“My enemy targeted my enemy, and no, I shall not condemn it.” Noor Barotchi on the alleged Baniyas massacre and the Israeli strikes in Syria.
I wait for a headline – international condemnation – anything. It doesn’t come. A genocide is being committed – arguably the worst massacre in modern history – against innocent people in Baniyas and the world doesn’t even care or know.
Women are being raped systematically. Babies are being burnt alive. Children are having their throats ripped out. It’s an echo of previous massacres of the like committed by Assad’s shameless shabeeha [paid militia], such as Houla, Helfaya and Darayya (to name just a few), except that this time it’s on a much greater scale. Activists on the ground have documented around 2000 murdered, and the numbers are stil growing. Not to forget that over 2000 civilians have gone missing from these areas, and the great likelihood is that they have suffered the same fate as their summarily executed brethren.
To give a little background on Banyas, where widespread massacres started a few days ago: it’s a coastal city in Western Syria that has a Sunni population and that is surrounded by Alawite villages. There were no rebel fighters in this region. Civilians are being ethnically cleansed for the sole crime of their religion.
My outcries against these atrocities – and the world’s apathy – are soon silenced by something which does indeed catch the attention of the media and the world only a couple of days later: Israel’s shelling of Syria.
To start with, it doesn’t make sense to me. Why is Israel, of all countries, attacking Assad’s weapons? It’s common knowledge that it’s within Israel’s interests that Bashar al-Assad remains in power. He and his late father before him haven’t dared to lay a finger towards Israel since the 1973 war over the Golan heights, which was practically handed to Israel by defence chief Hafez in the first place. Bashar al-Assad has always made sure that the border between Syria and Israel has been extremely secure, so much so that Israel always deployed the fewest number of IDF soldiers at its Syrian border. In fact, it was only after a region of the border was liberated by the Free Syrian Army that Netenyahu declared that he wanted to build a “security fence” on the border with Syria.
But then I see that it’s quite convenient, really. What a perfect way to mask all the massacres being committed! All the attention has been favourably focused on Israel’s shelling of Syria. As for the oh-so-courageous Bashar al-Assad, whose valiance only extends to massacring innocent children? Yes, he’s successfully managed to not retaliate to Israel – as expected, once again – and instead continues to direct the weapons that he claimed were for “resistance” against his own people.
I want to clarify something, in case there was ever any confusion. Israel attacked weapons inside Syria. No civilians were targeted or killed. Therefore, I find it extremely hypocritical when someone chooses to condemn Israel’s shelling of weapons in Syria that would have otherwise been used to annihilate innocent civilians, at the same time ignoring the fact that Assad has been destroying his country with all kinds of heavy artillery and weaponry for over two years, deliberately targeting and massacring his own people. My enemy targeted my enemy, and no, I shall not condemn it.
It would be extremely controversial for me to say that I’m glad that Israel shelled Syria, but that’s not exactly what I am saying. I know that Israel only shelled Syria for its own interests – either because it foresaw Assad’s impending fall and didn’t want the weapons getting into the hands of a government that wouldn’t be as lenient with Israel as Assad has, or because it didn’t want Hezbollah getting their hands on the weapons. I’m not crediting Israel with anything. It only cares about its own welfare; that is more than obvious. But what I am bothered by is people condemning the act.
I wasn’t surprised to hear that the Syrian government, Iran and Lebanon had condemned Israel’s strikes in Syria, given their allegiance to one another. But Egypt’s president, Mohammed Morsi, also condemned it, and this really infuriated me. Where is his condemnation of Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria, who are currently killing innocent people in Qusayr, amongst many other places? Where is his condemnation of Iran, which has sent 65,000 members of its Iranian Revolutionary Guard to help squash the Syrian uprising? Instead of condemning Iran, Morsi actually opened up an Iranian embassy in Cairo, which, by the way, even Mubarak didn’t do. What a great way to show solidarity with the Syrians.
As for Obama, who unsurprisingly commented on the most recent attacks that Israel “has a right to defend itself from terrorist organisations such as Hezbollah” – can he at least extend this courtesy to the Syrian people as well? Or are we not a people worthy of the luxury of self-defence?
I have never been so uncertain about the future of Syria, but I feel that all these massacres signal the regime’s last desperate attempts to create destruction before it finally falls. I feel that Israel sensed this too, and shelled the weapons to make sure they didn’t get into ‘wrong hands’. As for those who are criticising Israel, go condemn the true atrocities happening in Syria before you want to pretend like you care about the Syrian people, who have been suffering in the most heinous ways under a terrible dictator for over two years.
This article was originally published here.
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