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Syrian Civil War
The Next Stage of Barbarity

Hatreds between rival groups continue to deepen in Syria: Reports are filtering in that families of Assad regime supporters are being held captive in cages and are used as human shields to deter regime air raids. CNN reports:

Videos posted to social media over the weekend show trucks transporting cages filled with up to eight men or women, the opposition Shaam News Network reported.

“Rebels … have distributed 100 cages, with each cage containing approximately seven people and the plan is afoot to produce 1,000 cages to distribute … in different parts of Douma city particularly in public places and markets that have been attacked in the past by the regime and Russian air-force,” text in one of the videos says, according to the opposition network […]

Pro-regime militiamen also used opposition detainees as human shields in recent weeks, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

We can assume that what we read about is just the tip of the iceberg. Murder, torture, and rape are now endemic across much of the country, spawning hatreds that will likely fester for generations, pushing the rest of the region that much closer to the abyss of full scale sectarian war.

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  • wigwag

    Anyone who thinks human shields will deter the Russians, Syrians or Iranians from committing atrocity after atrocity simply isn’t paying attention.

    • Jim__L

      In that case, is this simply a matter of revenge?

      • wigwag

        Nope, I don’t think so. The Russians come from the Orthodox tradition. The Syrians, Iranians and Hamas for that matter come from the Islamic tradition whether Sunni or Shia. The West on the other hand has been shaped the the Judeo-Christian tradition, with all the influence of the Roman Catholic Church, the Reformation and the Enlightenment. The West, while far from perfect, simply has a superior culture when compared to the Russians or to the Islamic world. In the east life is cheap; in the West its precious. With all of its west’s flaws, the Russians and the Islamic world are simply inferior to the West when it comes to values and culture.

        • Ellen

          That may be true Wigwag, but the inferior culture may win out in the end because the superior types are too decadent to defend their territories and societies. Remember, the culturally inferior barbarians sacked Rome and sank Europe into a 400 year Dark Age. This is history repeating itself. Meanwhile Kerry, Obama and Mr. Ban from the UN move from ski slope to ski slope in Geneva talking about nothing consequential, and condemning Israel’s decision to build 30 apartment units in a particular spot in its capital city.

          • PennsylvaniaPry

            I tend nowadays to think that the Germanic immigrants into Rome (they didn’t so much invade as migrate–and even then often had explicit authorization) of the late 300s and early 400s AD were less the problem than the attempt by the Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian in the 500s to recapture the Western Empire, and in the process destroying Italy. The Germanic immigrants had long been settling in Roman territory and had easily adopted Roman customs. Even the Franks, perhaps the most robust of the Germanic groups, ended up speaking a modified Latin that became French, rather than retaining their original Germanic tongue. The breakup of the Western Empire was rather sudden, it is true, but it was not nearly the traumatic submission to uncultured “barbarians” so often featured in the popular imagination. Every last one of the “barbarians” could speak Latin and already obeyed law codes written in Latin. History is REALLY repeating itself in that in the 600s, brand new Islamic forces began finally to capture key Mediterranean provinces of the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire, including Egypt (the breadbasket) and the rest of North Africa and Spain, and began threatening Gaul. It was only the victory of Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours that kept the Muslims from encircling Italy (and Rome) and from invading Britain. Had that not happened, you’d be praying five times a day toward Mecca today.

          • Ellen

            Thanks for the history reminder. You are right about the Latin, and about the Christianity, which underscores the difference between today’s Europe and the Europe of the so-called Dark Ages. In those days, there was a core of Europeans who believed in Christianity and maintained the faith and structure of the Catholic Church. The result was that they were able to absorb and convert the barbarian tribes into Christians who spoke Latin and followed (theoretically) the guidance of the Church. This is what allowed Europe to later emerge from its dark ages and move into the Renaissance and the beginnings of modern Europe.

            There is no such core left in contemporary Europe. Nobody believes in anything except self-indulgence and transgender bathroom rights. Hence the barbarians will be pushing on an open door with nothing behind it. Their barbarism will destroy Europe permanently, unless the Chinese come in and buy up and protect the museums, beautiful old buildings, canals, etc. It will be Death in Venice, as Thomas Mann imagined, but for real this time, not just the feverish imaginings of a repressed artist in an 80-page lovely little novella.

    • AaronL

      I don’t think it makes a difference to the various Sunni groups.
      1. If the Russians or the Syrians refrain from bombing the targets (the Iranians don’t have air assets in Syria) than the Sunni rebels come out ahead.
      2. If the Russians or Syrians do bomb the humans shields than the regime supporters become demoralized and bitter against the Assad regime and the Sunnis still come out ahead.

      Either way it’s a victory for the Sunni rebels.

  • lukelea

    This is not full-scale?

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    Why in the world would any sane nation want to put their infidel troops into the middle of this sectarian fight between the Islamic Culture spawned Jihadists? It seems clear that the inferior Islamic Culture is fighting a losing battle against the Superior Western Culture, but there aren’t any shortcuts to changing a Culture, and as long as the blood spilled is Islamic blood the West should try to contain it there. I think it is an elegant strategy that has the continuously spawning Jihadists using all their resources to kill each other. And this fight should be encouraged to be as bitter and destructive as possible, and to go on as long as possible. In this way resources which might have been used to Murder innocents in the west will be consumed killing Jihadists in Islamoland (not a theme park even if it sounds like one).

    • http://radical-moderation.blogspot.com/ TheRadicalModerate

      This is what I think of as the “Roach Motel Strategy”, but the problem with it is that it’s fiendishly hard to make sure that they don’t check out after they’ve checked in. As a general rule, it’s a bad idea to let people who hate you develop a large cadre of battle-hardened combat veterans.

  • Fat_Man

    They won’t stop the Russians like that. Ivan don’t care.

  • Avi_in_Jerusalem

    But I don’t understand. The root of all the problems in the Middle East (and the rest of world) is the Israeli occupation. Once the Zionists disappear, the world becomes a perfect place.

  • CapitalHawk

    “The Next Stage of Barbarity” – umm, I guess. But aren’t these actions just common sense too? If they stop the Syrian government from dropping even one extra bomb on you, its worth it. Because, if you are involved in a war, the most important thing is to win. As a football coach once said “You play to win the game!” That is all that matters. The only reason the USA can get all worked up about human rights issues when it engages in war is because the fact of us winning the war is virtually assured from the beginning. If there is doubt about whether the USA will win, human rights concerns go out the window (see e.g., World War 2). You can worry about human rights watchdogs after the war is over. But only if you win. Because if you lose, you are dead. And if you win, you can easily point the finger for all the atrocities at the loser. So, just win baby.

  • iconoclast

    If human shields are used to protect military assets then not only are the deaths of those shields the responsibility of those who put the there but the opponents have no moral reason to defer military response because of the use of human shields. The only way to stop the use of human shields is to forcefully demonstrate the ineffectiveness of human shields.

    A fact, I might add, that the Israelis would be well-served to observe.

  • gabrielsyme

    This whole tragedy illustrates how criminally irresponsible it was to support the rebels, even from the very start (including the leading lights of this publication). Civil wars are terrible even in the best of cases, and it was obvious from day one in Syria that the rebels would radicalize and that a superior outcome than the Assad government was unlikely, even in the event of a clear rebel victory. And that’s leaving aside the risks of Syria becoming a terrorist seedbed (which it has) and the birthplace of a dark caliphate. Assad was bad – this is far worse, it was forseeably far worse, and the actions of the United States and others to promote the rebels were and are unconscionable.

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