Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Assuming the “Alawite revenge” narrative about the Houla massacre is true….

There is a new, and quite plausible, alternative narrative that has emerged these past two days which describes the Houla massacre as Alawite retaliation for an earlier massacre committed by armed Sunni oppositionists against the Alawite village of al-Shoumariyeh.

According to many unconfirmed reports, vengeful and armed villagers and /or shabiha retaliated for the massacre by butchering villagers from the neighbouring village of Houla. Apparently, the artillery rounds the Syrian army fired at rebel-controlled Houla was an attempt to end the bloodshed in Shamariyeh, or something to that effect. How the perpetrators of the massacre entered a rebel stronghold and executed such a large massacre unimpeded remains to be seen.

Although some claim the al-Shoumariyeh massacre occurred after the Houla massacre, the Syrian news agency, SANA, reports that “foreign-funded armed terrorist groups” committed massacres in al-Shoumariyeh and Taldao on Friday, 25 May, at 2:00 p.m. Considering that the Houla massacre is widely reported to have commenced around 3 p.m. that same day, it does appear that the Houla massacre occurred after the first two, or around the same time. None of this confirms the new narrative, but it doesn’t undermine it either.

While the details are still very murky, the UN seems to have caught on to this story, or some related version thereof, as its -peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous recently declared ”There is strong suspicion that the Shabiha were involved in this tragedy in Houla.” Russia has given its blessing to a UN investigation into the incident.

Like any of the narratives about the Houla massacre, the above story has not been substantiated by any evidence, least of all the dominant narrative which places the blame squarely on the Syrian regime. I only chose to comment on this alternative narrative because I deemed it more plausible than the latter, and hence, worthy of commentary, but it remains a narrative not a fact.

I don’t necessarily deem it the most probable explanation for what happened in Houla on May 25, given how much the massacre served US-NATO-GCC interests. What I am arguing here though, is that even if we assume that this Alawite revenge narrative is true, that should not implicate the Syrian regime in the massacre.

I wrote a short post a few days ago on why I thought it highly unlikely the “regime” would commit an atrocity like this. I still stand by my analysis, despite the materialization of this new narrative. When I said regime, I actually meant the Syrian army, as all fingers were initially pointed at it. I didn’t/ still don’t think it makes any sense for a conventional armed force with a clear chain of command to subject itself to charges of war crimes—which is much easier to make when there is a clear-cut  organizational hierarchy and hence, accountability, not to mention potential refusniks and defectors given the heinous nature of the crime— in a context of overwhelming international pressure and when the entire world is watching every move and mismove it makes. While I am aware that the shabiha constitute the state’s “unofficial” arm, (some compare it to Iran’s basij), I still deem it highly improbable that the Assad leadership would order shabiha to carry out a killing rampage on its behalf in a Sunni village it had already shelled, for the same reasons I outlined in my earlier post: it stands everything to lose and nothing to gain. And no,  the “gain” of terrorizing the villagers and rebels into submission (assuming that is even an effective method of reasserting control) just doesn’t outweigh all the risks that accompany such a tactic. It is much more probable, that these armed elements acted out of revenge of their own accord, as revenge massacres often are.  

As for the argument by opposition supporters and others, which regards the regime as being ultimately responsible for all violence, irrespective of its source, the fact remains that this is a government which no longer has full control of its territory, or a monopoly on the use of violence. Indeed, it is precisely for this reason that it’s trying to retrieve sovereignty over its land by the force of arms, and in so doing, exposing itself to often unfounded accusations of wide-scale repression, killing and war crimes.  

At the end of the day, what we have in Syria is a situation characterized by sectarian warfare, armed insurrection, al-Qaeda terrorism and blatant NATO-GCC intervention —hardly the ingredients of a strong centralized government which can be held to account for every act of violence that takes place on Syrian soil. 

One can only wait for an impartial and objective inquiry before jumping to make predetermined conclusions which only serve the agenda of those pushing for a NATO invasion of Syria. 

So much political capital is being made out of this inconceivably evil massacre: Both France and the US have now expressed their willingness for military intervention in Syria as a result of this atrocity, which Kofi Annan has rightly labelled it a “tipping point” in the conflict. Uncovering the perpetrators is therefore imperative not only for justice to be served but also for averting a wider regional war. 


  1. Please be aware this article include what now parties spreading to ignite civil war these simple narrative is very dangerous and misleading.

