Terror In Syria.. Why? … where is it from?…. where to ?
By the lawyer: Amwar AlBUNI
Head of Syrian Center For Legal Studies and Researches
Syria hasn’t experimented the wide phenomena of terror before Ba’ath Party’s seizing the authority of Syria. The beginning may be at the late of 1970s, when Combatant Vanguard organization – which was known as “Marwan Hadid group” that is affiliated with Muslim Brotherhood – made several assassinations. The most famous one was assassinating the officer “Mohammed Ghorra” in Hama in addition to accusing it of assassinating the constitutional scholar “Mohammed al – Fadhel” (he has been valuable in designing the Syrian constitution issued in 1972, to be suitable to Hafez al – Assad. That is what will lead to a big wave of protests over Syria). It was also charged with several explosions in many Syrian governorates, the most famous was in “Madfaieh School” in Aleppo, when one of the Islamist student fired on his colleagues. Around 80 student officers and non-commissioned officers have been killed in this operation.
These operations were associated with the public protests wave against the Ba’ath authority, and with a big political movement for releasing the public liberties.
Those terrorist operations, Combatant Vanguard organization has committed, were big excuse that the authority has used to oppress the revolutionary provinces (Hama, Idlib and Aleppo) in a cruel way. It has destroyed more than half of Hama city upon the residents, killed more than 40,000 civilians, destroyed completely two neighborhoods in Aleppo, many neighborhoods in both Idlib and Jesser al- sho’gor cities. Severe oppression closed in on all Syria for coming decades.
Documents and facts may be reveal the role, Hafez al – Assad has committed with his security services to help Combatant Vanguard to be active facilitating its operations, in the near future. Hafez al – Assad used this organization as an excuse to oppress the Syrian society, which was peacefully expressing refusing Ba’ath and al – Assad rule. He has exploited this organization to empower his authority for coming decades upon the basis of the Syrian blood.
The Terror as a means of ruling and managing the foreign relations:
After that, a new era of terror has started in Syria, the political security regime’s terror over the Syrian society. The regime has aimed at transferring it to the regional area. Hafez al –Assad has indulged himself in the Palestinian issue using the terror. He has motivated groups from the Palestinian movement to defect from the “Palestine Liberation Organization” which is the legitimate representative of Palestinians that adopted the peace decision with Israel since 1974. In this context, the Syrian regime has besieged – by its terrorist tools – the direction of the Liberation Organization and its loyalist community in Lebanon perpetrating mass massacres. These groups include – during different stages -:
“Abo Nidal” group called ” Fatah – the revolutionary council”; “Intifada Fatah”; “the public front – the general direction” that is affiliated with Ahmad Jebril (the two last groups are contributing in the siege of Yarmuk Camp near Damascus now, and in bombardment over it which is conducive to kill its residents); “Fatah Islam” which caused a humanity disaster in “Naher al – Bared” camp in the northern Lebanon before some years.
Lebanon republic has been a space of the Syrian regime terror for decades, where it manipulated its conflicts changing them into an opened bank account. It has called it ” trump” for a long time.
We don’t aspire through this paper to historicize the crimes perpetrated against Lebanese ones. We mentioned examples of them, fixing a wide axis representing: Killing the dissidents, motivating warring parties against each other and capturing the reality and the future of Lebanon to exploit them to bargain with the regional surrounding and the great state.
This regime has kept supporting the extreme forces to achieve its aim. Hezbollah was the most famous through the three last decades. Hezbollah has excluded and terrorized the democratic forces that was forming a coalition to resist the Israeli occupation of the southern Lebanon, and offering democratic solutions of the internal conflict in Lebanon. Hezbollah owned the resisting issue against Israel lonely, changing it to be in its favour.
The Syrian regime has used the same method manipulating the crisis of Kurdish status in each of Syria, Turkey and Iraq. It fostered PKK the terrorist party, using it as a foreign paper especially in facing Turkey, while it was oppressing the Syrian democratic political peaceful Kurdish parties at the same time. It is normal that the regime fostered different international terrorists within its terrorist history. It has fostered the escapers from the judgment in their countries, who were coming from all attitudes including Nazis, to exploit them in bargaining if an opportunity had been available.
