Tuesday, 17 September 2013 16:09 GFP Columnist - Dr. Haytham Khoury
On Political and Military Targets - Since the first day of the uprising, the regime has been killing people on a daily basis with mounting brutality and increasing number of casualties. Certainly, It would not be able to do so, if was held accountable and punished for its actions.

On the first day of the uprising, March 18, 2013, the regime killed two people. These were among who came that day to the security service office to claim the release of members of their families, teen-aged kids (from 10 to 13-year old boys) detained and their nails pulled out for writing graffiti against the regime.

Because it symbolizes the ruthlessness of the Syrian secret service, the above-mentioned incident triggered countrywide demonstrations claiming freedom and dignity. The regime response was denying the rightful demands of the people and firing on peaceful demonstrators with live ammunitions, killing 20-40 persons every day.

Ultimately, after many months of peaceful demonstration, the regime’s barbarism pushed the Syrian revolution toward militarization. This militarization was well-planned by the regime itself.  Indeed, the regime does not know how to deal with peaceful civil disobedience; civil protest requires from the government the art of listening, understanding and negotiating; undoubtedly, the Syrian authority lacks those skills. On the other hand, it masters the art of violence and force, thus it thinks it has the upper hand in the latter arenas. Indeed, the regime is wrong. Definitely, the Syrian people was determined this time to do not submit to any oppression. The young Syrians have continued to demonstrate despite the regime’s various vicious crimes against humanity, including unlawful detention, inhumane treatment, torture, rape and extermination.

With time, the regime’s savageness has increased and escalated gradually from using snipers and hand grenades to using heavy arms, including artilleries, tanks, helicopters, jet fighters and ground-to-ground missiles (even Skud missiles). The regime has used these weapons not only against rebels, but also against civilians known to oppose its tyrannical methods. This resulted in the destruction of large residential areas; for example, more than sixty percent of the neighborhoods of the 3rd largest city in Syria, Homs, are destroyed. Furthermore, this destruction of residential areas resulted in the displacement of scores of Syrians, 2 million outside Syria and 6 million inside the country. Thus, the regime has committed despicable war crime with no deterrence or punishment.

Indeed, the regime has not been able to escalate its violence without the Iranian arm supply, the Russian political protection and the West’s near complete silence. Indeed, the West’s silence was like a license to kill. Finally, the regime has carried out its most grievous and despicable crime by using weapons of mass destruction, chemical weapons, killing roughly 1400 persons, most of them are women and children, in one single night. It was really genocide. Could the West remain silent anymore? The answer is “no”. Letting the regime go away with its crimes without punishment means a permission to step up its savagery. It is also a signal to other rogue country that they can use despicable weapons with impunity. Thus, the real question is not whether the Syrian regime should be punished or not.  The real question is “what kind of punishment should the Syrian authority endures?”

After decades of suffering and tribulations the Syrian people has reached the conclusion that the only language that the regime understands is force. The regime is elusive to all diplomatic efforts, political pressures or economic sanctions. Physical force is the sole means that can thwart regime’s bloodthirstiness and stop it from committing more atrocities. I hope that the people in the West understand this reality.

Certainly, I am not advocating a blind use of power against the regime. Vindication is not my goal, but my objective is to dissuade it from killing more Syrians and destroying further the country. The question now is “What is the best way to halt the regime’s atrocity?” Indeed, to answer the latter question, many lessons can be learned from the past.

Let me start by the experience in Iraq. Iraq is completely different from Syria. The Syrians are not asking the US to put troops on the ground. They are not asking the Americans to take Assad off. Thus, the Americans risk no casualties, if they intervene in Syria. They are not seeking the De-Ba'athification of the Syrian state or the dissolution of the Syrian Army. Therefore, there is no risk of disintegrating the Syrian state more than it is now or it could be if they do not intervene. All what Syrians are asking for is to dissuade their tyrannical regime from using heavy armaments or chemical weapons and preventing it from committing more murders. As to the price of the war, I would like to remind the readers that the rebuilding Europe after World War II was the most profitable investment that the US has made.

I believe airstrikes similar to those took place in Yugoslavia in 1999 are a good strategy for refraining the Syrian authority from committing more atrocities. Since that Americans started to consider carrying out an attack against the Syrian regime, the regime has become scared and perplexed. Many Syrian official’s families have fled the country ahead of the apprehended US strike. I am confident that, with the first strikes, large proportion of the Syrian army will leave their posts to save their lives. They will dissipate mingling among the population or even defecting to the rebel’s side.

However, more caution and prudence should be exerted in Syria than that carried out in Yugoslavia. During the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999, roughly 500 civilians were killed in 90 separate incidents. Furthermore, Many economic and society targets, such as bridges, official government facilities, factories, and railroads were bombed.

In Syria, we do not want any airstrikes that could potentially hurt even one single Syrian civilian. The Syrians have lost many innocent lives until now; they are unable to suffer more losses. The current civil war in Syria has destroyed much of the Syrian infrastructure. We do not want the American bombs to damage bridges, railways or government facility. We need any possible American strikes to be highly selective. They should target only military facilities that are far from residential areas, precisely military airports and missile units. Indeed, the regime is currently using these weapons to inflict the most causalities among civilians and to destroy the living of normal Syrians.

Image Courtesy of english.al-akhbar.com.

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