(Part of The Darkness Visible series)
(Iraqi Kurdish Children Killed in Gas Attacks)
As the fighting worsens in and around Damascus the West has begun to realize that Assad has no way to leave the battlefield with any honor left intact. This fight to maintain control of Syria has left the dictator helpless as the country has descended into the abyss of war. It is in this sense of desperation that has become nearly palpable in the heart of Syria. A sense of desperation that is leading to more hopeless means of combat. Helping fuel the fear of another al-Anfal genocide within the region.
In 1986, toward the end of the Iran-Iraq war, Saddam Hussein launched the worse campaign of genocide since the Nazis conquest of Europe. Attacking the Kurdish villages in northern Iraq, Saddam targeted all minority populations as well, the dictator embarked upon a war of annihilation. This was a barbaric battle to rid Iraq of those who Saddam deemed to be "non-Iraqi" or "non-Arabic" populations.
"... Allah willed to justify the Truth according to His words and to cut off the roots of the Unbelievers..." Koran 8:7
Saddam took the name of his genocide from the Holy Koran. Yet his war was far from holy. It was so barbaric and ghastly that not even the Western world couldn't look the other way. This was a war that would scar the minds of world leaders for decades to come.
For the first time since the world wars the West would watch as gas was used to kill off thousands of people in just a matter of minutes. Men, women, and children died where they were standing as the shells carrying the gas fell from above. The images of children gasping for air were suddenly seen around the world. All were victims of Saddam's al-Anfal.
Today Turkey joined the United States in warning the world of the lingering threat of Assad's vast chemical weapon stores. The United States State Department managed to piece together strong words of warning for Assad as they talked about the "red line" these unconventional weapons presented. Turkey on the other hand has a very real fear of these weapons being used along the border with Syria. After all, chemical and gas don't know the limits of the battlefield and rarely behaves as the murderers intend.
Yet for all the warnings and all the nervousness surrounding the use of chemical weapons the Syrian government has already begun deployment of chemical weapons to the embattled areas. In Aleppo the West believes that enough chemical shells could already be in place to kill the local population without warning. Hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians could be at risk as this post is being written. Even an upwards of a million civilians could be at risk as chemical weapons make their way across the country.
“Today I want to make it absolutely clear to Assad and those under his command: The world is watching,” President Barack Obama. 12/3/2012
It is clear now that Assad has every intention to use some measure of chemical weapons on his own citizens. It is also clear that Assad will use these weapons without warning and without relent. Once the gas begins to flow it will not stop till the UN or US step in to stop it. A level of commitment that the White House has finally begun to show it is willing to take on.
But the question remains... just how many Syrians will have to die before the West starts to take military action to stop the genocide in Syria?
A spontaneous offensive with the use of chemicals as it's spearhead will kill hundreds of thousands of Syrians in a matter of days at best. With Syrian civilians clustered together, so as to avoid the fighting, their populations are gathered in small areas. Gas will allow their numbers to be drastically decreased in the first few hours of the attacks. This appears to be what Assad is hinging his bets upon as his chemical weapons are now being deployed.
“This is a red line for the United States,” Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton. 12/3/2012
We may be watching. We may have plans to take action to stop the attacks. But as of now the United States can not nor will not be able to prevent the gas from being used. Once again the West has put themselves in a position where they can not protect those in the most need of it. We have failed the Syrians.
This will be Assad's end game.
The final stages of his rule are falling in place. The rebels are closing in upon their old master's stronghold. Assad is now nothing more than an animal... an animal that has been backed into a corner. Yet like most beast, Assad won't go down without a fight.
If the West wants to declare checkmate it should had already entered the fight and prevented this scenario from ever taking place. Now we have little we can do but attempt to limit the number of civilians Assad can take to Hell with him. Yet even this depends upon men like Barack Obama who have done nothing to stop us from getting to this point to begin with.
How much more of this wretched war can Syria take?