All that were happening under seeing, hearing and knowing of the great states, and in many times under their silence or – sometimes – encouraging. Therefore, a lot of us were convinced that the “state terror” has a protector and international sponsors, which provide the immunity to serve mutual sakes. The international powers has seemed to exploit this terror, in return for allowing the regime to terrorize the Syrian society and have some potency in its surroundings, which Syrians, Palestinian and Lebanese and in some stages Iraqis and Turks paid high prices because of it.
Hafez al – Assad and his regime has benefited from this international immunity to continue his terrorist act. He thus reinforces his seizing over Lebanon terrorizing and killing all the dissidents (there is a long list includes famous personages as Mr. Kamal Jumblatt and Rafik al- Hariri. We can also mention dozens of thinkers, leaders, thousands of Lebanese people). He has also founded many terrorist groups as “Jund al –Sham”, and transformed the Palestinian camps – when the international community took the decision of ceasing the civil war in Lebanon – into stores of vulnerable violence to explode and spread over Lebanon when he wants. He increased his supporting to terror of PKK till turkey was fed up with him. The Turkish government thus threatened Assad to invade Syria, so Assad obeyed to it, ceased the activities of PKK and kicked the party leader “Abdullah Ocalan” out, whereby he was residing in Syria and managing the operations inside Turkey from it.
The steps of the son- Assad compatible with his father, he has thus supported and fostered the terror that his apparatuses control. He used the terror to assassinate dissidents with the increasingly protests calling for leaving of Syrian army from Lebanon. He perpetrated more than ten assassinating operations, which his fingerprints were clear on them. His assassinating the pre-minister Rafik al –Hariri crowned these operations, which led to force him to go out from Lebanon. He wasn’t deterred, whereby he prepared the terrorist post- prisoner in his prisons “Shaker al – Absy” and released him to found “Fatah Islam”, in order to be a terrorist – factor, he can exploit it again bargaining for a role in Lebanon under threatening of exploding the status. He hopped that this organization would perpetrate terrorist operations, in order to control it using its tools as Hezbollah; what would return his role in Lebanon directly, had it happened. When he failed to do, he released the terror of Hezbollah over Beirut and Lebanon Mountain in 7 – May – 2008, coordinating with Iran, in order to face Lebanese state attempts that aim at imposing its sovereignty.
Hezbollah occupying of the Lebanese public space, and its competing the state for its authority, reaching – later –to control its apparatuses, were the alternative for the regime seizing over Lebanon, whereby it was forced to go militarily without doing that intelligently.
Those events in Lebanon happened at the same time with the radical changes in Iraq, whereby the American military operations and falling down of Saddam scared the dictatorship regime in Syria, which was afraid of being the next. This regime thus used the terror weapon using the Islamist Jihadists and especially members of al – Qaeda who were in the Syrian prisons, dispatching them to Iraq. It allied with other terrorist organizations such as remnants of Ba’ath party and extremist Islamist groups to deplete the American Army in Iraq, to motivate confessional stresses and frustrate the political process. It wanted to use them as a bargain paper again to protect its continuing aiming at keeping a role of it in the regional policy.
This is a too general view, showing its details needs a long time, but maybe it can answer the initial question of how the terrorism has originated in Syria. It also highlights on how the terrorist regime in Syria has fostered, empowered and founded the external terrorism and it reinforced the terror environment internally. All that comes true through motivating extremism in local environment to invest it in its external tasks, and to create the enmity among Syrians themselves by wide violating of the human rights, which will facilitate influencing over them.
Manufacturing the terrorism through breaches
The universal declaration of human rights dictates many rights, which are forbidden to violate them or deprive men from, except some cases within conditions and circumstances must be coming true. But there are main rights, it is forbidden to deprive any man from them under any circumstance or condition, and because of any excuse, they are: right of life and Prevention of Torture, right to equality, non-discrimination and fair judgment; right to freedom of opinion and expression; and the right to recognition as a person before the law. These rights were the locus of the most breaches in Syria.
