The revolt in Syria against Bashar Assad's regime took a terrible toll once more over the weekend. More than 100 people, including 32 children, were massacred in the town of Hula near Homs, and the number of dead is still rising. Since more than 13,000 people have been killed in Syria in the 14 months of the revolt, it would be pointless to talk of new "records" in the massacre being carried out by the regime against its citizens. No less superficial are the international reactions filled with empty verbiage and lacking the strength to yield a significant plan of action to remove the murderous regime.
The scope of the slaughter in Syria should be enough to justify purposeful action to show that the international community is not prepared to watch from the sidelines, all the while shaking off responsibility for the well-being of innocent civilians. Assad's regime is not a natural disaster that merely requires humanitarian aid to the victims. Just as the international community hastened to assist the military action to get rid of Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, just as the Arab countries found the political means to remove the Yemeni president, and just as Saddam Hussein's regime was brought down with force - now that the "Annan Peace Plan" backed by the United Nations has failed miserably to bring about change in Syria, it is no longer possible for the world body to make do with feeble declarations of censure.
The strategic considerations against taking military action in Syria are well known. So are the power struggles between the Western powers and Russia and China, which have so far prevented military intervention. However, the United Nations has the authority and capability to employ peacekeeping forces not merely as observers but also as a military force able to intervene.
This authority must be applied without delay. This is not only a matter of the human tragedy taking place in Syria. The violent clashes that have occurred in Lebanon, the danger to Turkey's security, and the hundreds of thousands of refugees who have fled to Turkey as well as to Jordan, along with the danger that Hezbollah will try to divert attention from Syria to Israel, all testify to just how easy it is to export the war in Syria to other countries.
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