Was Assad alone in committing the massacres?
The Syrian crisis began with massacres perpetrated by the Baath regime at the beginning of 2011. The photographs of executions, massacres and torture that emerged on January the 20th provide evidence only for a small part of all the crimes the Assad regime committed in the last three years. The photos supply a background for all that has been happening inside Syria and reveal it for the whole world to see. The most striking point the photos prove is the fact that Assad was not alone in perpetrating the massacres.
In reality, the Baath regime had lost both its legitimacy and its governing power back in 2012 just as the resistance movement had become a force to be acknowledged. For the last two years, the Syrian Resistance forces had been fighting with none other than the forces that supported the minority Assad regime. That is to say, for the last two years, the Baath regime has only been a prong external actors used to orchestrate their proxy wars in Syria. Throughout 2012-2013, we witnessed the intensification of the proxy wars, as well as the massacres committed by the Assad regime. In fact, these massacres are the very reason the Baath regime has not yet taken its leave from the stage.
Today, there is not a single regime in the world that would not persevere in its seat, similar to the Assad regime, after having committed massacres of this scale. In fact, this is why the Baath apologists can arrogantly ask the question, “Why is Assad still standing?” The question never had anything to do with curiosity. They knew very well, like everyone else, why Assad was still standing. These photographs are the best proof of why Assad is still standing. These massacres could not have been committed by the Baath regime alone. Just like Milosevic, the racist, Sisi the ouster, Israel the occupier, the Assad regime could inflict atrocities on two conditions.
First, for killings to have occurred systematically, the regime needed support of finances, weapons and legionnaires. Russia provided first financial, later weapons support. Iran, in addition to its financial and weapons support, provided legionnaires in the form of Hizbullah. Maliki, not only provided all the support he could, but also resuscitated Assad by facilitating the emergence of Al-Qaeda in Syria.
Second, for the atrocities to have occurred at this scale, Assad regime needed protection at the international diplomatic level. Russia provided such protection by locking the U.N. Security Council. The American administration and various other Western countries became complicit by adhering to a cover of pacifism.
On Aug. 21, 2013, exactly a year after Obama declared chemical weapons was America’s “red line,” Assad managed to massacre thousands of civilians by chemical weapons. Instead of owning up to its “red line,” the Obama administration zigzagged until it transformed the Syrian Crisis into a chemical disarmament and the legitimate resistance of the opposition movement into an Al-Qaeda problem. And the Assad regime, not mentioned anywhere in any discussion of the Syrian crisis, continued committing massacres, unencumbered. This is exactly what the photographs revealed. Putting a stop to these massacres at this point would only serve to salvage some legitimacy for the already paralyzed Security Council and to bring those who indirectly contributed to the conditions that created the photos into crisis.