Syria: Lies And Terror Get The Job Done


April 27, 2012: Despite the UN ceasefire the civilian death toll is increasing, and several hundred civilians are being killed each week, plus a hundred or so soldiers and police. The UN is still trying to deploy 300 truce monitors but most Syrians consider this ridiculous. The security forces don't stop killing civilians when foreigners are present, although an effort is made to move the foreigners away. The UN admits that, given the lack of cooperation from the Syrian government, it would take a month to get a hundred UN observers into the country.

The rebels are receiving more secret aid, mostly from Arab governments who are not willing to wait for the Arab League to make this sort of aid (weapons, cash, advisors) official policy.

The government policy appears to be to delay foreign intervention by telling the UN and Arab League what it wants to hear, while trying to arrest or kill as many rebel leaders as possible and at the same time use terror (artillery and air bombardment, restricted movement, starvation) against pro-rebel civilians (most of the population). As long as the Assads have Iranian support (cash, security specialists, and weapons) they believe they have a chance to bludgeon the population into submission and survive the rebellion. Iran has a lot riding on this, as Syria and Lebanon are the only two Arab countries that Iran controls, and the Syrian uprising could happen in Iran for the same reasons (corrupt rule and growing repression).

The official line of the Syrian government is that all the unrest is being caused by Western and Israeli agents and that it's all a plot to hurt the Arab world. While many Arabs find this paranoia comforting, the Arab League's official line is that the Syrian government is killing its own people and committing a host of other crimes (corruption, embezzlement, and all manner of bad behavior). The UN accused the government of violating the UN sponsored peace deal and increasing attacks on civilians. There is more call for armed intervention to assist the rebels. This has also caused Arabs to question many of their widely accepted ideas. One is that the West is evil and Western military intervention is the most evil thing of all. Another harrowing realization is that if the Assad family were Arab Christians instead of nominal Moslems (the Alawites are widely considered heretics), then the Arab world would be enraged and demanding military intervention, just as was the case when the Christian Serbs and Croats were attacking the Bosnian Moslems of Yugoslavia in the 1990s. To a lesser extent Arabs are admitting that Arab armed forces are not up to the task of intervening and that there's something wrong with Arab culture to cause this and the large number of corrupt and tyrannical Arab governments. In this respect the Arab Spring's impact is spreading and growing in ways that do not attract a lot of media attention.

Countries bordering Syria are finding many Syrian spies trying to enter and collect information from the growing number of Syrian refugees. This is a favorite Iranian tactic, and apparently the spies were recruited, trained, and equipped with the help of Iranian advisors.

April 26, 2012: In Hama a large explosion in a rebel neighborhood left over 70 dead and several homes destroyed. The government claims that the damage was caused by an accident in a rebel bomb factory, while rebels claim that the government was now using large missiles to attack civilians. The truth would be revealed if an investigation of the debris was conducted but that may not happen for a while because of the unrest and conflicting agends. Meanwhile, the most likely cause was a missile, large rocket, or aircraft bomb (which the Syrian military has plenty of). A bomb factory accident would usually produce a smaller explosion, as it is unusual for a bomb factory to have so much explosives stored in one place. Possible but not likely.

April 23, 2012: The UN announced that it would provide food aid for 500,000 Syrian civilians cut off from supplies by Syrian security forces. If food aid is not supplied people will starve, and the UN is trying to negotiate safe passage for the foods. Since the point of the Syrian blockade of some towns is to starve the rebellious population into submission, allowing in UN food aid would break the siege.

April 20, 2012: The UN sponsored ceasefire is not working. At best it caused the army to reduce their attacks on civilians for a few days, but the level of violence has returned to pre-ceasefire levels and is increasing.





Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close