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Who to punish, who to defend in Syria

By Fiona Hill - posted Monday, 9 September 2013

In the wake of new poisonous gas attacks around Damascus last week - another monstrous low in the depths of Syria's conflict - the ensuing palaver is nonsense worthy of Lewis Carroll.

Leaders of the'free world' bellow "Off with their heads!" caution each other against intervention, assure citizens this is "someone else's war", then gravely consult over when to start bombing.

Allies and foes taunt each other with "will you, won't you join the dance?", jurists argue punishment versus self-defence, the convicted mumbles innocence, the victims blame foreigners, the death toll is stretched and pummeled like dough, and forensic investigators are shut outside court.


Horrified observers question how military attacks will save Syrian lives, their voices drowned out by the mob.

President Barack Obama insists that the US and its allies have tried diplomacy to bring a halt to the conflict in Syria and now have no other option but to intervene.

Yet the key revolutionary force that they openly and generously support in Syria consistently has refused diplomacy. Offers by the Syrian Government since 2011 for full amnesty and open negotiation with all parties have been rejected again and again.

And after two and a half years of fighting with foreign-supplied weaponry, sophisticated surveillance equipment, training, and generous funding, along with refuge and medical attention in Turkey,the Free Syrian Army (FSA) has failed to dislodge President Bashar Al Assad from his post.

Worse than this, foreign funding of combatants has swollen FSA ranks to such a degree that an estimated 75% now are a law unto themselves - killing without apparent cause, extorting money through kidnap, stealing property, looting and burning factories and shops, hijacking diesel and heating fuel, and destroying infrastructure.

Defected FSA Colonel Riad Al Asa'ad describes the much promoted National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary & Opposition Forces (NCSROF) as 'the worst opposition in history' as he laments the chaotic rule ofweapons and money that gives'war princes'power at the expense of revolutionaries.


So he calls on 'men of religion' from around the world to join the Syrian fight. The formidable fighters of Al Nusra Front, who openly align with Al Qaida,are amongst the thousands of foreign nationals to answer the call.

Al Nusra make common cause with the FSA petitioning and terrorizing civilians in the name of Islam.

But with doctrine to guide them, their fighters care little for FSA's revolution.They fight to restore an Islamic Caliphate in Damascus.

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About the Author

Dr Fiona Hill is a small business owner & member of Australian ‘Mussalaha’ Reconciliation in Syria (AMRIS).

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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