    This type of killing tactic adopted by terrorist group with radical ideology based on killing other parties not adopt their thoughts this thing not adopted by the mass majority of Sunnis (Muslim Brotherhood execluded) , beside that Shiet , Alwait not adopting the doctrine of atonement

    This type of killing tactics found in Algeria Kosovo Iraq by radical islamist(Whabi & Salafi)

    It is worth to mention that such this model of killing also committed by death squads for specific purpose this what happened in Guatemala,Honduras, Salvador , Nicaragua , Yugoslavia , Iraq , Libya.and this what happening in Syria.

    Please please do not be a part of this roaming
    the people killed are Sunnies,Alawit, Sheit killed by the same hand.

    It is worth to mention that the massacrescommitted against all parties
    - 120 law enforcement member killed savagely in Jisr Alshoghour 90% of the are Alwit

    - the Massacre of Baba Amr was against Sunnis

    - Christians in Homs killed and forced to leave their neighborhoods

    So how commit these massacre and issue acquisitions is trying to destroy the country.

    please refer to the following

  2. [1] Amal Saad-Ghorayeb writes, “Both France and the US have now expressed their willingness for military intervention in Syria as a result of this atrocity…”

    Can we please stop using this word “intervention”? Did the USA “intervene” in Iraq? Did NATO “intervene” in Libya? In Afghanistan? Did Israel “intervene” in Gaza during “Operation Cast Lead”? Or during Israel’s 2006 attack on Lebanon? Did the USA “intervene” on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

    The Western corporate media uses “intervene” as a euphemism for all-out attack. I reject the media’s false narrative.

    [2] Amal Saad-Ghorayeb writes that the Syrian government is, “Trying to retrieve sovereignty over its land by the force of arms, and in so doing, exposing itself to often unfounded accusations of wide-scale repression, killing and war crimes.”

    I disagree. The Syrian government is trying to protect the Syrian people from Western-backed terrorists. Syria's people know that if the West succeeds in getting regime change, then Sunni extremists will massacre every Alawite, Kurd, and Christian they find. They may even massacre Palestinians in Syria, and perhaps the Jews too (Damascus has a Jewish community that is protected by Assad, just as Iran gives special protection to its 25,000 Jews).

    We saw such massacres in Libya, perpetrated by Western-backed Benghazi terrorists, while NATO rained bombs and missiles.

    In any case, the Western / Israeli / GCC Arab goal is total domination of the region from Lebanon to Pakistan, plus all nations in between (Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan).

    [2] On 29 May 2012, UN observers found thirteen corpses in Deir el-Zour province, eastern Syria. The victims had been blindfolded and shot in the head at close range, execution-style, with their hands tied behind their backs. A video posted online showed the victims lying face down, pools of dried blood under their heads.

    Curiously, the Western media has not (yet) claimed that Syria’s government did this.

    [3] The massacre near Houla should not surprise us, given the savagery of Western-backed terrorists. We’ve seen this in Libya and Iraq, in El Salvador and Nicaragua and Somalia. During the Algerian Civil War, Western-backed Islamists murdered almost 200,000 men, women, and children over an 11-year period, in which the terrorists slipped into villages at night, and cut the throats of every man, woman, and child in the village.

    [4] My own reading of the Houla massacre is that it did not happen at 2:00 pm or 3:00 pm, as Mr. Amal Saad-Ghorayeb assumes, but late at night. The terrorists mounted a nine-hour siege of Syrian police stations, which ended about 11:00 pm. Then the terrorists burst into the houses of their victims and mass-executed them, many with knives to their throats.

    I doubt the Alawite Shabiha would cut the throats of young children, no matter how enraged the Shabiha might be. That kind of atrocity is perpetrated by Sunni Islamists brought into Syria from abroad.

    We will know more in the coming days.

  3. This so-called "alternative" narrative sounds like a contrived fall-back story that America and its NATO/UN stooges are promoting through back channels now that people are questioning their Houla Massacre hysteria blaming the Syrian government.

    More importantly, this fall-back story conveniently ignores the reality that the USA, Great Britain, and their proxies like Turkey, Saudi America, Qatar, and Israel are criminally supporting the Sunni terrorists like Al-Queda that have committed atrocities in Syria similar to Houla.

    SYRIA: Killing Innocent Civilians as part of a US Covert Op. Mobilizing Public Support for a R2P War against Syria