This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- Suicide bombing in Hezbollah stronghold in Lebanon kills four
- Putin’s anti-gay campaign a high-risk appeal to Russia’s ‘traditional values’
- Western leaders sickened by Assad’s ‘industrial strength’ torture in Syria
- Syria report shows Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin guilty of war crimes
Suicide bombing in Hezbollah stronghold in Lebanon kills four
The aftermath of Tuesday’s bombing in Beirut, Lebanon (AP)
A suspected suicide bombing on Tuesday killed at least four people andwounded dozens of others in a Hezbollah stronghold south of Beirut,Lebanon’s capital city. The auto was a Kia Sportage that hadapparently been stolen for just this purpose. The Lebanon branch ofthe Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra Front), a Syria-based Sunni terroristgroup fighting Syria’s Bashar al-Assad regime, claimed responsibilityfor the bombing. According to one eye-witness,
“We saw a car that was speeding. The driver washonking like a mad man. Seconds later, we saw the explosion whichsent the vehicle flying up in the air.”
A year ago, it would have been unthinkable that a terrorist bombingcould occur in the heart of Hezbollah’s stronghold in Beirut. TheHezbollah terrorist militia was too powerful, and their headquartersregion was too well guarded and protected.
But that was before April 30, when Hezbollah leader Sayyed HasanNasrallah gave a televised speech saying that Hezbollah wouldmilitarily enter the fight in Syria on the side of the regime ofSyria’s president Bashar al-Assad. Nasrallah reluctantly agreed toenter the Syrian war after being commanded to do so by his Iranianmasters. ( “27-Sep-13 World View — How Hezbollah’s reluctant foray into Syria changed the Mideast”) Al-Assad is a Shia/Alawite, conducting sectarianviolence against Sunnis, while Hezbollah is a Shia organization underthe control of a Shia country, Iran.
Since then, there have been half a dozen car bombings in theHezbollah-controlled region of Beirut, starting with a July 9 car bombing. Tuesday’s bombing is thesecond one to occur in this month alone. Daily Star (Beirut) and Foreign Policy
Putin’s anti-gay campaign a high-risk appeal to Russia’s ‘traditional values’
Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has made international news recentlyfor his bizarre statements in response to questions about gay peopleattending the Sochi Olympics. On the one hand, he smiles warmly andsays that they’re all welcome and there will be no discriminationagainst them. But then he adds, “But stay away from the kids!”
The strategy behind this campaign is to overcome the problems with amore standard appeal to Russian nationalism, which could lead toviolence and threaten his power, as illustrated by the recent andrepeated extremely xenophobic violence between ethnic Russians andRussian citizens from the North Caucasus (Russia’s southernprovinces).
Putin, who has been losing popularity, is appealing instead tosomething a little different: the defense of “traditional values,” aloosely defined mixture of ideas, including opposition to secularism,homosexuality, and gender equality; support for hierarchical powerrelations; deference to authority; and social discipline. Moreinteresting is the fact that he feels that people abroad who share hisdistaste for the extension of rights to formerly excluded groups likegays will look to Moscow as a defender of their values and thus helpthe Russian government bring pressure on their countries.
As aresult, he’s received expressions of support from some of the morewell-known far-right politicians in Europe, including Marie le Pen ofFrance, anti-immigrant activist Geert Wilders of the Netherlands,British National Party leader (and Holocaust denier) Nick Griffin, andMateusz Piskorski, an openly anti-Semitic leader of Poland’s populistagrarian and nationalist Samoobrona (Self-Defense) party.
However, this approach to “traditional values” could harm hisreputation as a modernizer and may cause many Russian nationalistsinside Russia to view Putin’s cooperation with such radicals in theWest as a signal that they are free to push similar ideas, a step thatcould trigger more violence there. Jamestown/Paul Goble
Western leaders sickened by Assad’s ‘industrial strength’ torture in Syria
Emaciated man showing wounds from repeated beatings by rod-like object. There are 55,000 photos like this, showing 11,000 corpses
Western officials are reacting with “horror” at a new report thatdetails how officials in the regime of Syria’s president Basharal-Assad used electrocution, eye-gouging, strangulation, starvation,and beating on prisoners on a massive “industrial strength” scale.
The report is backed up by 55,000 photos showing about 11,000 menexhibiting these signs of torture. They were similar to the imagesfound in Nazi death camps after World War II and show that al-Assadis guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The report was prepared by three top war crimes prosecutors. Theprosecutors spent several days with a defector who had been a militaryphotographer in the al-Assad regime for 12 years and whose job hadbeen to photograph these corpses after they had been tortured andkilled. Al-Assad had demanded photographs of the dead corpses out ofdistrust of his own officials so that he would have proof that thekillings had actually taken place.
And this was only the tip of the iceberg, as these 55,000 photos camefrom just one location out of many where such torture tookplace. This one photographer photographed almost 20 bodies every day,suggesting that there was “torture for pleasure” on a massive scale.
A Syrian spokesman asked to respond didn’t actually deny that thetorture had taken place, but he questioned the source of the photos and claimed that Qatar, which had provided the funding for the report,was also guilty of war crimes.
A Russian spokesman asked to respond didn’t actually deny that thetorture had taken place, but he said that things like that alwayshappen in a civil war and suggested that the entire matter beturned over to the United Nations Security Council, presumably so thatthe Russians could use their veto power to bury it.
As I’ve said in the past, Bashar al-Assad is the greatest genocidalmonster in today’s world, comparable to Hitler, Pol Pot and Stalin.Al-Assad is literally killing thousands of Syrian civilians every weekwith complete impunity, using Russian-supplied barrel bombs oncivilian neighborhoods. And he’s used sarin chemical weapons oncivilians. There is no weapon of mass destruction, nor any gruesomeform of torture, to satisfy his psychopathy. This shows that al-Assaduses the most gruesome forms of torture on a personal, individualscale, as well as on a mass scale. And the Obama administration isindirectly supporting al-Assad through Russia. BBC andCNN and Full Report (PDF)
Syria report shows Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin guilty of war crimes
The Syria report shows that Bashar al-Assad is guilty of war crimes.But the same report also shows that Russia’s president VladimirPutin is also guilty of war crimes.
This is because in 2012 a United Nations war crimes tribunalconvicted Liberia’s former president Charles Taylor of war crimes conducted in the war in neighboringSierra Leone. The prosecutor was unable to prove that Taylor himselfhad ordered the war crimes–genocide, rape, torture, etc. But theprosecutor did prove that Taylor had sold weapons to rebels whocommitted the war crimes, thus making Taylor guilty of war crimeshimself.
Based on that 2012 decision, the new Syria report clearly implicatesVladimir Putin as a war criminal. He didn’t order the genocide andtorture conducted by the Bashar al-Assad regime, but he’s providedunlimited supplies of weapons to carry out that genocide and torture,and he’s very well aware of how those weapons are being used.Reuters (2012)
KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Lebanon, Beirut, Hezbollah,Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Nusra Front, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah,Syria, Bashar al-Assad, Iran,Russia, Vladimir Putin, Charles Taylor