Friday, August 19, 2011

Syria Guns Down Palestinians

by Joseph Klein

Iran’s Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi said earlier this week that it is “the duty of all Muslims to help stabilise Syria against the destructive plots of America and Israel.” He is echoing the opinion of Iran’s supreme ruler Ayatolla Khamenei, who considers himself to be the representative of Allah on earth and the deputy of the last Islamic messiah, Imam Mahdi. Khamenei declared last spring that the protesters in Syria were “God’s enemies.”

The thugs running Iran have carried out their “Muslim duty” by intervening on the side of their Syrian ally, President Bashar al-Assad, against “God’s enemies.” They have deployed snipers in Syria, for example, to support Assad’s brutal crackdown against protesters, according to a former member of the regime’s secret police. They have sent Assad’s regime arms, riot control equipment, intelligence monitoring technical support, oil and personnel assistance from the Iranian Republican Guard. Khamenei is also reported to have ordered the transfer of $9 billion in unconditional aid to prop up Assad’s regime.

In addition, Iran agreed to fund a new multimillion-dollar military base at Latakia airport on the Syrian coast. As reported by the Telegraph:

Teams of Iranian Revolutionary Guards officers are to be stationed at Latakia on a permanent basis where they will co-ordinate the arms shipments with officials from Syria’s Mukhabarat intelligence service.

The arms are said to include machine guns, rockets and medium-range missiles.

Now it turns out that the Iranian regime, which professes to be the Palestinians’ biggest supporter, has been helping a dictator who is not only brutalizing his own citizens, but also the Palestinian refugees living in Syria in a camp not too far from where the new Iranian-funded military base will be located.

According to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, a Palestinian refugee camp near Latakia had been shelled from the sea. Several people were killed and thousands of Palestinian refugees fled or were forced to leave their living quarters. This was no accident. There was firing directly into the refugee camp. The Syrian authorities have to date refused the UN agency access to the camp where it is feared that wounded and elderly residents are stranded.

“The situation is very bad,” Christopher Gunness, spokesman for the UN Relief and Works Agency, said. “We have a handful of confirmed deaths and nearly 20 injured…There are more than 10,000 residents of the camp, and half of them left out of fear of incoming fire from the land and sea. We don’t know where they are, and we’re the ones responsible for them. We’re just desperately trying to find out where everyone is.”

The Syrian security forces have reportedly herded thousands of Syrians and Palestinian refugees into a stadium and taken away their identification cards and cell phones. Based on what Syrian forces have done in previous city stadium round-ups, executions are expected.

The Syrians have hypocritically used the United Nations to excoriate Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people. So have the Iranians.

For example, in explaining its vote last November on an anti-Israeli draft resolution, the Syrian representative declared that Israel must be compelled to put “an end to violating the human rights of the Palestinian people systematically and its excessive use of force… Syria will never accept that murder triumph over justice and law.”

How ironic indeed that the Syrian authorities are now ensnaring the Palestinian refugees living in Syria in a triumph of murder and persecution over justice and law. The irony is not lost on Palestinian officials, who took a rare break from their constant denunciations of Israel to condemn the Syrian crackdown.

Palestine Liberation Organization Secretary General Yasser Abed Rabbo called the targeting of Palestinians and Syrians “part of the crimes against humanity.”

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, said: “We urge the Syrian authorities to stop the attack on the refugee camp immediately. It is unacceptable, we cannot accept it.”

Iran’s rulers are willing to sacrifice some Palestinian lives if it means propping up their ally Assad. They view the Syrian regime and Hezbollah, Iran’s terrorist arm in Lebanon, as major instruments to help achieve their goal of destroying Israel.

Ayatolla Khamenei has been quoted by chief commander of Iran’s Basiji forces, Brig. Gen. Mohammad-Reza Naghdi, in Fars News agency, the media outlet for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, as declaring that “Zionists are now encircled by those who are willing to wage jihad for Islam.” The loss of Syria, with possible repercussions in neighboring Lebanon now controlled by Hezbollah, would be a major blow to Khamenei’s strategy.

What is the United Nations doing while the Syrian dictatorship, with the help of Iran, goes after its own citizens, and now even Palestinian refugees, in the latest bombardments of Latakia? It is busy rewarding the aggressors. The United Nations Development Programme is actually spending nearly a million dollars, part of which is paid for by American taxpayers, to partner with the Syrian government in modernizing the Latakia port – the very same location that Assad’s forces are so busy shelling.

In sum, Palestinians are being fired upon and forced out of their homes in the same Syrian port city, under bombardment by Assad’s forces, where Iran will be funding a military base and where the United Nations is funding a modernization program. Meanwhile, the Obama administration issues toothless statements condemning the Syrian government while keeping the U.S. ambassador in Damascus and keeping the money flowing to the UN.

Joseph Klein


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