THE BLOG
07/07/2011 11:02 am ET Updated Sep 06, 2011

Let There Not Be Another Hama

In February 1982, thousands of Syrians were ruthlessly massacred in Hama, under the direct orders of Hafez al-Assad. Twenty-nine years later, his heir is contemplating to follow in his father's footsteps. He has already killed thousands during the last three months of brutal crackdown on peaceful democracy activists. A few thousand more casualties doesn't matter to him and rightly so. What else can we expect from a tyrant? That is what he loves doing and will perform his duty well like the good dictator son of a dictator father. Unless the world stops him from doing that.

Where is the world? The glorious international community has remained largely silent on the issue. Except for an extremely watered down condemnatory statement that has yet to negotiate the dangerous curves of the UN security council. United States has mostly kept its silence even at a time when there have been massive casualties and human rights violations. Amnesty International is the only organization that has finally woken up to reality and has called for the referral of Syria to the International Criminal Court.

The statement is a step in the right direction but will have little, if any, impact on the Syrian crisis. The international community, especially the UN stalwarts, are not paying any attention. This is what has emboldened the Assad regime where he is even interpreting the global silence as a "license to kill."

Assad is enjoying ample support from some quarters especially from his brethren in Tehran and Beirut. Russia, by playing a villainous role in the security council, seems to have sided with him too. Israel also appears to be happy in keeping up with the Assad dynasty instead of seeing the development of a people's government. The enemy-we-know mantra trumps the claim of democracy worship.

Unfortunately, time is running out. It appears the international community will only take notice once the obedient son will accomplish the mission. It would be too late then. There would be dangerous repercussions for not only the neighbors of Syria but also for the entire world.

It is better to support the Syrians in their struggle for democracy now instead of issuing lame statements once the next Hama massacre is over. Syria's case needs to be handed over to the ICC at the very least. Any such process, however, will be vapid and vacuous if the perpetrators of the previous carnage are not taken to task. Rifaat al-Assad, who led the 1982 massacre, is living a luxurious life in London instead of paying for his sins. His real place, and that of his nephews Bashar and Maher, is in the Hague. The sooner the world sends them there, the better it would be for everyone.