Tag Archives: Assad regime


BLOG 351 May 22, 2017

Syrian refugee washing clothes…

            STOP! Got a road sign for you. This is the last blog until June 12. Sorry, but I’ll be traveling and out of the country. As you probably know, I work with Pope Francis as his Apostolic Representative For Christian Unity. I travel all over creation talking with Catholics and Protestants about the possibility of “unity without uniformity.” That idea suggests we can be friends and fellow travelers even if some of our beliefs and perspectives are different. On June 4, Pentecost Sunday, we will gather on the Piazza in front of Rome’s St. Peter’s Basilica to celebrate the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.

            Hang on! I’ll be back on June 12 with an update for you.

And what about Syria? Sorry – yes, sorry is the only word that comes to mind. I’m sorry. The world is sorry. (in the sense of mourning) Bashar al-Assad is REALLY sorry (in the sense of diabolically obscene). Having killed at least 400,000 of his own people, Assad continues to bomb, starve and gas his countrymen.

One of the actions that President Trump has succeeded in doing in his first 100 days in office was bombing Syria. Everyone applauded. Now, the next question is what comes next? Trump has been so occupied with so many controversial and divisive upheavals in government, his and the press’s attention has shifted from the Syrian civil war that rages on. The world now knows Trump is good at impulsive actions, but that’s no substitute for a complete foreign policy. One of the major failures of the Obama administration was the timid and reserved Middle East policy that gave the Russians extraordinary success in supporting Assad and his war crimes. If Trump doesn’t reverse this course, American influence in that and other areas is going out the back door. Bad news indeed!

The evidence against the Assad regime is staggering. Three tons of Syrian government documents were captured that detailed their war crimes. During this six-year war, these assaults have gone unanswered in any court. Possibly, they are worse than in any previous war. The country’s population has been displaced. Human rights groups report more than 100,000 persons are missing, detained, or killed. Tens of thousands languish in government custody. These tragedies are so severe that a United Nations commission called the actions of Assad’s government “extermination,” a crime against humanity.

What has kept Syria going? Russian vetoes in the United Nations debates are the only factor that has kept Assad from international condemnation.

The United States will continue to go through its own throes and political struggles you hear about every night on the media. For heaven’s sake, don’t let that noise in Washington drown out the cries of dying children and their mothers, of widows and the massacred.



Filed under Christians, middle east, Syria


B LOG 315 August 15, 2016

This past week the world discovered that the Assad regime used chlorine gas in the battle for Aleppo. Since World War II and before, the entire world has recognized that the use of chemical warfare is a war crime. The Syrian government has done this a number of times and once again has struck babies, women, and children as well attacking the military. They are guilty of a criminal offense against humanity.

And who will bring them to justice?

As readers of Wise On The Middle East know, this blog attempts to avoid political partisanship and reports an objective understanding of every situation occurring across the region. My goal is an unbiased reading of events. Of course, no one can claim absolute neutrality, but at the least, that’s the objective. The following is such an attempt.

On April 26, 2013, President Barrack Obama declared that if Syrian used chemical weapons in their civil war, they would be crossing a red line, a line drawn in the sand. They did. He did nothing.

As a result, Putin invaded Crimea and then the Ukraine. Current reports indicate the Russians are increasing their troops in the Ukraine. In response, the USA gave a slap on the wrist to key Russia oligarchical leaders. But did nothing about chemical warfare in Syria.

The top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Corker said Syria used chemical weapons to slaughter 1,200 people and predicated Putin will escalate military aggression in the Ukraine if the U.S. does not nothing.

So far, nothing has followed.

Previously promised arms from America, Syrian rebels are now complaining that they are running out of weaponry and none is on the way. Apparently, the Obama administration is pursuing a diplomatic rather than military approach to the problem. Secretary of State John Kerry said 54% of the chemical weapons had been removed.

Fifty-four percent? After all these years and months? Really? That only leaves 46% of one of the world’s largest stockpiles of chemical weapons. How many more citizens can the Assad regime kill with their mountain of chemicals? Probably the rest of the country.

One of the worst legacies that Obama will leave behind is the deteriorating status of the United States in the Middle East. Israel doesn’t trust the US. Egypt doesn’t trust America. And Russia apparently no longer fears us.

Are we weak? Incapable? No, just frighteningly indecisive and uncertain. For the good of the world and the goals of democracy, the next American president must reverse the lack of trust that now exists.

In the mean time, who will stop Syria from gassing babies, women, children, as well as soldiers? Doesn’t appear that America’s ready.

This is a decisive moment for action. President Obama could reverse the situation at the snap of his fingers by reacting decisively against Syria for crossing the line that he has drawn in the sand. Will he?

That’s the question.

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Filed under America, middle east, Russia, Syria


            Analysts for the Middle East have previously argued that U.S. intervention in Syria would be shortsighted and further destabilize the region. They pointed out that the Obama administration lacked a grand strategy that left them victims of rhetorical entrapment which is precisely what happened when Obama drew his red line on the use of chemicals. However, the ayalysis did not envision the chemical attack Assad unleashed on his people. Now the conflict is seen in a different light.

            The FBI is currently increasing its surveillance of Syrians living inside the U.S.A. because of a concern that an attack on the Assad regime could result in terrorists attacks in America.  The government has also warned federal agencies and private companies that cyber-attacks could also be possible. The FBI is and will be interviewing hundreds of Syrians  to uncover any intelligence operations that could develop attacks in America. With September 11 such an obvious inviting target, the Syrian community remains under heightened surveillance.

One of the questions now receiving careful attention is how the Syrian regime amassed such a large quantity of nerve gas. The September 8, 2013 edition of The New York Times presented  a headline grabbing story of how this frightening situation occurred. Their conclusion was that a combination of Western laxity, aid from the Soviet Union and Iran, as well as Syrian deceptive maneuvering  around the world allowed the Assad family to stockpile its mass of chemical weapons.

Anyone watching the Monday, September 9, interview of  President Assad with Charlie Rose could see the ease with which Assad lied about their chemical strike against their own people. It was this exact duplicity that the Syrian goverment used to obtain the chemicals that they assembled to make sulfur mustard, VX, and sarin gas. A Russian general helped the Syrian government establish its chemical weapons program. The Syrian modus operandi was to hide procurement under the guise of legitimate pharmaceutical transactions. Syria’s Scientific Studies and Research Center has been identified as a principal government location for the development of chemical weapons.  In January, Israel hit a convoy loading up just outside of the Research Center. Once known as Maine Biological Laboratories, the company was convicted of shipping biological agents to Syria in 2001. Such activities across the world allowed both the Assad father and son to develop the current stockpile.

But hold the phone! Is it possible that international inspection could dismantle this stockpile and make an American missile strike unnecessary? Currently, the international uproar is a hope that Syria would allow this stockpile to be hauled off and America attacks would be adverted. Such an action would end decades of Syrian secret conniving to build up the stockpile —A welcome relief for everyone.

Can Syrian be trusted to do so? No more than they could be trusted when they began building up the arsenal. Critical and persistent investigation would be necessary to make sure the Assad regime is not once again lying. Can the world rely on that posibility?

We shall see.

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Filed under middle east, Muslims, Syria