Syrian tanks blast civilians in Homs

posted at 9:15 am on February 23, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

I recall when NATO considered it their business when Moammar Qaddafi threatened to do send tanks into the cities in Libya.  Bashar Assad has done so in Homs, pulverizing the city in order to dislodge a small force of rebels.  So far, NATO hasn’t even cleared its throat:

Syrian tanks pushed into a rebel stronghold in the battered city of Homs on Thursday and U.N.investigators accused President Bashar al-Assad’s government of crimes against humanity.

Rockets, shells and mortar rounds rained on the Baba Amrodistrict, where armed insurgents are holed up with terrified civilians, for the 20th day in a row, activists said. The Sunni Muslim quarters of Inshaat and Khalidiya also came under fire.

Homs-based activist Abu Imad said tanks had entered the Jobar area in the south of Baba Amro.

“Explosions are shaking the whole of Homs. God have mercy,” Abdallah al-Hadi said from the city, where more than 80 people, including two Western journalists and Syrian opposition citizen journalist Rami al-Sayed, were reported killed on Wednesday.

An American journalist, Marie Colvin, got killed in a bombardment earlier, as NBC reported yesterday:

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Thus far, the US response to this bombardment has been only to object to Colvin’s death and to hail the courage of war correspondents in the area. That’s a far cry from the interventionist reaction of Barack Obama to the outbreak of civil war in Libya, which was a nominal trading partner for some NATO countries and somewhat more cooperative with the West than Assad. If Obama felt the need to intervene in Libya under the concept of protecting civilians from massacre (remember the doctrine that the international community had a duty to intervene based on the “responsibility to protect“?), then why hasn’t Obama acted to stop Assad?  Colvin’s near-final words from Syria make it plain that a massacre is under way:

“It is shelling with impunity and merciless disregard of the civilians who cannot escape.”

Don’t get me wrong; I think we were too hasty to launch a war in Libya against Qaddafi and that we will end up regretting that action when the dust clears and we see who holds power.  But Assad is not only at least as brutal a dictator as Qaddafi, he’s also much more hostile to the West (and to Israel) than Qaddafi ever was.  Qaddafi didn’t ally himself with the mullahs in Tehran and run their Hezbollah and Hamas proxy armies as Assad does, and Qaddafi didn’t keep an iron grip on Lebanon as Assad does to this day, where UN “peacekeepers” still remain to prevent Hezbollah from launching yet another attack on Israel.

As Newt Gingrich said last night, the message from the inconsistencies in Obama’s foreign policy is that it’s much more dangerous to be an ally of the US than an enemy.


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