 million Syrians inside the country are displaced and living in risky conditions. Close to 9 million Syrians inside Syria need immediate humanitarian aid.
Assad has claimed since the beginning of the revolution that he is fighting terrorists, but children, many only infants, are not terrorists. Either a statement like this comes from a psychotic disconnect with reality, or Assad is simply lying. In fact, the Assad regime are experts at misinformation (aka lies), lost persons (aka kidnapping), unfortunate incidents (aka torture), and suicide [aka murder].
No Place For A Man Who Turned On His Own People
According to Secretary of State John Kerry (from the Geneva-2 Conference) the United States, the Syrian opposition, and many others said [on January 23] all share a similar message. He said the message was, "No one should think for a moment that in the future of Syria there can be a place for a man [Assad] who has turned on his own people." He went on to say, "Every entity here today with one exception [Assad Regime] talked about that [political transition and a transition] and embraced the Geneva I communique."
"The international community expressed a united vision for Syria that respects its citizens and that protects the rights of every group, every sect, and every faith," said Secretary Kerry. This is consistent with the message Syrians have expressed repeatedly in various forums and media. Secretary Kerry went on to say, "The people of Syria demand an inclusive Syria, where people can live in dignity, security and with honor. These are the Syrian people's hopes for the future of their country, and we support them."
One man, Father Paolo, who knows the Syrian People very well expresses this same sentiment and shares his thoughts in this video with Christiane Amanpour on July 23, 2012.
al Qaeda Kills Father Paolo
The Assad regime kicked Father Paolo out of Syria because he asked for democracy, however he returned several times. He was kidnapped in July of 2013 by extremists and Syrian Activist reported him killed by ISIS in Raaqa in August 2013 because of his faith. Father Paolo's death is a huge loss for the Syrian community. This and other crimes based on religion may also be considered war crimes.
A free Syria where people can live in dignity and trust that their families are safe cannot happen until Assad and anyone in the government who has blood on their hands are removed. Many of the people in the Assad government's upper echelon may face war crimes. It is fair to state that anyone in Syria who commits a crime against humanity should face a war crime tribunal. "An eye for an eye" is not an acceptable defense.
It is significant that all of the other countries but one [Assad government] came to the Geneva-2 conference having endorsed the Geneva I communique. It was understood that the invitation sent by Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon made it clear that was the purpose of gathering. Speaking about the Geneva-2 conference Secretary Kerry said, "Today, people can more clearly understand how alone Assad is in standing up for himself, not for Syria."
Assad Under Pressure
Assad under Pressure
Cartoon: Carlos Latuff Wikimedia
The only problem with Secretary Kerry's statement is that Assad is really far from alone. Assad maintains an "inner circle" that he relies on made up exclusively of "extended family and top figures within the security apparatus." Joshua Landis, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, says this inner circle has "stuck together through thick and thin ... Disputes have been resolved peacefully, with great care, because staying together is the key to this regime's longevity. The moment they really fall out, and shoot at each other, the regime is going to collapse."
Assad's inner circle has got smaller over the span of the revolution, through defections of high profile advisers such as Gen. Ali Habib and Brig. Gen. Manaf Tlass. Additionally, Defense Minister General Daoud Rajha; Assef Shawkat, Assad's brother-in-law; and General Hassan Turkmani, head of the government's crisis operations were killed in a suicide bombing in Damascus.
A viable strategy to defeat the Assad regime is Divide and Conquer. The longer this goes on, the more divided they become, but many more people may die before they are divided enough to be conquered altogether.
Kimberly Jones is a global nomad who writes about international issues, however, she has a special interest in Middle East and North Africa affairs. Read more stories by Kimberly Jones.
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