Government Gone Mad
Today I turn to the sad topic of the civil war in Syria. I know the latest incident is being broadcast all over the news networks. CNN and others (Washington Post, NY Times) have reported that the Syrian government shelled and killed more than 1,300 people using chemical weapons in some instances. The reports have stated that there is no direct evidence as to the use of chemical weapons in the attacks but video footage provided by rebel forces is emotionally wrenching and compelling. The Syrian government has denied the use of chemical weapons.
When I heard this news report this morning, I was at a loss for words. My reaction was neutral at first because well, because it seems like these kinds of reports are becoming common when it comes to the Middle East. After hearing more and more about these reports, I started to ask myself the question, what kind of government does that to its own people, especially if they’re trying to regain popular support?? Has the Government Gone Mad? Doesn’t an attack like this play right into the hands of the opposition? If the Syrian government wants to portray the factious opposition groups as the real enemies of peace and stability in Syria, how is their argument aided by such a blatant human rights violation as the use of chemical weapons on unarmed civilians?! If true, does this uncover the true face of the Syrian government and its leaders? I think it would, sadly.
But what if this isn’t the case? What if no chemical weapons were used and the whole thing were staged for the world? After all, information is still being gathered, the United Nations has no teams on site and most of the reporting is coming from anti-regime activist groups (as reported by CNN). What would the benefit be if such a dramatic event were staged by the groups opposed to the Syrian government? Increased aid perhaps, more weapons and sympathy for starters. What’s the downside for such a gambit? Opposition groups would lose credibility, future aid, and the Syrian government would gain support and no longer be viewed as a Government Gone Mad.
The only winner here would be the rebels if this report turns out to be true.
So why am I really blogging about this? I just think it’s so very sad. I think that it’s horrifying that a national government would rather shell and bomb its own people with chemical weapons than sit down with them to discuss possible solutions. I also think that it’s disheartening that those in Syria who oppose the government of Bashar al-Assad would rather inflict great emotional trauma on the country by staging something so horrifying than seeking redress through whatever legal channels are available.
Ok, I just slapped myself. That last paragraph made no sense what so ever (smile). The Syrian government’s opposition is out gunned in nearly every way and there are no legal channels for redress. What tools do they, the opposition groups, have at their disposal? It seems to me that it is very unlikely that Syrian opposition groups would stage such an attack. Without any on-the-ground evidence, it just seems illogical that the chemical attack would be staged. Maybe the number killed is inaccurate but it is more likely that chemical weapons were involved.
So in my final analysis, it seems more likely that a government struggling to hold on to power by whatever means necessary would launch a chemical attack against its own citizens. I agree, it makes no sense at all but given the history of the Bashar government I believe it more than plausible that such an attack scenario took place. And, if true I am disquieted by what this conveys about that man and those in power with him. In these last days, and with respect to that area of the world, one might want to dust off the book of Revelations and revisit its pages for a little perspective. I get chills just thinking about it.