Thursday, June 9, 2011

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The death of Hamza al-Khatib at the hands of the Syrian security forces has had a huge impact on a country already wracked by months of violent anti-government protest.

Abducted by the State security forces, the 13-year-old was returned to the family home in a body bag, horrifically mutilated and distorted.

Captured on an anti-government activist's mobile phone, footage of Hamza's battered and bullet-ridden corpse has been broadcast around the world, despite the horrific injuries it shows. His family had scattered the body with rose petals as a burial ritual, making the image of the maimed flesh beneath all the more jarring.

His body was covered in bruises, and his hands smashed. His eyes were swollen and black, and his neck was broken. His genitals had been severed, and he had scars on his body that suggested whipping with a cable and electric shocks.

His body was covered in bruises, his hands smashed, eyes swollen and black, and the neck was broken. His genitals had been severed, and he had scars on his body that suggested whipping with a cable and electric shocks.

In the ensuing furore, the government insisted that the body had simply decomposed, and wheeled out a coroner to deny that the boy had been tortured.

It did nothing to calm public fury; last week's demonstrations were among the largest seen so far. The killing of children has caused outrage. An 11-year-old girl was reportedly killed in a military operation in the town of Hirak last week. One of the coordinators of the protests in Deraa said that a young female cousin of Hamza's was killed on Friday in Al-Raftan after being fired on by security forces.

"Security forces opened fire on this group and many children were injured, but the girl from the Khatib family died," he said.

Hamza's death has given protesters a figurehead for their anger. A Facebook page in his memory, "We are all Hamza al-Khatib" – echoing that of Mr Saeed – already has 15,000 followers.


Libya is nothing more than a mineral-rich swath of desert, not even as strategically significant as the Gulf States - the casus belli to our interference was to stop the killings. If we had done nothing the killing would have ceased; instead they have continued for over two months, the modern-day Caligula is still in power, and we have failed to capture a single city.

Egypt is considered by Arabs to be the stomping ground of conquerors; practically under the influence of foreigners. Indeed, this time we sided with mobs run by the internationalist Muslim Brotherhood - who are al Qaeda sympathizers, if not the same thing - against trusted ally Hosni Mubarak, whose reward for delivering three decades of peace with Israel is kangaroo court for himself and members of his family.

A long-time foe of Israel and the West, Syria is the true center of gravity for Arab culture and civilization. Mentioned in the Bible, Damascus is the oldest continually-populated city in the world. A rare opportunity presents itself as the Syrian people struggle for freedom.

Consider: we have established a precedent for intervention with the Libya nonsense, and have witnessed the folly of sitting back and doing nothing like we did in Egypt. At present we have huge garrisons of troops in neighboring Iraq - funneling arms and military advisers across the Syrian border to sponsor an insurgency would be a cakewalk - and so far we have failed to lift so much as a finger to aid them.


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