It's time the West joins Russia in protecting Christians in the Middle East
The author is a licensed clinical psychologist and long-time activist for progressive causes, who lives and practices in New York.
He wrote this article specially for RI
The massacre of Syrian Christians in Kessab by "moderate" terrorists, backed by the Turkish Military in 2014, is only one example. Despite the truly heroic efforts of a re-Christianized Russia to protect them, these Syrian Christians continue to be killed and even crucified by “moderate” and “extremist” Muslim terrorists alike.
Yet no one in the West is talking about it. NO ONE! Not Obama. Not the Republicans. Not the "liberal" media. Not Fox News. No one in public life. Not even Donald Trump.
It's downright criminal!
Everyone in Washington would like the American people to think that Syria is a Muslim nation. And everyone there is a Muslim. There are no Christians in Syria to save. So the US and NATO can do what they please to the Muslims who remain. They’re untermenschen, after all.
It's a lie! A damned lie! The neocons might call it a "noble lie." But it's a lie nonetheless.
Christians Safe Under Assad
Before the Arab Spring opened the door to Muslim terrorists--fueled by Saudi money and American weapons - millions of Syrian Christians had lived in peace and safety with their Muslim neighbors since Biblical times. Indeed large Syrian cities, such as Antioch, are among the first Christian communities to be named in the New Testament.
Perhaps it took a ruthless tyrant to keep the peace at times. And certainly Assad is a ruthless one. (Witness his torturing Al Qaeda "suspects" for George Bush.) But at least in Syria there was a stable peace between Christians and Muslims under Assad's secular dictatorship, as evidenced by the fact that Syria boasted no less than 1.8 million Christians before the Arab Spring began in 2011. Yes, Christians lived in peace and safety.
This is a matter of historical fact. And it is rooted in a once powerful movement, called Arab nationalism, which once included the likes of Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt. As the name applies, the unifying concept behind this nationalist movement that emerged in many Middle East countries after WWII was that all religious groups should be protected and respected (even as taught by the Koran) such that people of all faiths would come to see themselves as proud and equal members of their shared motherland: be they Syrians or Egyptians. For only then--as one united nation--could they throw off colonial rule.
In short, the answer Arab nationalism offered to the colonial powers' dictum of "divide and conquer" was: unite and fight back!
The Western Powers were dead opposed. Forget the will of the people! Even the will of the American people. Our rulers "knew better" than we did what we really wanted. And that was cheap oil--whatever the cost in "lesser" people's lives. Only Arab nationalism stood in the way. So the Western powers had to crush it. And crush it they did--starting with Iran.
Talk about what goes around comes around! When Mohammad Mosaddegh became Iran's first freely elected Prime Minister in 1951 (in a wave of Persian nationalism), he became Time's "Man of the Year" that year. But this triumph of democracy didn't last very long. When Mosaddegh moved to nationalize British Petroleum's assets in Iran so as to use Iran's own oil to lift her people out of poverty, Eisenhower instantly ordered the CIA to stage a coup, called Operation Ajax, that ended the secular Republic of Iran—and restored the hated Shah, with his dreaded secret police, once more to power.
So what if the US-backed Shah tortured, jailed, and murdered tens of thousands of freedom-loving Iranians to maintain his nearly 50-year rule? BP got its oil fields back. And the Iranian people got oppression.
That's been the pattern of American foreign policy ever since. NEVER have we replaced a "bad" regime with a functioning democracy--though that's what the American people are always told is our goal going in. We are selflessly "spreading democracy" to nations with... well... mineral wealth. (Like Afghanistan with its vast rare earth deposits.)
Assad in the Crosshairs
And now Assad is in the crosshairs. Not because he is a brutal dictator. Which he is. But what of that? Our Presidents kiss Saudi monarchs, after all--though the Saudis behead and crucify adults and even children every year by the score. [Insert photo of Bush kissing Saudi King here.] And our servile media don't condemn those atrocities.
No, "Assad must go" because he's the last Arab Nationalist still standing. And he wants the benefits of Syrian oil given to the Syrian people. So off with his head!
