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Posts Tagged Aleppo

Arab Leaders and Aleppo- Insanity Overtakes Humanity By Mahboob Khawaja, PhD.

 Aleppo

 
 
[Photo: A general view showing damages after what activists said was an airstrike with explosive barrels from forces loyal to President al-Assad in Al-Shaar area in Aleppo] 

December 142016

Arab Leaders and Aleppo- Insanity Overtakes Humanity

By Mahboob Khawaja, PhD.

Does Authoritarian Insanity have another Name?

Authoritarian leaders kill people just as butcher slaughters cattle. Casual allusion and changing power metaphors hardly distinguish between people and animals across the Arab world.  The cycle of the dreadful humanitarian crisis unfolding in Aleppo is baffling – as if global humanity and institutions do not exist for other than Americans and Europeans. All advancements of knowledge-based humanity, laws and preservation of life and human dignity and international institutions appear null and void. Our failure to grasp the compelling realities of authoritarian atrocities against the helpless civilians makes us feel we are standing at one of the darkest timelines of history.Is the surrender of Aleppo to powerful insanity inevitable?  Given the informed and resourceful 21st century global community, we were capable to avert the bombardment and to extend security and sense of humanity to the besieged population. Yet, the UNO Security Council and US-Russia kept on talking and talking about paper resolution, abstract dialogue and no concrete action to preserve human dignity and freedom. The abyss of horrors unfolding tells of the deliberate rapes of women and execution of the civilian population by the Assad forces as stated by the outgoing UN SG Ban-Ki Moon. The fallen Aleppo brings shame and disgrace to all the Arab leaders and the global humanity for being indifferent to the ever growing humanitarian crisis.  

Where are the Muslim scholars and intellectuals to claim sense of honesty about what is happening on the ground? If values of human life and wisdom were the signs of intelligence and responsibility, the situation warranted an urgent powerful intervention to safeguard the entrenched people of Aleppo. Witnessing the authoritarian cruelty, bombardment and the on-going cold blooded massacres of innocent civilians in Aleppo, the conscientious Arab masses wonder if there are any Arab leaders to offer sense of security to the people.  Shocking as it is to discover that there are no Arab leaders to protect the people in conflict situations. They are foreign agents of influence imposed on the helpless Arabian people.

The entrenched people kept on calling upon global humanity to come to rescue them but it was an illusion turned fantasy and nothing else. The global humanity, the UNO, America and humanitarian protection laws are just empty words devoid of life, morality and just written in school books with dry ink that means nothing to the suffering humanity in Aleppo.  Today, Shamy, a 15 year old girl from Aleppo sending SOS on Twitter as if there is a living global mankind listening to her in extreme adversity.  Abdullah, a 72 year old man carried his seventy year old wounded wife on a wooden cart and was waiting for medical help but shell fell and an Al-Jazeera reporter showed the clips how she died there in split second, but Abdullah kept on moving with the dead body in search of the unknown.

London-based Al-Jazeera moderator asked 15 year old school girl Aminah Abubaker, if she was safe and had enough food. She answered, “For two weeks we are hiding in the basement watching deaths and destruction and nowhere to go and no food and no shops around here. Is this catastrophic humanitarian crisis out of the nowhere? The inhuman political metaphor is sugarcoated by Syria’s enriched neighbors –  a treacherous cluster of petro-dollar economic prosperity to furbish modernism that prevails in palaces, not amongst the masses.

