The Arab Spring Takes a Bloody Turn
Amid the swirling chaos that is Syria of late, a new aspect of an already extremely complicated and multi-faceted situation has emerged: today, 120 government police officers are confirmed to have been murdered by "armed gangs" in the city of Jisr al-Shughour. This event, described as a "massacre," comes at a time in which the US and the international community are condemning the government of Syria for its brutality. Now, the people have returned the favor. Indeed, it seems that the days of peaceful protest may have ended. Welcome to chaos. Welcome to war.
Should this event have been isolated and carried out by a single rouge group, the situation would still be extremely shocking and horrifying. However, Human Rights Watch has also revealed that in Libya, the rebels based in Benghazi have taken people hostage who are "suspected of supporting ruler Muammar al-Qaddafi," and, though the government has denied it, one has already been killed as a result of torture. Months, weeks, even days ago, the rebels of Syria and Libya were oppressed masses in which the entire world could identify and sympathize with. Now, we are seeing the darker side of humanity, a desire for revenge and bloodshed that may further escalate the war in Libya and possibly provoke one in Syria. These troubling events leave many questions unanswered. Are the rebel movements themselves backing these violent attacks and actions? If so, will they continue to garner support from the UN and NATO, who only pledge to defend the civil rights of citizens? The next actions taken by both resistance movements will determine the response by a very concerned international community.
As a result of the recent murder of the Syrian security forces, Syrian rebels will unexpectedly experience a government backlash. The question is, however, are the rebels actually behind the attacks? According to them, they are not. According to BBC News, the rebels, "...condemned the reported deaths of dozens of security personnel in the town and called for an immediate and transparent inquiry." Of course, had they been behind the assault, they could never admit that fact for fear of annihilation. While the rebels may have discreetly supported or funded an extremist group to carry out the attack, one must expect that they would know that repercussions would be inevitable. One rebel was quoted as stating that after the attacks on the security personnel, the government would inevitably cause many violations of human rights in its campaign to retake the city. The people know what the government is capable of and does not want to provoke them. Therefore, one must assume that the attacks came from outside the mainstream protest movement.Continued on the next page