Shot in the back of the head while blindfolded, Syria’s rebel groups mirror the same barbaric beheadings and executions practiced by al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremist groups—the same ones that beheaded 39-year-old Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl Feb. 1, 2002 in Pakistan.
For those treated to firsthand video of al-Qaeda’s al-Shahab media wing, they know the barbarism, watching screaming heads dismembered from human bodies.
Conservatives in U.S. Congress, led by ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), have urged President Barack Obama to back militant groups against the Bashar al-Assad. Russia and China have warned the U.S. to avoid giving military support to any of the various Wahhabi Sunni groups trying to topple the Syrian government.
Russia and China see more terrorism, anarchy and carnage. Confirming Russia and China’s observations about rebel groups, new video shows ski-masked Wahhabi rebels killing Alawite Shiite member of al-Assad’s reigme execution-style in the public square.
Reminiscent of the brutality routinely practiced by the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Syria’s rebel groups now mirror al-Qaeda and other Islamic extremists. When you dig beneath the surface of the Syrian civil war, you find the same ethnic cleansing witnessed in the Balkans and other part of the Middle East and Africa.
Executing Syrian government officials in the Northern city of Raqqa controlled by al-Qaeda insurgents, the Islamic state of Iraq and al-Sham show the true nature of the Syrian civil war: A battle to purge Syria of Shiites and establish the Islamic state of Syria.
Syrian insurgents routinely condone beheadings and suicide bombings to achieve their political goals. Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, like his late father Haffez al-Assad, is a Baathist, the same authoritarian-socialist-secular philosophy practiced by Iraq’s late leader, Saddam Hussein.
“We respond to the criminal Bashar who is killing Sunnnis everywhere,” shouted a Wahhabi rebel with his bullhorn. “Now we decided to come close to God by killing those Alawites . . . “ showing firsthand the ethnic cleansing involved in Syria’s civil war.
While there’s no doubt that al-Assad’s regime has carried out similar atrocities trying to beat back the insurgency, it sounds a loud message to the White House and Capitol Hill that the U.S. should stay out of Syria.
“The fear of ethnic cleansing has increased among all populations of Syria and with good reason,” wrote University of Oklahoma Syria expert Joshua Landis. Landis believes that Sunni rebels are trying to wipe out the minority Shiite population.
Landis points to the real impetus behind Syria’s civil war: To rid the country of its Shiite minority. Since Sept. 11, former President George W. Bush’s doctrine of not aiding-or-abetting terrorists prevent the U.S. of backing radical groups, regardless of their cause.
“Sunnis claim today that this regime is effectively trying to clear many areas of Sunni inhabitants,” said Landis. Funded by Saudi Arabia, al-Assad has been battling various Wahhabi groups—including the radical Palestinian group Hamas—hoping to end Shiite rule in Syria.
During the battle of Raqqa, a rebel Sunni commander eviscerated a dead Shiite soldier with a knife, taking a bite out the dead man’s lung. “I swear to God we will eat your hearts and your livers, you soldiers of Bashar the dog,” said the Sunni rebel to the camera.
With barbarism that primitive, there’s no place for the U.S. to support any military action. McCain and other conservatives in Congress call for the U.S. to intervene militarily in Syria. No Syrian group—whether Shiite or Sunni—wants U.S. military assistance.
Responding to ongoing reports about escalating Syrian death rates, conservatives on Capitol Hill wish to end the bloodshed. Since the insurgency began March 11, 2011, opposition groups claim that al-Assad’s has killed more that 70,000 civilians.
Whatever the ancient hatreds between Sunnis and Shiites, the U.S. or its allies must learn a lesson from Iraq: That Mideast tribes need to resolve their own ethnic problems. Whatever pro-Western opposition groups fight to topple al-Assad, they’re eclipsed by the same virulent barbarism that seeks to establish Taliban-like Islamic states in the Middle East.
White House and Congressional officials need to heed Russia and China’s warning about the probable aftermath of toppling al-Assad. They see the same Islamic extremism and anarchy that has plagued other countries swept up in the “Arab Spring,” toppling the region’s most brutal and corrupt dictators.
“Two years ago, there was no such thing as decapitation, massacre & cannibalism in Syria,” wrote one al-Assad supporter on Twitter. “Today these barbaric acts are synonymous to the country,” attesting to the real reason why the U.S. must stay out of Syria.
Afghanistan and Iraq have taught the U.S. a bitter lesson: No matter how much the sacrifice, no good deed goes unpunished.
About the Author John M. Curtis writes politically neutral commentary analyzing spin in national and global news. He’s editor of OnlineColuumnist.com and author of Dodging The Bullet and Operation Charisma.