Monday, April 25, 2011

Syria: Crackdown Begins; West Does Nothing

This article is published on PajamasMedia. It is provided here for your convenience.

By Barry Rubin

As I predicted yesterday, the Syrian government has now started a full-scale violent crackdown against oppositionists beginning in the south, the most active area for protests. Dozens of people are being killed or wounded. Where are the Western governments and mass media who are ready to criticize Israel at the drop of a hat and are mainly stuck in the theme of, "Please, Mr. Dictator, be a reformer!"

This should go down in history alongside the indifference to the Warsaw uprising of 1944, the Hungarian revolt of 1956, and the indifference to Iran's repression in 2009 as a shameful Western failure. Ironically, this comes at the very moment of supposed obsession with protecting civilians and a confused war in Libya which--whether or not it is the right thing to do--is far less important in both humanitarian and national interest terms.

About three years ago, a brave Syrian dissident asked me if there was hope for democracy in Syria in his lifetime. When I hesitated to answer, he said, "Perhaps in my children's lifetime." Little did I dream that the West's refusal to help would be as responsible for the long wait as the regime's demagoguery and repression. Shame on President Obama who for the second time--Iran being the first--has only empty words at a time when one of the world's most repressive states, enemy of America, and sponsor of terrorism could be brought down.

In recent weeks, the Western countries have said that Mubarak must go, that Qadhafi must go. But not a single one has said what should be shouted out right now: Assad must go!

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