1. The right of life in “Assad” Syria: The life was a gift granted to Syrian civilians, where they live just because Assad allows them to do. This right is thus related with the loyalty to the person of Assad, it isn’t an intuitive right. The authorities can judge any one by execution directly or using the “Shabiha” of the regime, or by arresting and dying in the prison without any judgment, as thousands of people have suffered from. ( I am one of them, whereby two attempts have happened to assassinate me in the prison). Killing can be through the military field courts and the State Security Court that has executed thousands, just because of being dissidents.
2. The right to equality, non- discrimination and fair judgment
The “equality” is just existed within the lines of the constrained Syrian constitution, not more. In term of legality there is no way can force the authorities to respect and apply it. The legal discrimination between loyalists to the regime and the dissidents exists within all the sides of life in Syria. The primary schools that force all the students to be “vanguard of Ba’ath”, then both the middle schools and secondary schools recruit the students with “revolution youth”, which is a civil militia within the learning system, includes – from 13 age to 13 age – weekly military training. Enrolling in Syrian universities is favor for loyalists more than others with a big distance. This discrimination extends – with various shapes – over all collective – individual life, such as finding vacancies in the public sector, whereby the security’s permit is a main condition to have a job in the public sector. The refusing from the security apparatuses can lead to fire any employee from his her job. The Ba’ath members have the priority of employing, and “brokering” that the ruler authority manage, plays a main role in this processing.
Working in the private sector also is restricted by the permit of security apparatuses, whereby the owner of the job would have problems with the authority if heshe had employed dissidents, in addition to he she already couldn’t work, had heshe had relations with a “protector” from the ruler authority, who receives a “bribery” to secure the security permit of hisher project, and facilities the ordered administrative papers.
We can speak a lot about the specialist courts, such as the State Security Court, the field military court, committees of firing the workers, committees of defining the cultivating job’s fees, committees of defining and releasing, and the real estate judicial whereby these bodies control all the parts of the economic, political and social life in Syria.
For information purposes, the High Council of Judiciary is completely under the control of the regime president, who is – in addition to his appointment as a president – the general chief of the army, he has the right to issue laws and legislations, he who gifts the public amnesty, and names the ministers. He is also the chief of the High Council of Judiciary (as Hafez al – Assad has adjusted its law) and all of: the minister of justice, vice- minister of justice, the head of the body of judgmental investigation, the public prosecutor at the court of cassation, the head of the court of cassation (the high court of appeal) and the two oldest judges in the court of cassation assist him. Appointing any judge needs a permit from the all four security apparatuses, we can’t thus speak of any equality or fair or incorrupt judgment in Syria.
3. The right to legal personality
Syrian have the right to gain the nationality by birth and registering the names of born ones. But the authority has manipulated this right, to get it out from the circle of the rights that are forbidden to be concealed. It get this right out from the judiciary, making it a controlling means into its hands. The executive authority has the right to withdraw the nationality from any Syrian by an edict from the president after a minister of interior’s suggestion. Giving the nationality can be done by an edict. The authority manipulated this right in the Kurdish issue. In 1962, the authority made an unexpected exclusive statistic without declaring it, in Hasaka region for one day only. It didn’t accept any later appeals. It withdrew the nationality from more than 50,000 Syrians the statistic hasn’t covered them in the terrain where they were living. Now, their number is more than 300,000 ones existing either with documents say they are foreigners or documents say they are unregistered (due to the born people whom their parents couldn’t register them in the state, because they are already forbidden from the nationality). There are more than 300,000 Syrians live without legal personality. Both son and father Assad has used this issue to influence over the Kurdish status, manipulating it according to the political sake and for ensuring their power.
4. The right to freedom of opinion and expression
I don’t think that I need to mention details and examples in this issue, because the reputation of the Syrian regime is famous over the world in this field. It is categorized with the most states oppressing the freedom of opinion and expression since long years, by all the international organization that concern in this issue.
