by Dr. Mordechai Kedar
Bashar al-Assad is accused of burning bodies in a crematorium. The only new thing in this report is the disclosure that there is a crematorium operating in the Arab world. Up to now, we always thought that crematoria were peculiar to Europe, to be found in Auschwitz, Treblinka, Chelmno, Sobibor and the other death factories built by the efficient, refined and oh-so professional Nazis. Here in the Middle East, we thought, they murder in ordinary ways,shooting, slaughtering, beheading, hanging, strangling, drowning or throwing off roofs. But a crematorium? That's a new one.
The title of this article is taken from the translation of the poem "In the City of Slaughter" written after the 1903 Kishinev pogrom by Israel's national poet, Chaim Nachman Bialik.
In actual fact, a crematorium is not an instrument of murder. The unfortunates burned in a crematorium have already been murdered, probably by hanging,at least according to the reports leaked from Saydnaya Prison, known in today's Syria as "The Slaughterhouse." Burning the bodies is not meant to murder the victims, but to destroy the evidence of their murder. Turning bodies into ashes is an attempt to cover up the crime, wipe off the fingerprints, erase the marks of torture, and close the investigative file - because there are no bodies.
A crematorium is meant to eliminate the possibility of a grave for the dead person, to ensure that his name will not be engraved on a tombstone, to strangle the required questions about who killed him, where, how and most importantly - why he was killed. A crematorium is meant to allow its operator to be accepted internationally as a legitimate leader, a politician who survived and an equal among those who are "more equal than others," because there are no proofs extant of the Satanic evils for which he is responsible. They have gone up in smoke.
A crematorium can only be operated in a system that silences opinions, where only a select group makes the decisions and a small group of engineers executes them, while the day-to-day running of the system is in the hands of the victims themselves up until the day it is their turn to be eliminated and enter the evidence-destroying assembly line. This ensures that they will not leak information on what they have done and on what has been done to them by others who will themselves be eliminated the same way.
The silence is not only present in the operating system, it also surrounds the decision makers. Does Hezbollah, which makes up the main infantry units fighting for Assad in Syria now, not know what is happening in Saydnaya? Is it possible that the Iranians have no clue as to what Assad is doing there? And let's face it - does anyone believe that the Russians, Assad's lifeline, do not know what is going on in that horrific place?
How many intelligence agencies knew about this crematorium? The Americans? British? French? Germans? Israelis? And if we accept the fact that some of them knew, why did they keep it a secret until now? Who are they afraid of? Putin? Or is it the knowledge that history has placed in their hands that made them - as if bitten by a viper - turn to stone? Did they not believe it? That question brings back memories.
It must be recalled that this is nothing new in Syria. Mass murders occur there every so often, as they do when a closed ethnic group whose rule is illegitimate and rejected as heretic is brought to power by colonialists who just happened to be French in this case. In order for their regime to survive, they slaughter their citizens every once in a while. This is what took place from 1976 to 1982, when Hafez el-Assad's forces and the Muslim Brotherhood rebels slaughtered each other. In mid-June of 1979, the Brotherhood butchered the Alawite regime's soldiers - after carrying out a "selection" in which they took the Muslims out of the firing line - at the Artillery College in Aleppo and the regime slaughtered them en masse during the six years of the rebellion, most notably in the 1982 Hama massacre.
For two years, during 1980 and 1981, buses filled with people would arrive at Tadmor Prison, located out in the desert , but the prison was somehow never full. The passengers were murdered and buried in mass graves located near the prison and close to 20,000 people simply disappeared without a trace during that period. They left behind women who do not know if they are widows or not, parents who do not know if they are bereaved, children who do not know whether they are orphans. That did not prevent Assad the father from preening around the world like a veritable peacock, while leaders begged him to be kind enough to make peace with Israel. He never paid a personal or political price for the six years during which he murdered 50,000 of his own citizens.
But his son, a chip off the old block, has surpassed the father tenfold. His little finger is thicker than his father's waist, as they say in the Middle East - he has already reached the half million mark and has no intention of stopping there. HIs father buried the bodies of the opposition in the desert, but he burns them in a crematorium after torturing them to death and hanging them in his prisons. He has murdered their friends with nerve gas, smothered them with chlorine, brought their houses down upon them with explosives, bombed their residential neighborhoods with artillery, destroyed entire cities filled with people, and sent ten million of them, half the population, into exile and refugeehood, both within Syria and outside it.
And, of course, the world condemns, accuses, and babbles on, with no one doing anything serious to stop him. Obama threatened him with a red line that turned pink, then white, and finally transparent, while Trump attacked an airport one night. That's it. The world doesn't know, doesn't want to know and perhaps cannot do more than it already has to the mass murderer who hides behind the Russian bear's broad back, a back that vetoes any attempt to condemn, let alone act, against that mass murderer.
What political or personal price has Putin paid for supporting Assad? What has happened to Hezbollah as a result of the mass murders it carries out in Syria? What price has Iran paid for sending fighters to Syria, despite the fact that the United Nations has forbidden Iran from all forms of military export? And when these Assad-supporters regard Syrian citizens as easy prey and pay no price whatsoever for doing so, who is the real guilty party here? Are they the only ones? Or perhaps the guilty include all those who could have done something in addition to empty talk, but did nothing, like Obama, the USA, Europe, Israel and the rest of the world.
Every decision-maker in this world is responsible in some measure for what is happening in Syria, and for the crematorium as well. The ugly faces of the world's cynical and self-aggrandizing leaders are broadcast to us on the media all the time, but from now on we will regard them as those who knew - even if only after the fact - and did nothing to send the bloody Assad regime to hell, where it belongs.
Written for Arutz Sheva, translated by Rochel Sylvetsky, Senior English site consultant, Op-Ed and Judaism editor..
Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior lecturer in the Department of Arabic at Bar-Ilan University. He served in IDF Military Intelligence for 25 years, specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. Thoroughly familiar with Arab media in real time, he is frequently interviewed on the various news programs in Israel.
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