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Syrian Rebels Massacre Shiites


Reports are emerging that Syrian rebels killed at least 60 Shiites in a village in eastern Syria in what seems to be a revenge attack for an earlier incident. The rebels say the Shiites were Shabiha, members of Assad’s feared irregular militias. Syrian officials describe it as a massacre of civilians. “What was not in dispute,” as Hania Mourtada and Anne Barnard report for the NYT, “was that several battalions of Sunni rebels, including members of extremist Islamist groups, stormed the village and, in video posted online by antigovernment activists, could be seen setting houses on fire as they shouted sectarian slogans, calling Shiites dogs, apostates and infidels.”

Fears of a polarizing sectarian war are growing across the entire region. “Hate language is on the rise, in the press, on social media and even at lectures in mosques. Shi’ites in general are being blamed for what’s happening in Syria,” a researcher at the Adalah Centre for Human Rights in Saudi Arabia told Reuters. A Kuwaiti cabinet official elaborated: “It’s very flammable, very sensitive…. Unfortunately Syria has become the new battleground for a very ancient tug of war.” “Everything that happens in Syria or Lebanon,” said a Bahraini human rights activist, “has an impact everywhere in the region.”

The Obama administration’s hesitance to intervene in Syria appears to have allowed Iran to gain an upper hand in the war there and in regional affairs, as Liz Sly reports for the Washington Post:

An Iran emboldened by the unchecked exertion of its influence in Syria would also be emboldened in other arenas, [Mustafa] Alani [a director at the Dubai-based Gulf Research Council] said, including the negotiations over its nuclear program, as well as its ambitions in Iraq, Lebanon and beyond.

“If Iran wins this conflict and the Syrian regime survives, Iran’s interventionist policy will become wider and its credibility will be enhanced,” he added.

Amr al-Azm, a Syrian activist and university professor in Ohio, put it simply: “Politically we’re screwed, and militarily we’re taking a pounding. America talked the talk while Iran walked the walk.”

[Obama photo courtesy Getty Images. Assad photo courtesy Wikimedia.]

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  • wigwag

    Amr al-Azm, a Syrian activist and university professor in Ohio, put it simply: “Politically we’re screwed, and militarily we’re taking a pounding. America talked the talk while Iran walked the walk.” (Walter Russell Mead)

    Russia walked the walk too and all the while Obama was cowering in the corner paralyzed by the thought that he might have to make a tough decision.

    That’s what happens when you make a community organizer Commander in Chief.

    • Pete

      “That’s what happens when you make a community organizer Commander in Chief.”

      You got it, Brother.

      And think of what that says for America that it twice elected this affirmative action boob to the highest office in the land.

      • bpuharic

        Perhaps you folks would be happier if Obama reprised the enormous success Bush had with nation building in Iraq.

  • Anthony

    New battle ground for a very ancient tug of war…

    • Corlyss

      Agree. I sick of the story.

  • ljgude

    “And hate language is on the rise…” What does 60 people being shot and/or incinerated look like through the lens of post colonialism? Now we know.

  • bpuharic

    “Obama’s hesitation to intervene”

    Anyone know what this means? These religious fanatics screwed up their world and it’s our fault?

    Perhaps we’d be happier if Al Qaida was on the ascendancy in Syria since they are an element of the Syrian rebels.

  • CygnusA81

    Since Obama decided to do nothing whatsoever, the outcome now in Syria will probably be bad for US, Europe and Israel. Great job Obama. You really showed the world how smart you and team really are. Smart power indeed.

    But hey, at least Russia and Iran got what they wanted. Huh?

    • bpuharic

      Is there any indication this will turn out well for Russia or Iran? Lots of chicken entrails here…no analysis

      • CygnusA81

        Well its looking like Assad is on the ascent so if he wins, its a win for Russia, they’ll keep using Tartus as their Med port and Iran, which will use Assad as their vessel client state. These are basic facts I would think you would know if you read WRM blog on daily basis.

        • bpuharic

          And a year from now, Al Qaida runs a suicide bomber against him, they being one of the largest rebel groups…which I think you’d know if you read the WRM blog on a daily basis.

          So where’s the win? Maybe a meteor will hit. Tell me…where is there a stable middle Eastern Arab country? How, exactly, do you manage that like you folks seem to think the US has a miraculous capability to do?

          • CygnusA81

            Well when the civil war started, Assad main opposition were secular Syrians. Since Obama decided to lead from behind and out source the war to Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Dubai, they obviously sided with the Islamists and gave them the upper hand. So now the situation is where Obama can’t trust the rebels because of the Al Qaeda elements so yeah he really screwed up.

            When did liberals like yourself become cynical isolationists? I mean their are human rights violations going on a daily basis and your response is oh well not our problem. Its really sad to see what this is what liberal foreign policy has become.

            I hate to break it to you, but the US won the Iraq war, but Obama lost the peace by pulling all of troops out of the country leaving a political/security vacuum where the worst players are vying for control of Iraq.

            So instead of backing the pro-Western rebels in the beginning we’ve got no say now. Smart power indeed. Remember we overthrew Gaddafi because he was going to kill thousands of people, well tens of thousands of more Syrians have died because of Obama’s inaction. One last thing, no one is saying we should put boots on the ground either.

          • bpuharic

            And when the Egyptian revolution started, the opposition was primarily secular. Not so today. You seem to think we could have dammed the Islamist lake to keep out the fanatics. Has that EVER succeeded ANYWHERE in the middle East? How’s Israel’s record on that?

            This is nothing more than an excuse for Obama bashing.

            When did we become ‘cynical’ isolationists? You mean, as WRM points out, Jeffersonians? Perhaps if you conservatives weren’t so prone to spend trillions of dollars and thousands of US lives in feckless nation building, we wouldn’t be so cynical.

            Let me know when you have a success. So far all I see are military funerals and red ink.

  • GardenGnomeLF

    Post sides in this conflict are barbarians.
    They both need to lose.

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