While Steffan de Mustara, Kerry and Larove pretend to be talking about a ceasefire and safe corridor to allow humanitarian aid and the civilians to depart from the bombardment in Aleppo, it was all a malicious stage drama to cover-up the political failure.    For five years, millions are forcibly displaced to become unwelcomed refugees in European continents, several millions killed and others waiting to be consumed by the insanity of the Assad regime and its military allies. Are these official honest and rational or do they think the global mankind is blind. The game is the same “do nothing” and talk loud. In a global age of knowledge and information, Arab leaders cannot pretend being ignorant and unaware of the catastrophic humanitarian crisis unfolding daily on the television screen. The alleged war crimes are just a scenario for the uncertain future, but reality warranted swift action to safeguard the human lives entrapped in the war zones, and honor of Muslims and their habitats across Aleppo, Idlib, Baghdad, Mosul and Yemen. None of the puppets had courage and will to challenge the deliberate pillage and insanity imposed by the Assad forces and the superpowers. Are there no Arab Generals and no Arab armies to help the believers?  If not, why do these leaders spent billions of dollars to acquire weapons from the US and Europeans? How could the rest of the Arab leaders differentiate between their role and what is being carried out by the Assad regime? Are they all sadistic criminals and violent robbers of peoples’ right, human dignity and future? Isn’t the same insane egoism and militarism that brought downfall of Saddam Hussein, Ghaddafi and many others in the region?

All Arab leaders must be held accountable for the crimes committed against the Syrian people. To uplift their own images, when overwhelming crimes against humanity are shown by the global news media, some affluent Arab leaders take asylum in the shadow of British dwindling leadership at a gathering in Bahrain and others sent foreign ministers to Paris to mourn their own wishful thinking for failure to oust the Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. Often Arab leaders say next to nothing to global audience. But one of the foreign ministers spoke of Islamic extremism emerging out of Aleppo if nothing was done.  The cynical minds know nothing about the realities on the ground. Who will do what to safeguard the besieged people of Aleppo for over several years, is not clear. It is the ruthless forces of Syrian Government and its military Allies Russia, Iran and Shiite army of Hezbollah that are fighting against the civilian population opposing the regime of Bashar Al-Assad. Ironically America, Britain and France had already destabilized the entire Arab region by continuous aerial bombardment and deaths and destruction to which the frontline Arab countries were an essential component. None of the Arab leaders had any imagination or capacity on how to deal with political problems and approach conflict management and security paradigm. It is always the Master – USA and Britain that dictate the oil exporting Arab states in their affairs. All of the secretive police apparatus are operated by the same egomaniac masters. It is unthinkable to imagine that Bashar Al-Assad  and his allies could ever escape the accountability by time and history.

Are the Arab Rulers Waiting to See the End Game?

Sigmund Freud (Civilization and its Discontent, 1930) noted that “the inclination to aggression is an original self-subsisting instinctual disposition in man, and that it constitutes the greatest impediment to civilization.”  The Arab Middle East is no exception.  In view of the unstoppable cycle of political killings and daily bloodbaths across Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and spill-over to other oil producing Arab nations – and reactionary militancy against the authoritarian rule and dismantling of the socio-economic infrastructures –  is the Arab world coming to its own end because of the sadistic dictators?  The Arab rulers and the masses live and breathe in conflicting time zones being unable to see the rationality of people-oriented governance. Perhaps, the worst is yet to come, surrender to foreign forces as there are no leaders to think of the future or the Arab armies to defend the people. Borrowed weapons and corrupt and failed rulers cannot extend moral or intellectual security to the masses. The question is how to decode treachery, greed, incompetence and dead conscience to tell the future generation – the real story of the Arab ruler’s aggressiveness and drudgery interjected and internalized in egoistic conscience to manage the governance.

Wars suck out positive human thinking and creative energies to articulate a sustainable future.How should humanity view contemporary Arab societies, their war-torn bloody cultures operated by foreign mercenaries and few authoritarian dictators?  What kind of message of civility, moral and intellectual values do they convey to the watchful eyes of the global community? What happened to their Islamic culture, values and glorious civilization? Was the petrodollar a conspiracy (“fitna”) to disconnect the Arab people from Islamic culture and civilization? Contemporary global affairs warrant intelligent and competent leadership not kings, not military dictators or dull princes occupying splendid palaces away from the people. Leaders manage the crisis when facts of life warrant change and adaptability to the future. Often crisis unity people of reason but not the Arab rulers.