Hafez al –Assad has opened his rule imposing an emergency case since his military coup. He has imposed procedures to influence over all the faces of the public life. He has banned the political parties but which were included in the “national progressive front”, Ba’ath party leads. He has banned founding the civil organizations and ceased those, which were out of his authority. He has called off the permits of the old newspapers allowing just Ba’ath party and the state’s newspapers to issue, and on occasion some newspaper of parties in the national progressive front, but with a lot of constraints. He has banned the grouping of more than three persons either in a public or private (as house) place. Radios and private T.Vs were also banned, and naming the respondents of foreign T.Vs and media agencies must be done through a security agreement or permit that is issued from the ministry of information. The list of opinion- detainees is so long also.
The terrorism is the choice of the Syrian regime to face the public claims
While Assad was releasing the extremists and terrorists to justify his cruelty when they become his enemies, he was refusing to release the peaceful activists and killing them in his prisons. The son- Assad used the same tactic his father used. As his father facilitated the conditions of the Combatant Vanguard in late of 1970s, to exploit this excuse to control Syria strictly, the son did. He has released the terrorist detainees whom Assad recruited to fight against USA in Iraq, and his ally “al – Maleki” (the Iraqi pre-minister) has also released the terrorists from the Iraqi prisons – through a play of their alleged escaping-. They received an Iranian supply to muddle the people’s claims of freedom and dignity, justifying the unprecedented cruelty – all over the history – the regime used.
He was being asking the international community for supporting in its alleged war against the terror. The limited concentrating of the international community on political solutions only, and its ignoring or even refusing the speaking of penalty of the crimes the regime perpetrated, have put in mind of the all – not only the regime – that the coming political solution will “tolerate” all the crimes whatever ugly they are. This international ignorance of violating the human rights seemed to be an involved in the game of regime. Many states such as Iran, Russia and Syria, and coming jihadists from out of Syria such as Hezbollah, Shia organizations and members from al –Qaida have thus dared to found armed groups perpetrating what they wanted of crimes.
The extremist Kurds have exploited this opportunity to impose their separation agenda over the Syrian Kurds and the Syrian people. They have formed an armed organization – the regime helped it – that has supposed an armed control over the terrains it exists in. it committed many crimes anti Arabs and Kurds, such as an ethnic cleansing as a reacting of the Arabisation and Kurds deportation policy, the regime adopted in the same terrains in 1960s.
Neighboring states, Iran, Hezbollah and Iraqi Shia groups invested in this opportunity to make demographic cleansing in the terrains they are seizing, by converting the people into the Shia doctrine and deporting who don’t accept that, putting their knifes in the Syrian body.
These parties had the persuasion that they will have more opportunity in the political solution as much as they are indulging themselves in the Syrian blood. Whereby the Lebanese case is nearby, where the warlords and the masters of killing and devastating have become the political lords and the leaders of the state. Sudan’s case is also lucid, al- Bashir stills keeping the authority and being welcomed from the international community leaders without any shame, in spite of the fact that he is charged in perpetrating war crimes, and an arrest warrants for him are issued by the international criminal court.
Terrorism is product of the international silence
The Arabic Spring has interrupted the case of continuing breaches of the human rights in Syria, when the Syrian community felt it is time to cease the case of slavery that was continuing for forty years. It uprose, but the Syrian regime faced the uprising by the most cruel kinds of the state terrorism. The army has engaged in oppressing the peaceful uprising from its beginning in Mars 2011 in Dara’, until the tanks besieged the cities in Dara’ province in the late of Mars 2011.
