Syrian “rebels” have allegedly carried out another massacre of civilians, all in the name of “freeing” civilians from the yoke of “evil dictator” Bashar al-Assad. The Al-Alam News Network reported that mercenaries from the al-Nusra Front – a ruthless group believed to have ties to the CIA and Turkish intelligence – murdered 120 Kurdish children and 330 men and women in the town of Tal Abyad located in a district of northern Syria.
It is the latest in a string of atrocities carried out by groups opposing the Syrian government, which include dozens of civilian massacres, beheadings (including an incident in which opposition forces cheered on as a 14 year old boy beheaded a Syrian soldier) and a gruesome incident with a rebel cutting out and eating a soldier’s heart (who was kind enough to grant the BBC an interview).
That these violent mercenaries and extremists are backed by the West should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed events in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya (indeed, many of the mercenaries currently carrying out atrocities in Syria were involved in the proxy war to overthrow Colonel Gaddafi). The British government are currently weighing up the efficacy of arming the rebels, with mixed signals emerging from Parliament over whether or not weapons should be send to the conflict zone. Prime Minister David Cameron suggested he had ruled out such a possibility, but foreign secretary William Hague – “arch-warmonger” of the Conservatives – indicated clearly that arming the rebels is still very much an option. Such debates seem more concerned with the legal and diplomatic ramifications than they are with the disastrous moral/humanitarian consequences – the Iraq War demonstrated clearly the penchant for slaughter held by the vast majority of British politicians.
The US government is considerably more brazen. Having invaded Afghanistan on the pretext of eliminating al-Qaeda, 12 years on the very same terrorist groups have been receiving US military contracts. American officials are citing “due process rights” as a reason not to cancel the agreements, a statement of galling irony in light of the hundreds of detainees held at Guantanamo Bay held without any consideration for their rights, many of whom were rounded up in the early years of the Afghanistan War for the cash bounties offered by the US.
Following a ‘secret order’ in 2012, the Obama administration and the CIA have been arming the Syrian militants, including anti-tank weapons and Stinger missiles. Intelligence insiders have recently revealed that the Benghazi attack, in which the US ambassador and others were murdered by jihadists, was in fact a staged event conducted by the State Department for the transfer of arms to al-Qaeda in Syria. It is yet another instance of US covert gun-running which echoes the ‘Fast and Furious’ scandal, in which the US government shipped thousands of weapons across the Mexican border and into the hands of drug cartels.
All of which makes the recent Middle East terror alerts absurd, to say the least. Coming soon after the Edward Snowden revelations regarding the NSA’s surveillance program and the public backlash against spying on such an unprecedented scope, it’s not hard to see why many view this alleged terror threat as a political stunt to vindicate the government’s snooping. And as embassies across the “Muslim world” shut down, the mainstream media is once again repeating the “terrorism” mantra in wall to wall coverage designed to ratchet up the tension and fear.
But perhaps far more troubling is the recent involvement of Israel, who entered the conflict with a bang when they bombed the Qassioun Mountain Research Site back in May. In alliance with Turkey, Israeli attacks on Syria have been met with hollow denials and a mute response from the mainstream media. But the most recent attacks in Homs and Qasyoon earlier this month should give any sane person cause for concern.
The size of the explosions were initially attributed to the ammunition dump which had been targeted. But a recent report from Channel 4’s Jon Snow has suggested another disturbing possibility: Israel is using nuclear weapons. Greg Thielmann, an expert on arms control policy, told Snow: “The fact of the matter is, what we are seeing in both these cases is a tactical nuclear strike, probably by cruise missiles launched from aircrafts near the borders of Syria or right off the coast in the Mediterranean.”
Horrific as this may sound, Snow went on to describe this as “a remarkably delicious possibility of removing the tyrant Assad using all tools available,” advocating the use of nuclear and chemical weapons in the name of human rights and freedom in the world. To Snow, the prospect is simply “awfully ironic” rather than plain and simple “awful”. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Snow’s piece has since been pulled from Channel 4’s blog pages (but can be found here.)
It is clear that the world currently faces the slippery slope to nuclear war and that further escalation of violence in Syria may well develop into a proxy war between the US and Russia or something much worse. As we commemorate the use of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki the threat of nuclear war looms over the planet. Perhaps now more than ever men of violence need to be opposed by men of peace.
Andrew Dilks is the author of Goliath.