The Syrian war will end as it cannot go for ever. Its ripple effects will haunt present and future generations. The people’s struggle could soon move to other neighboring Arab societies encouraging masses to rise against the authoritarian regimes for people-oriented Islamic governance. The super powers and Iran appear to be on the wrong side of time and history. If Iranian had Islamic consciousness and unity of the Ummah (nation) as its policy aim, it was immaterial whether Assad remains in power or not. Professing sectarian shiisim and taking sides with monsters of history and talking about Muslim unity make no sense by the Iranian speaker of the Majlis. They all breathe in self-geared illusions of wishful thinking. While the concerned mankind is shocked by the atrocities and horrors carried out by the Assad regime and Russians, ironically in West Aleppo others are celebrating the victory of insanity over the humanity. History speaks its own language that all those leaders and nations claiming to be most powerful on the planet were destroyed by their own designs and wicked strategies. Those dictators and political monsters that willfully brutalized the humanity should not go unchallenged for their crimes and accountability.

 

Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including: Global Peace and Conflict Management: Man and Humanity in Search of New Thinking. Lambert Publishing Germany, May 2012. His forthcoming book is entitled: One Humanity and The Remaking of Global Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution

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Opinion Piece Restoration of Writ in Aleppo – How Far is Peace for Syria? by Hamza Iftikhar, Research Associate, MUSLIM Institute

Opinion Piece 

Restoration of Writ in Aleppo – How Far is Peace for Syria? 

by Hamza Iftikhar Research Associate, MUSLIM Institute

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After weeks of deadly battles between the opposition groups and the pro-government forces, the Syrian army took control over all of Aleppo as the last group of evacuees left eastern Aleppo on Thursday. Sadly, though, this does not mean that the Syrian conflict is nearing to an end. The reality couldn’t be far from it. Nor will this ‘victory’ bring back the scores of innocent civilians killed or take away the suffering of those who have endured unimaginable hardships over the past six years in the form starvationbombings and lack of medical attention. Not to mention the tens of millions who had to leave their homes in order to save their lives and those who are living in besieged areas. Just two days ago, around 35,000 more people had to leave their homes in order to evacuate to safety while about 70,000 have fled on foot to government-controlled areas since mid-November. In the last month alone, around 460 civilians have been killed in Aleppo, whereas the United Nations Human Rights Office said that it had reliable evidence that up to 82 civilians were shot on the spot by pro-government forces. We have reached such a depressing stage in the Syrian conflict that even shocking reports like these are not “unexpected” anymore. It is as if the world has given up on Syria, or better put, given up on humanity. 

According to an estimate by the UN special envoy for Syria Mr. Staffan de Mistura, 400,000 people have been killed in Syria ever since the conflict began in 2011. This then begs the question: how many more need to die before there’s a clear “winner” in Syria? How many more need to die before we as humans feel the responsibility to do something? In response to the world’s outrage regarding the siege of eastern Aleppo, the UN Security Council passed a resolution allowing 20 observers to monitor the evacuations. Now that the people have finally evacuated the city after long and torturous weeks in sub-zero temperatures, does that mean the job is done? Following the developments in Syria for the past almost six years, it wouldn’t be wrong to predict that the conflict can potentially follow to the Idlib province, east of Aleppo, where a large number of civilians have evacuated to. According to the International Rescue Committee (IRC), Idlib already hosts about 230,000 displaced people in almost 250 camps. Thus, the necessity to find a solution to the crisis is now required more than ever. 

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There are many actors involved in the Syrian conflict, both domestic and international, non-state and state ones. When we look at the appalling and dreadful facts on the ground in Syria, it’s easy to play the blame game and point fingers at one or the other. We all have access to news and media covering this ferocious war, so instead of quoting here the exact figures and statistics regarding which group has killed more civilians, the point is that all have – and this is not acceptable. Blaming one group or the other for acting more ‘unjustly’ is not going to bring back all the 400,000, maybe even more, dead. It is not going to bring back the millions of displaced people to their homes safely. It is not going to lessen the suffering of the innocent civilians on the ground who have to live every day like it might be the last one. Whether it be the pro-Assad forces including the Syrian army and pro-government militias, supported by Iran and Russia, or the opposition forces including the Free Syrian Army, Jabhat Fatah Al-Sham or other rebel groups backed by the United States, Turkey, and the Arab Gulf States, everyone is to be blamed and they all are paying a price one way or the other. Hence, there are no “winners” in this conflict. We need to understand this and make our peace with it if we are to find a solution that will end the continued and prolonged bloodshed in Syria. 