The international community again just watched the most cruel and violent terror the regime used without doing anything. On contrary it was always giving Assad indicators that it will never intervene to cease the massacres against the people. Major states have close their eyes to the perpetrated crimes, calling off any attempt or claim for judging the criminals. The tragedy has continued for months and years, while the international community was watching the killing and devastating with various kinds of weapons including the most destroying ones, without doing anything as like as it was watching a cinema show it doesn’t care of it. The public angry has thus increased, and hate has risen through the aborted hope. The extreme has distributed to occupy the place of the killed peaceful and democratic activists. (who were fought from the all)
The international community kept silent in spite of the fact that the regime has bombarded Syrian terrains by more than 5250 explosive barrels. 2000 ones of them has used after issuing the security council resolution No: 2139 in 22- Feb. 2014 causing killing more than 125000 civilians, 7000 ones of them have been killed after declaring the resolution. (90% of the victims are civilians, 52% of them are women and children). All the announcements, stands and manifestoes the international community has issued are not more than speaking in the vacuum, where nobody cares of them.
After issuing the resolution of the Security Council about banning the use of the chemical weapons, the regime has reused them more than 40 times. None has declared a stand in spite of all lucid and clear breaches of the international resolutions. In spite of more than 300,000 killed persons, a million and 500,000 injured ones. There is never any reaction against the criminals from the international community, no action can point that the judgment and justice is coming.
The Syrian people have adopted the attitude of irreverence of all the principles and values the international community glorifies all the time, because this community has let them down, to face the massacres lonely. The environment thus became more vulnerable to accept any exit can help them to defend themselves under any flag or logo.
I hope you could imagine every hour two detainees die in the Syrian security prisons, under torturing or very bad non-human conditions, which are imposed upon them causing a lot of diseases, while they were asking for them the death all the time.
I hope you could imagine daughters, mothers and wives of the detainees, whom had been arrested for months or even years without any information. They keep visiting the security services searching on their lovers, hoping a detainee is released and they could ask himher if heshe had met with one of their relatives in the prison, just to know if heshe is alive or not. Brokers and military-security – affiliated lawyers extort the families to give any information of the place or the health case of the detainee or for referring himher to the judgment in return for huge amount of money.
I hope you could imagine a detaining room that its area is less than 20 meters, where more than 200 detainees are put inside it, to stay for days or weeks standing up, where they can’t set down nor laying down. The lucky one is whose place is stick to a wall. 22 documented ways are used to torture them such as: beating, hanging them from their arms that are banded behind them, electrocution, rape, starving and completely prohibition from the medical care. The human rights organization estimate the number of the victims in the security prisons more than 50,000 ones till now under the torturing and non-human conditions. The international community has seen the awful photos of the victims in the prisons that are leaked by Caesar, and it remained doing nothing.
More than 150,000 detainees still be unaccounted for, most of them were arrested at the military and security checkpoints that are heavily separated or through the security inspecting of the neighborhoods that are under the regime control, or on occasion during the military breaking into the terrains that the regime has lost. Most of these arrests are managed arbitrarily aiming young and men.
The families of those detainees have no information of them. Visiting them or connecting with the lawyers are forbidden. Those detainees who are completely uncounted for, can stay in the prisons for years without any charging, accusing or judging.
In spite of some reconciliations in some terrains, the authorities remained refusing to release detainees, and they refuse even if the detainees are women. They refuse completely. The authority may release some detainees who stayed for long time. 3000 detainee women and complete families are remaining in the prisons including women and children, some of them are under months age.
I hope you could imagine there are thousands peaceful activists, hundreds of doctors and pharmacists, and tens of lawyers still in the prison. All the issued amnesty edicts have just included the armed people not the peaceful ones.
I hope you could put yourselves in shoes of the dead people because of the toxic chemical gases. To put yourselves in shoes of a father searching on pieces of his family remains, under ruins caused by an explosive barrel.
To could wait for a charity in the asylum countries to feed your children, or wait for a tent or a roof to use it as a shelter.
I hope you could imagine yourselves staying in the open after an exclusive barrel has fallen on your house.
To imagine one day under a complete siege that prevents you from moving and getting some bread. To imagine your children dying because of starvation or illness where no medicine exists to save their life.
It is a partial picture of the facts that Syrians people remain suffering from.
I want to add to this picture the fact that Syrian law prevents judging any members of the security services, army or policing without a permit extracted from his chief. They have immunity, and they are safe from any penalty of their crimes, what encourages them to go on.
