Last week, more than 100 people were murdered in Houla. It's been reported that artillery was fired and subsequently roving militias came through to finish the job - executing dozens at close range with knives and small arms fire.
Is it any surprise that Bashar al-Assad's loyalists are claiming that the massacre was the result of rebel forces - not the government. The Assad-backed "investigation" claims that those killed were Assad loyalists and were unwilling to cooperate with the rebels, which is why they were targeted.
Meanwhile, China wants to give the failed Annan plan more time to work, even though the plan has been a miserable failure from the outset. It hasn't stopped the violence, and massacres continue. Human rights violations abound, and there's nothing that the UN observers can do to thwart war crimes or human rights violations because countries - like China and Russia are preventing anything more harsh than a strongly worded letter from being adopted by the Security Council.
That's even as the UN Secretary General concedes that war crimes and civil war are likely if both sides refuse to abide by the Annan plan. The fact is that UN observers aren't there to do anything more than observe. They can't force anyone to lower their weapons; they too have been targeted by both sides. The UN is in a no-win situation because Russia and China refuse to take stronger action against their client Assad.
I'd say that Syria is already seeing a civil war, and that war crimes and crimes against humanity are ongoing. Assad is doing everything within his power to stay in power - and that includes murdering those opposed to his regime.
Labels: Bashar al-Assad, China, Civil War, diplomacy, foreign policy, human rights, Middle East, Russia, United Nations, war crimes