Syria: Another Day, Another Massacre

(Washington Post) Jackson Diehl - Reports are coming in of yet another episode in which Syrian security forces have opened fire on a crowd of peaceful protestors. Which raises the question: What will it take to move Western democracies to respond to the serial slaughters of civilians by the regime of Bashar al-Assad? Mass shootings of civilians by security forces are becoming a near daily event in Syria. In the southern town of Daraa, where the protest movement began last month, there have been multiple massacres, including one on April 8 in which gunmen opened up on a crowd marching with olive branches, killing 27. There have been similar episodes in the city of Banias and in several nearby villages. And these are just the ones that human rights groups have been able to document. All together, considerably more than 200 people have been killed by the regime. In nearly every instance where state-sponsored murder on this scale has taken place in recent years, the U.S. and other democracies have reacted strongly. Uzbekistan's massacre of protestors in the city of Andijon in 2005 led to a rupture of relations with Washington and the EU. And NATO has intervened in Libya to protect civilians from Gaddafi. Yet the response to Assad's bloodshed has been limited to rhetoric. The U.S. has refrained from taking even diplomatic measures to express its dissatisfaction, such as withdrawing the U.S. ambassador in Damascus. It has failed to bring Syria's case before the UN Human Rights Council - not to speak of the UN Security Council.

2011-04-20 00:00:00

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