September 16, 2019

War Crimes charges needed for Iran’s involvement with Syria slaughter

Late last week after nearly three months of the Syrian regime slaughtering its innocent civilian population for protesting for new freedoms, The International Criminal Court, based in The Hague finally announced its decision to bring charges of war crimes against members of the current Syria government led by Bashar al-Assad.  While leaders in the Arab world and the West are praising the actions of the International Court regarding Syria, many journalists familiar with the region are wondering why the International Court has not brought similar war crimes charges against leaders of the Iranian regime and its Revolutionary Guard for their role in the recent Syrian slaughter of innocents? In the last month the Western news media has briefly mentioned the hi-tech intelligence, military personnel and financial support Iran’s government has lent Assad during the past several months. Recent news reports have also confirmed that Iran has sent special military sniper teams to Syria to kill individual protest leaders marching in the streets of Syria during the holy month of Ramadan.

No doubt Iran’s involvement in the bolstering of Assad’s regime and its ability to hold onto power by killing Syrian civilians is grounds enough for the International Court to hold the Iranian government leaders criminally accountable. Yet we see and hear nothing from the International Court regarding Iran’s own war crimes and sponsorship of terrorism in the region. I am frankly not surprised. Back in 2009 when the Iranian regime’s thugs killed and imprisoned thousands of innocent protestors within Iran who were marching against the fraudulent elections, the International Court said nothing about the regime. Again last month when the International Court charged members of the Iranian-backed terrorist group, Hezbollah, with the crime of killing Lebanon’s late President Rafik Hariri, the court failed to implicate Iranian leaders who directed and funded Hariri’s killing from Tehran.  Again and again it is disheartening to see the international community fail to hold Iran’s current regime and its depraved leadership accountable for their criminal actions.

What is particularly disappointing to see is the lack of foreign policy leadership from the Obama administration regarding the current situation in Syria and Iran’s involvement in the suppression of individual freedoms in Syria. From the beginning of his term in office President Obama naively believed he could sway Assad to the West and negotiate a “peace with Israel” by diplomatically engaging Assad’s regime in Syria. The Obama administration failed miserably in their policy regarding Syria, by not only sending a U.S. ambassador to Syria but also called Syria’s Assad a “reformer”. One is left wondering why on earth Obama would reward a dictator in the Middle East who has forged strong alliances with Iran and done everything to undermine peace in the Middle East. Today we see the results of the U.S. administration’s failure regarding Syria when the Syrian people and the Arab world having been demanding Assad’s removal for slaughtering innocent protestors in Syria. For the past three months the Obama administration has remained silent and failed to call for Assad’s removal. (It was not until a few days ago when Obama issued a statement calling for Assad’s removal). Instead of moving quickly to diplomatically and economically isolate Assad’s regime, Obama has been slow to move against the Syrian dictator. As a result, Assad was granted valuable time with Iran quickly moving to bolster its Arab ally with intelligence gathering, protest-hardened manpower as well as materiel to quell demonstrations and badly needed financial aid— therefore possibly saving the day for Assad. The Obama administration has more importantly failed to realize the simple notion that Iran can and will do anything to support Assad’s regime and its terror proxy, Hezbollah in order to expand its influence and power in that portion of the Middle East. The Iranian mullahs know very well that without Assad in power in Syria, they will loose their foothold in the area and have difficulty directly funneling money and armaments to Hezbollah. While political analysts and pundits may argue that Assad’s removal may usher in a more radical Islamic regime in Syria, its seems more likely that the people of Syria, if allowed, would choose a government that would not be as friendly to Iran after seeing the horrid support the Iranian government has shown for Assad. Likewise Hezbollah would no doubt be tremendously weakened with its only lifeline from Iran being choked off by a new regime in Syria opposed to Iranian hegemony in Syria and Lebanon.

Lastly, what continues to surprise me is the hypocrisy of the Iranian government leaders who support the “Arab Spring” in countries like Egypt, Tunisia and Bahrain— but at the same time they oppose the same calls for freedom within Iran itself and other Arab nations such as Syria where Iran wishes to continue its influence and reign of terror! In the end the U.S., Europe and the International Criminal Court need to also hold Iran’s current government leadership criminally liable for their involvement in the war crimes in Syria. Failure to hold all parties, including Iran who is involved with the Syrian slaughter accountable for war crimes not only makes a mockery of international laws, but reinforces the belief among ruthless dictators worldwide that they can get away with whatever they wish.