by Dr. Reuven Berko
"There's no tax on words," goes and old Arab adage that aptly reflects the world's dismal condition in the face of an empowered axis of evil. Among the gruesome images broadcast on Syrian national television, one could see the bullet-riddled heads of boys and girls, resting lifelessly in the dim, narrow hallways of cramped buildings.
The state-run broadcast gave special attention to one little dark-haired boy, filming a close-up of the back of his neck, after he had been scalped. The bodies, piling up at a murderous rate in cities across Syria, have turned U.N. observers and their shamed commander into shell-shocked, helpless bystanders, complicit in the tragedy due to pathetic inaction.
The voices of alarm around the world are growing stronger, because, after all, there is no tax on words. The French are discussing a military option, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared that "the situation has become insufferable and one can't remain silent any longer." U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice warned that Syrian failure to comply with Kofi Anan's plan would lead to civil war and harsher U.S. action. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has pointed to Russia as the root of the problem, saying that Russian support for the Syrian regime will lead to a bloody civil war.
The Russians, meanwhile, are sticking to their guns. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, guided by the outlook that everything that is bad for the Americans and their allies is good for the Russians and their allies, has argued that "Russia is maintaining a balanced policy on Syria." From their modern Kremlin offices (renovated with American aid money?), President Vladimir Putin's officials are busy trying to restore Russia's superpower status. They back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime and threaten anyone considering military action against Syria in efforts to save its citizens.
At the other end of the map stands a menacing Iran, another supporting country, orchestrating the "Syrian death roulette" and threatening that if Syria is attacked, "Israel will burn." Israel is Iran's hostage for the purposes of extortion, but if that is not enough for the Americans, Iran also has additional hostages: the oil exporters on the opposite side of the Persian Gulf. In fact, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards paid a defiant visit on Saturday to three disputed islands over which Iran has forcefully claimed sovereignty, located along the world's main oil supply route in the Persian Gulf.
Assad inherited his predilection for murder from his father, who massacred over 30,000 people in Homs and Hama in 1982, who even then were fighting for the same cause. Until recently, "the Assads" from Damascus hosted various Palestinian terrorist organizations that similarly murdered Israelis. Now, the regime is reaping the bloody fruits of the violence it sowed over the years. The atrocities continue, starring the Syrian army, Syrian security services and the professional assassins in civilian clothing (known as "Shabiha") who rove the streets. Syrian soldiers in tiger fatigues flaunt their Kalashnikov rifles as they victoriously trudge among the corpses of slaughtered children.
The Syrian regime blames its victims and its citizens for killing their own brothers, as murderers tend to do. It continues to wage psychological warfare, announcing the release of hundreds of rebels "without blood on their hands" who have renounced their ways. It's hard to imagine what a peace agreement between Israel and Syria would be worth if signed with this murderous regime. And another nightmare scenario creeps up: What would happen to us and to our children if, God forbid, this horde, which slaughters its own people, were to defeat us in a war?
For the time being the world is putting many things into motion but very little is actually moving. The Iranians continue to play with their centrifuges and are shifting to a higher gear while cruising toward a bomb. Somewhere in Doha a conference will focus on "America and the Islamic World." Terrorist attacks that kill dozens of people occur on a daily basis in disintegrating Iraq, where Iranian hands meddle and impose their will. There was a report out of Pakistan, a Sunni country with nuclear weapons, of a short-range ground-to-ground missile test. The leader of the rebel forces in Syria, a former Syrian air force colonel named Riad Mousa al-Asaad, has called out desperately for the world to help.
In a nutshell, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei is celebrating and Assad is raising his glass, but the world media prefers to focus on yet another anti-Semitic boycott of Israeli settlement products. Without a doubt that is the real burning issue.
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