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Although he may have won the battle for Aleppo and gained momentum in the war, but Bashar Al Assad is still far from controlling the majority of Syria. He still needs to deal with the opposition groups in the North East, South East, Kurdish YPG in the North, and last but not the least, the self-proclaimed Islamic State. The stagnant economy, ruined infrastructure and aggravated sectarian divisions in Syria mean that even if he ‘wins’ the official war, Assad will have a long way to go before peace can prevail. While Russia certainly had an impact on the Syrian conflict, it did so with consequences. Apart from the huge cost of this venture and Russian fatalities in Syria, the attack on the Russian Metrojet Flight 9268 last year in October and the recent killing of Russian Ambassador to Turkey Andrei Karlov in Istanbul are some of the heavy prices that Moscow had to pay due to its involvement in the Syrian conflict. 

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Similarly, the United States, Turkey and the Gulf States, particularly Saudi Arabia, all have had to endure massive financial costs and most importantly had to pay the price in the form of heinous terrorist attacks on their soil as a result of their involvement in the Syrian conflict. But instead of working out a whole balance sheet in order to determine which group has lost more lives, it suffices to say that both sides have suffered. Suffering that could have been avoided. More notably, the conflict between the two sides has ruined the country itself, exacerbated the existing regional turmoil, displaced millions of people and killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians who didn’t even chose to be in this inferno. 

The blame for this prolonged conflict that continues to get worse day by day, therefore, rests on everyone involved. The international community in the form of international and regional organizations such as the UN, the Arab League or Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) have all failed to work out a solution to a conflict that started off as just anti-government protests. Not just in Syria, but it has also failed to attend to the dire situation in Iraq, Libya as well as Yemen. Living in the 21st century with the presence of these remarkable institutions, it is inconceivable that we still are not able to stop the blood being spilled over and over again. 

The situation in Syria, as well as in Iraq, Libya and Yemen, highlights the severe leadership crisis and strong divisions amongst Muslim countries themselves. All Muslim actors, regardless of their ideologies and interests, need to remind themselves of their Islamic roots when making decisions that could have repercussions far beyond their own borders. This is not something new or anything that has never been witnessed in history, it’s essentially cost/benefit analysis. Sadly in this case, when talking about the cost we ought to reduce the value of human life, even if it may be in hundreds of thousands. Helping those in need is one of the core principles of Islam, yet there’s barely any support and refuge given to those in need in Syria by those who are in the surrounding area. If Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and even Europe is able to accommodate the refugees and provide them with basic food and shelter, then why can’t the rest of us? 

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Even if geographical complications do not allow some countries to host refugees, the least they can do is to help end the bloodshed through diplomacy and mediation via the institutions that were formed for this exact purpose. The situation that unfolded in Aleppo was not something new or out of the blue. It was the continuity of endless turmoil in the Arab World. The regional actors need to realize how detrimental can the spill-over effect be of these conflicts for the whole Muslim world and its unity, at least whatever’s left of it. There’s a great danger of intensification of prevalent polarization along sectarian lines due to conflicting interests in the Syrian situation, as well as other regional conflicts. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary that the key players in the region work out a solution in Syria through dialogue with Syrians and other actors via institutions like the UN, Arab League and the OIC in order to stop the bloodshed immediately, attend to the safety and well-being of those displaced, and form a consensus amongst the opposing parties so peace can prosper in the short and long term. A similar approach needs to be adopted when dealing with other crisis such as those in Iraq, Libya, and Yemen. It is about time that humanity should be given priority over economic, geopolitical and ideological interests. For if we ourselves are going to turn against each other and ignore the cries of those in need, then how can we expect the rest of the world to act any different?

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