The Nobel Prize committee continued the cruel joke on the Syrian people awarding the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) its infamous peace prize for their efforts in Syria. While the OPCW may do important and necessary work, the Nobel committee is the latest perpetrator of this false narrative that removing chemical weapons solves the Syrian problem.
The death toll in Syria continues to rise as Bashar Assad takes full advantage of the breathing room he has negotiated through Russia. Assad sacrificed his chemical weapons to avert military action from the United States. The international community has done nothing to prevent the ongoing genocide of the Syrian people.
Make no mistake — genocide is in fact occurring in Syria. Over a year ago – long before chemical attacks, in an August 30, 2012 article in The Hill, Lori Handrahan, an international human rights and international law expert and professor from American University, made it clear that “Genocide is happening now in Syria. Criteria appear to be met solely, but not exclusively, on Article 2 Section (e) of the Genocide Convention which focuses on children.”
In September, at a New York UN week event commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Rwanda genocide, two of the world's foremost experts on genocide, Elie Wiesel and former Rwanda President Paul Kagame were unequivocal in their belief that “'the American political… leadership had failed on Syria. Chemical gas was a trigger point for genocide and mass murder.'”
Yet the American people are being fed a steady stream of deception as the administration, the UN and OPCW patted themselves on the back over the past week and sadly praised Assad and the Syrian government for its supposed "cooperation" in eliminating its stockpile of chemical weapons.
The majority of Syrians are engaged in a lopsided war against a ruthless regime. The international community led by the hapless Obama administration is falling for the oldest trick of distraction in war. Assad and his military are keeping the world distracted while he continues to expunge the Syrian citizenry of its humanity.
Secretary Kerry did little to reaffirm a commitment to the administration's "strategic goal" of ending the Assad regime when on October 7 he stated that, “We're very pleased with the pace of what has happened with respect to chemical weapons in a record amount of time … I think that was a terrific example of global cooperation. I think it's also credit to the Assad regime for complying rapidly as they are supposed to.”
Where is the indignation that thousands more have died since the President stepped off the use of military force against Assad? Where is the tough talking Kerry who rightly called Assad's actions genocidal in September? In fact, no one seems to care that the very neighborhood of tens of thousands beset by the chemical attack in August when 1,400 died is now being starved into oblivion with no food and water and on the precipice of a massacre.
The OPCW did no better when, on October 9, their Director General Ahmet Uzumcu, asserted that Syria's “'cooperation has been quite constructive, and I will say that the Syrian authorities have been cooperative.”
Assad is playing the world for fools. Giving away a stockpile that no one can confirm in his full war chest of chemical weapons to get enough space to eliminate his opposition – to quite literally starve or obliterate those looking to step out from under the boot of this brutal regime.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Samantha Powers, a former activist on genocide and human rights who paradoxically wrote a book on how to prevent genocide, had the gall this weekend to declare that the president had used every tool in his toolbox to fight the Assad regime. The administration hasn't even bothered to articulate a strategy for Syria let alone activate tools that would actually bring an end to the decimation of an entire citizenry.
The UN declared this week that they expect upwards of five million Syrian refugees by early 2014. That is approximately 1/5of the Syrian population. Death tolls will likely reach 250,000 by mid-2014 if not far more. While Assad's chemical weapons are concerning for all, they hardly scratch the surface of what we need to fear with an unbridled Syria and client to Iran.
We cannot let the façade of chemical depot movements change the reality of evil on the ground in Syria. Empty books and words on genocide by our UN ambassador and verbal platitudes of outrage from the leader of the free world aside, America's inaction in Syria is a stark sign of an Obama administration which has no moral courage.
History will show that the Obama administration's obvious indifference to the moral challenge of the war crimes of the Syrian military will leave a legacy of moral indifference and, in fact, capitulation to evil.
Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser is the president of the Phoenix-based American Islamic Forum for Democracy, founded in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the United States as an effort to provide an American Muslim voice advocating for the preservation of the founding principles of the United States Constitution, liberty and freedom, through the separation of mosque and state. He is the author of Battle for the Soul of Islam. Dr. Jasser served 11 years as a medical officer in the U. S. Navy and was Staff Internist for the Office of the Attending Physician to the U.S. Congress. Jasser was the narrator of Clarion Project's film "The Third Jihad" about the threat of Islamic extremism in the U.S.