The forces loyal to Assad utilized an airstrike to slaughter people who were simply lining up at a bakery to purchase bread and pastries. The toll has already reached close to one-hundred with expectations that the final count of dead might exceed two-hundred. The result was bodies stacked and slung all over the entire block of the street in front of the bakery with dead and wounded lying together as others searched to find the living and separate them from the dead. The scene is captured in this <a href=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tIfdO7yzKeM&feature=player_embedded target=blank>explicitly graphic video</a> showing a scene of trauma expectant in the aftermath of such a horrific and senseless slaughter of innocent noncombatants. This attack comes on top of the revelation that Assad’s forces have begun to use scud missiles against rebel forces and civilians with no discrimination between the innocent civilians and those who have taken up arms against his rule. This has to lead one to believe that Assad is but a decision away from the use of his chemical weapons on these scud missiles and the horrors and havoc such will render on the remaining Syrian population in addition to the rebel forces. Meanwhile, the world leaders decry these attacks and invest great numbers of words and promises that they are monitoring the situation in Syria and will take serious and decided action should Assad introduce chemical weapons to the conflict. Judging by the lack of serious response to the over 40,000 civilian deaths estimated to have resulted from the civil war thus far, one has to wonder if such threats are empty bluster more than resolutions to take the actions threatened.
On the other side of the coin, news continues to enforce the existence of two distinct and separate groups which comprise the rebel forces. One group is a cobbled union of secularists, disparate minority groups, and Muslims who wish to establish some form of democratic governance with universal rights while the other group consists of Islamists belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaeda, Salafists, and other Sunnis who favor establishing a Sharia State. Many fear that once Assad is taken down from power the fighting will simply turn with these separate rebel groups beginning yet a second civil war for the future of Syria. The parallels between the situation in Syria and the history of the French Revolution is frightening and if the conflict in Syria should come to a similar end, the future for Syria is bleak and dark at best. This bifurcation of the rebel forces has also made supporting the rebels a more difficult proposition fraught with possible mistakes and weapons and aid falling into the hands of terrorists instead of the intended secular forces. Much has been speculated as to how much of the weapons and aid has already fallen into presumably unintended hands and this has clouded the plans to send further such assistance. This is definitely not an instance where one can simply make decisions using the old system of the enemy of my enemy is my friend as some of those who are enemies of Assad are also enemies of the West and a threat to the Western way of life. Decisions, decisions, all I can say is I am glad these are not decisions that will rest on my shoulders.
Then there is the last threat, the stores of chemical weapons. There are serious concerns as to into whose hands these deadly weapons of mass destruction will end up falling. There are many who claim that there are some who we can trust to receive these stores and some we must avoid allowing to come into possession of Assad’s vast stores of chemical weapons. My vote is that there is nobody who we should allow to come into possession of these weapons and possess such a threat. Assuming that the forces of the world continue with their hand-wringing and making bold statements while taking no actions, then these diabolical weapons are going to fall into somebody’s hands and the only safe solution would be to make sure that at the end of the fighting these weapons are destroyed and not left for anybody to possess, or even worse, to use. That is the one action which needs to be planned for and executed preferably with great stealth and assurances that all of these chemical weapons are destroyed. These weapons should not be allowed to continue to exist even if it is in the hands of a Western country, the Russians, the Israelis, or anybody else. The destruction of these chemical weapons stores has to be the one result of this conflict that must be made a primary goal. Any other path would be pure folly and could only end, sooner or later, in catastrophe.
Beyond the Cusp