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UN and Arabs Whitewash Atrocities of Bashar Assad, Instead Blame - Guess Who?

by Bassam Tawil for The Gatestone Institute - 04.07.23


The League of Arab States (LAS), which represents 22 member countries, has spent several decades issuing statements of condemnation against Israel. Each time Israel launches a counterterrorism operation in response to Palestinian terrorism, including rockets fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel and shooting, stabbing and car-ramming attacks, it is denounced.


The same League of Arab States, however, has no problem embracing an Arab president whose regime has killed hundreds of thousands of Arabs, including Palestinians and Syrians, since the beginning of the civil war in Syria in 2011.

The LAS... has effectively whitewashed Syrian President Bashar Assad's atrocities against his own people and Palestinians.


Assad, in his speech before the Arab heads of state, ironically expressed hope that the summit would mark "the beginning of a new phase of Arab action for solidarity among us, for peace in our region, development and prosperity instead of war and destruction."

Here is an Arab leader, responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Arabs and the displacement of millions more, preaching about "peace, development and prosperity."


Saudi Arabia played a significant role in welcoming the Assad regime back to the League of Arab States. The Saudis have shown that they prefer to make peace with Assad than normalize their relations with Israel. Drastically cooling years of diplomatic efforts, the Saudis insist that until a Palestinian state has been established, the kingdom will not normalize ties with Israel. If the Saudis are so concerned about the Palestinians, why are they rushing to embrace an Arab dictator whose regime has killed thousands of Palestinians?


With no apparent preconditions for Assad, the League of Arab States is turning its back on more than 500,000 dead Syrians, nearly seven million Syrian refugees, and 13 million displaced Syrians.


According to UN Special Rapporteur, Alena Douhan, the sanctioning countries, including the US, would be interfering in Syria's right to murder its own people en masse. That would, indeed, be attempting to secure a very specific change in its policy. Wouldn't not chemically burning entire villages of civilians to death be a better human rights policy?


According to the UN's Douhan, in yet another report, it is not Assad who should be held accountable and punished with sanctions. It is not Assad who has destroyed Syria's infrastructure with bombing, murder, and overall devastation, but rather: "Israeli settlements... in the occupied Syrian Golan.... [have] limited the Syrian population's access to land and water, in violation of their rights to adequate housing, food and health....


The report also contained recommendations [that]... The international community should put in place punitive measures to put an end to these crimes. All dealings with settlers, settlements and the incumbent Prime Minister [Netanyahu] should cease."


The UN's concern over the Syrian people's rights to land and housing is commendable, but where was its outcry when Assad gave a quiet 30 days' notice to the seven million refugees scattered across the Middle East and beyond to prove ownership of their homes and property or to forfeit ownership? Assad's"Law 10" land grab... was met with not a whisper of protest by the UN.


According to Amnesty International: "In 2019, more than two-thirds of all refugees came from just five countries: Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Myanmar...." The Palestinians were not even mentioned.


The UN freely admits that: "The League of Arab States (LAS) shares a common mission with the United Nations (UN): promoting peace, security and stability by preventing conflict, resolving disputes and acting in a spirit of solidarity and unity.... building their engagement through capacity-building exercises and staff exchanges. The Security Council also has sought to strengthen interaction with the LAS...."


With such chummy comradery between these two organizations, including interchangeable staff, it is not a wonder that the UN has strategically placed despotic regimes in its councils and – as demonstrated in resolution after resolution -- taken such an aggressively biased stance against Israel.


After 12 years of what then US Secretary of State John Kerry in 2013 called the"moral obscenity" of Assad's "indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders by chemical weapons," the UN decries sanctions against the Assad regime, and the Arab League embraces Assad with great honor and not a word of censure.


The outrageous hypocrisy and double-standards of the Arab countries and the UN is astonishing -- and unacceptable. The League of Arab States pretends to care about its fellow Arabs, while its good friend, the UN, purports to care about human rights.


"Why has this [UN] Council chosen silence?" UN Watch's Hillel Neuer asked."Because Israel could not be blamed. Because, in truth, the despots who run this Council couldn't care less about Palestinians, or about any human rights. They seek to demonize Israeli democracy, to delegitimize the Jewish state, to scapegoat the Jewish people. They also seek something else: To distort and pervert the very language and idea of human rights."


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UN and Arabs Whitewash Atrocities of Bashar Assad, Instead Blame – Guess Who - by Bassam
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Bassam Tawil is a Muslim Arab based in the Middle East.


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