by Zafar Bangash (Editorials, Crescent International Vol. 42, No. 5, Sha'ban, 1434)
With the takfiri mercenaries suffering repeated military defeats in recent weeks (they never had any mass support), they and their foreign sponsors have resorted to the most vicious form of sectarian hatred in Syria.
With rebel forces on the run in the 27-month long proxy war in Syria, their foreign sponsors have panicked. Led by the US and aided and abetted by Britain, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Turkey, the so-called Friends of Syria met in Doha, Qatar on June 22 and pledged more weapons to the rebels. While US Secretary of State John Kerry said they still preferred a political solution to the conflict, their decision to supply more lethal weapons would hardly advance the cause of peace. American officials, however, have always spoken from both sides of their mouth and it is no different in the case of Syria. Only a few weeks earlier, Kerry had urged Russia to convene another conference in Geneva to work out a negotiated settlement to the Syrian conflict. What happens to Geneva-II after Doha?
American and British commandos have been training Syrian rebels in Jordan where large stockpiles of weapons are stored for possible use against the Syrian army. Under the guise of conducting military exercises, the real purpose was, and has been for quite some time to train the mercenaries so that they are better able to fight. In recent weeks, the Syrian army has made major gains especially in the strategic town of al-Qusayr with the help of Hizbullah fighters. Located near the Lebanese border, the town has great strategic importance since most of the weapons and mercenaries from Lebanon transited through al-Qusayr. After two weeks of intense fighting, the rebels fled. They had occupied the town for nearly two years destroying it completely. The Syrian army is now closing in on Aleppo to flush the mercenaries from there. The foreign sponsors of the mercenaries see their plans for turning Syria into an imperialist-Zionist outpost unraveling, hence the hurried meeting in Doha.
Nothing demoralizes fighters more than successive defeats. Since they do not enjoy the support of the overwhelming majority of the Syrian people — this was evident from the first day the mayhem was unleashed in March 2011 in a non-descript town like Dar‘a rather than any major city — they are now resorting to more brutal tactics. These are signs of desperation. If people do not join them, their policy is to torture and kill them.
Car-bombings, killing leading religious figures like the 84-year-old Shaykh Sa‘id al-Buti in the masjid together with scores of worshippers as well as publicly beheading supporters of President Bashar al-Asad, are standard rebel tactics. They have now turned to cannibalism. By ripping open the body of a dead Syrian soldier and chewing his organs, Abu Sakkar, a well-known rebel commander has shown the rebels’ true face. The video was aired on a rebel website with vows to continue. Such barbarism was witnessed in the Battle of Uhud when Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyan ripped open the body of Hamzah (ra) and chewed his liver in a fit of rage. Muslims then and Muslims now condemn such acts of barbarism and the desecration of dead bodies. Such acts have nothing to do with Islam or its values; this is a return to the days of jahiliyah.
This is not the only act of sacrilege perpetrated by the rebels. They slit the throats of children of their opponents and even descecrated the grave of Hujr ibn ‘Adi (ra), a well-known companion of the Prophet (pbuh) who was killed by the Umayyad king, Mu‘awiyah. According to reports, Hujr’s (ra) body was still intact after nearly 1,400 years. He was executed on the orders of Mu‘awiyah because he (Hujr) had objected to the vilification of Imam Ali (a) and Ahl al-Bayt from the minbar. This was a policy instituted by Mu‘awiyah because of his hatred of the family of the noble Messenger (pbuh). Muslims that go berserk and believe it is justifiable to kill fellow Muslims because they criticize some of the Sahabah, have been silent about this sacrilege against the grave and body of a well-known Sahabi. Is it alright to indulge in such behavior if it is perpetrated by people they support?
The ongoing mayhem in Syria has exposed a number of players and their true character. First, those leading the so-called Syrian National Council (SNC) have little or no support inside Syria. Most of them reside abroad in five-star hotels or palaces provided by the corrupt Arabian rulers. The regimes supporting rebel fighters who have flooded in from neighboring as well as distant countries, are unrepresentative and tribal dictatorships: Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan. Those calling themselves republican — Turkey, Egypt, etc. — are subservient to the US. The latest addition is President Mohamed Mursi of Egypt. He has disappointed many people both inside Egypt as well as outside by the manner in which he has surrendered to the most oppressive monarchies and to imperialist-Zionist interests. The same goes for Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan. He is already facing a blowback; Mursi will not escape that fate either.
While we do not hold any brief for Bashar al-Asad and fully support the right of the Syrian people to have their own representative government, the issue in Syria has gone beyond that. It is an imperialist-Zionist project whose principal aim is to undermine the resistance front against Zionist aggression and occupation, and ultimately push for regime change in Iran. From their affiliations and statements, members of the SNC have exposed themselves as US-Zionist puppets. Those calling for US/NATO intervention should ponder over the plight of Afghanistan, Iraq and especially Libya. Since when has the US or Zionist Israel been friends of the Muslims?
What is underway is no longer about the rights of the Syrian people. If the SNC thinks it has mass support in the country, it should participate in next year’s presidential elections and prove it. Destroying Syria to turn it into an imperialist-Zionist outpost will serve the interests of neither the Syrian people, nor of the SNC. Syria is being turned into a hellhole from which only the Israelis will benefit.