I want you to put yourselves in the shoes of people that half of them were refugees or displaced, without incomes or help. Imagine extremist terrorist groups, – the most of them are foreigners – have entered this country to influence over the people, imposing their ideas over them, killing and kidnapping the peaceful activists. I hope you could answer the question, which is always arose: where does all this terror come from? Where does all the unprecedented violence in Syria come from? How can we fight it?
The extremist ideas, which use the violence to impose themselves, exist over the history. There is always who believes in them and justifies the violence, using noble goals, public good, heaven orders or others.
Dictatorship regimes have always used it, and invested in the terrorism to get rid of their enemies. All states and organizations have conducted the terrorism under national aims such as: the independency, the national unity and others.
The problem isn’t the extremist ideas. They exist in all regions, ideologies, and the political and thoughtful references, and in all societies and eras. But they are always perceiving as refused crimes, whatever the goal they use.
The problem is creating the suitable environment of this thought, and creating social, political and cultural incubators of this thought, in addition to absence of the justice and real fairness.
The problem appears through violating the human rights and reaching the stage of poverty and abasement without being able to defend hisherself or taking hisher right by legal ways. The legal doors are always closed, so they go towards the sacred hidden powers asking for help. They become more vulnerable to accept and foster the extremist ideas.
The most important problem is that the international community doesn’t protect the people from their states or other states’ terrorism, of course because of the international sakes and the international relations. It focuses on the syndromes and ignores the real terror, or the real reason of it. It encourages this real reason by this way, and the contrary terror thus increases and its cruelty and extreme rises. As a result we will be engaged into the great whirlpool, all of us, the world is suffering from it now.
In fact, if non- real treating of this problem is adopted, the next years will be catastrophic for all.
The extremist thought needs anti-extreme in order to justify its existence. The minority from this extremist thought will exploit it to justify all their violent behaviors and recruit bigger numbers of followers as possible as. They are two sides of one coin. If the other side is not existed, the other will create it. That is what the dictatorship regimes has done directly or indirectly because of the severe oppression.
Is there better environment than that is suffering from oppressing, abusing, abasement and prohibiting of the peaceful expression mains.
When the fair judgment is absent, the victim will go other roads to get the right. Can we blame it with all this ignorance and carelessness of the international community?
There are who create and make up the terrorism in Syria, we can’t speak of “countering the terror” or start any political solution of the Syrian issue before ceasing this creating.
The international community contributes in making up the terrorism by keeping silent, without doing anything. There is no real message that can point to judgment of the perpetrated crimes, and that the penalty will be applied whatever is the criminal. But when the international community conduct a selective judiciary through closing the eyes in front of some crimes and focusing on others, the terrorism will easily find an incubator.
The selectivity of evaluating the crimes according to the criminal, its nationality, its religion, or its political principle, or the religion, nationality and thoughts of the victim, whereby the major crimes are ignored if who commits them uses the logos of secularism or protecting the minorities, is the core of the problem.
The differentiation between a terror that a state and its army perpetrate against its people – whereby it is ignored-, and a terror that small armed groups perpetrate against the same people is the core of the problem.
When the regime killed more than 200,000 ones, and destroyed half of Syria through more than three years, the international community was justifying its attitude by the stands of Russia and China. When ISIS killed less than tens of Syrians and foreigners, the international community didn’t wait for neither the stands of Russia and China nor the resolutions of the Security Council. It founded a military coalition and struck ISIS in a week.
When the international community keeps dealing with the Syrian regime for 40 years, with carelessness of the violation it perpetrates, the terrorism will be found, and the violence and anti-violence will increasingly be motivated.
The human rights is clear, there is no way to differentiate between a terror and another because of the region, nationality or the identity of the victim or the criminal. Something like that will add more fuel to fire, and any discourse like that will just give more time to the criminals to kill more and more, what will threaten the international security and peace, you are responsible of them.
New york 30/09/2015 Lawyer Anwar Albuni