Yes, it's true that when the Arab Spring reached Syria, a few hundred secular Syrians took to the streets, calling for free elections. Just as the Russians are calling for free elections in Syria now. Not that the Western media would report it. But it's a fact. The Russians aren't saying that Assad must remain President forever. They're saying: Let the Syrian people decide who will be their next President in a free, fair election that includes Assad. But then honest polls show that Assad would win such an election. So the White House and Wall Street say: "No!" That's giving the Syrian people too much freedom! Assad must NOT be on the ballot. Otherwise all that Syrian oil might wind up in the hands of... Syrians!
Meanwhile, since the terrorists have swept the secularists aside, Christian Syrians--long protected by Assad—are now being "disappeared" by the millions. By the millions! Of the 1.8 million Christians that lived peacefully under Assad before the Arab Spring, only 2-400,000 Christians still live in intact communities in Syria today. The rest are either dead or fled--we know not where.
Yet the servile Western media is totally silent about these Christians. Until the deeply Christian Putin [Insert Putin photo with Patriarch of Moscow here.] began attacking the terrorists in earnest, the West has been content to play at attacking those terrorists NOT attacking Assad, as evidenced by the fact that of the 59,015 sorties flown against “extreme” terrorists, only 8,573 actually dropped any bombs or missiles. Terrorists who do attack Assad, on the other hand, get advanced weapons and training from the US--even if those terrorists belong to Al Qaeda or are allied with Al Qaeda. The very terrorists who brought us 9/11.
But what does the 1% care if Obama teams up with disguised forms of Al Qaeda so long as Assad is ousted? And Big Oil gets to build its "dream" pipeline from the stolen oilfields of Syria and Iraq through Turkey to Europe--cutting out "evil" Russia. And once Syria is "done," the CIA can use these same Islamists to start biting off chunks of Southern (Muslim) Russia. Even if it means WWIII. Followed by nuclear winter. And the end of the American people.
The White House, of course, maintains that only the Islamic State (which the Saudis and the US jointly created) wants to chop off Christian heads. Whereas those who pal around with Al Qaeda are "moderates" now. And though they also chop off heads, they do so "moderately." So what do Syrian Christians have to fear from them? A lot--if the Syrian Christians of Kessab are any example. But who's heard of them? The Western mainstream media don't report such war crimes.
A Call to Action to Protect Syrian Christians
So it's time we put Obama's own Christianity to the test. Make him stop the genocide of Syrian Christians now! Though as many as 1.6 million Syrian Christians may already be dead, that would still leave 200,000 Syrian Christians left alive that he could save today. What's stopping him? If Obama wants to use his "moderate" terrorists to remove Assad, let him first demand that these terrorists take a religiously-binding vow that they shall always protect the lives and rights of all Syrian Christians.
For Syrian Christians do exist, I assure you. But there's a genocide being waged against them even now by "moderate" and "extremist" terrorists alike. And if Assad is finally ousted--except in a free and fair election where Assad is on the ballot--there will be a total bloodbath of those Christians who still survive. Syria will be worse than Rwanda. And the next President—unless he knows of this hidden genocide-- will let this crime against humanity go on. Just as Bill Clinton knowingly let the Rwandan genocide go on--while the servile Western media stood silent. Because the 1% didn't care about 800,000 Tutsis being hacked to death by machetes back then. And the 1% doesn't care about the 1.6 million Syrian Christians who've been "disappeared" by the "moderate" and "extremist" terrorists already--like those Syrian Christian villagers of Kessab.
How long will this lethal silence last? As with every genocide, so here. "Silence = Death" for all those Syrian Christians who remain.
Yet you the reader can still play a vital role in forcing Obama to save these Syrian Christians. By talking to your family and friends. By speaking to your pastor, priest, or rabbi. By calling your Senators and Congressmen. By writing the Pope (whether you're Catholic or not). And by contacting Syrian Churches--like the Syrian Church of Antioch--right here in America.
While the servile mainstream media will deny that a Christian genocide is even taking place, our alternative media like Russia Insider can be counted on to keep us informed as to who is doing what to stop it. But only if we give these sites the political and financial support they need to keep functioning. The fight to save these Syrian Christians must be waged on many fronts at once--beginning now and here.