Horrifying images of bodies and limbs floating in the Orontes River in Hama were aired by Syrian state television early Thursday, Aug. 4. Contrary to official claims that they belonged to Syrian soldiers torn to pieces by protesters, debkafile reports they are the victims of Syrian tank fire and ZU-23 automatic anti-aircraft artillery trained on residential buildings and streets in the last 48 hours as the dead pile up in the streets. Citizens cowering in their homes are throwing the dead out of windows and off roofs into the river.Well, he can safely ignore Barack Obama's opinion, that seems certain. Mr. Obama appears to be too busy defending the Libyan people from Qaddafi's genocidal urges to worry about a few thousand Syrians being slaughtered by Mr. Assad.
They are reliving the terrors of the massacre President Bashar Assad's father inflicted on this city of half-a-million in 1982 which left 30,000 dead. The Syrian ruler decided to take advantage of three events for unleashing an all-out assault against rebellious Hama:
1. World attention was riveted on the deposed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's trial which opened in Cairo Wednesday.
2. The crisis between Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and the army after the entire top command resigned in a body has immobilized Turkey.
3. The UN Security Council convening Wednesday night routinely condemned the killing of civilians in Syria and human rights abuses but stopped at approving sanctions or any concrete penalties for the delinquent Assad regime.
The Syrian ruler has therefore concluded he can safely ignore international opinion. In the face of US and Western indifference, he can continue to mercilessly slaughter his people without fear of the sort of intervention they undertook in Libya or UN sanctions.
No one thinks we should intervene militarily in Syria (although the reasons given by Mr. Obama for doing so in Libya certainly apply a hundred-fold to Syria), but why is there no interest in pressing for sanctions against this regime? Why is our administration not every day condemning the atrocities Assad is committing against defenseless civilians in the same city in which his father once slaughtered 30,000 people? Why are we daily spending millions of dollars bombing Libyan soldiers, but all we can muster against Syria are meaningless pronouncements in the U.N.? Is it because Libya has oil and Syria doesn't? Where is President Obama?