Assad and Putin: Symbiotic pair of bloodthirsty criminals
It remains a mystery to me how Russia can still be allowed to function as one of the major members of the UN Security Council in light of its involvement in Syria.
When Russia and China used their veto power to prevent the passage of resolutions that may have relieved the suffering of the Syrian people during the early years of the Syrian revolution, I chalked it up to a matter of Russia and China profiting from the sale of arms to Syria and wondered at the ethics of allowing nations that profit from another nation’s persecution of its own people to block humanitarian efforts to come to their aid.
At the time I was ignorant of the long standing relationship between the Assad regime and Russia that dated back to before the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Even so, it is hard for anyone who has watched events in Syria close enough to observe the symbiotic relationship between Assad and Putin to understand how the two of them can be allowed to commit war crime after war crime right under the collective noses of the international community and never once be held to account in any meaningful way.
Russia’s aerial intervention in Syria in 2015 only added to what was already a huge exodus of mostly civilians running from the intentional targeting of civilian areas by helicopters and warplanes.
Although both Putin and Assad deny that they target civilians, the evidence is overwhelming and irrefutable.
And even as their intervention serves to escalate the humanitarian crisis that is affecting the entire world, Russia has refused to contribute its fair share towards UNHCR efforts to provide humanitarian relief for the refugees they have helped to create.
In addition, Russian authorities have consistently denied asylum to those Syrians who have applied.
And it’s not as if many of those Syrians don’t already have a connection to Russia.
When Russia deported many Russian Circassians to the Ottoman Empire in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many Circassians ended up settling in Syria.
As the armed conflict in Syria began moving into their neighborhoods, many of Syria’s more than 100,000 Circassians fled the country. More than 1,000 of them returned to their roots in Russia and applied for asylum.
Last May, Sky News found that Russia has granted full asylum status to only two Syrians since the conflict began in 2011.
It is obvious that Putin delights in driving Syrians out of their homeland so that they can become somebody else’s problem, a problem that he addresses in Russia by secretly deporting asylum seekers back to those who are trying to kill them
Others like Aleppo native Sabri Koro, who has a Russian wife and child, are being held in detention centers indefinitely, and being threatened with deportation back to Syria.
Koro has not been allowed to see his wife or child and neither he nor any of the other asylum seekers currently detained have any idea if or when they will ever be released.
He says that Russian migration officials rejected his asylum request on the basis that he has failed to provide his family with "manly and fatherly care.”
I can’t help but wonder if Putin views himself and Assad as stellar examples of men who provide “manly and fatherly care” even as they drop bombs on innocent children in what should be the safety of their own homes and schools.
Other Syrian asylum seekers in Russia said they received standardized rejection letters stating that their requests for asylum had been denied on the grounds that Syria was “safe” because Assad controlled more than 50 percent of the country.
Granted Putin’s human rights violations are not reserved for Syria alone. His record of human rights violations in Russia is also abominable which again gives rise to questions about the wisdom of allowing him to abuse the privileges of being a permanent member of the UNSC in order to protect a spurious dictator responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of his own people.
As frustrating at that has been for human rights activists concerned about protecting the people of Syria, at least we were given a glimmer of hope that justice may eventually prevail when the UN General Assembly failed to renew Russia’s seat on the UN Human Rights Council on October 28 on the grounds that countries that commit human rights atrocities have no moral right to hold a seat on the Human Rights Council.
With the predictable arrogance we have come to expect from Assad as well as Putin, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin told reporters that he is confident that Russia will be given back its seat in the Human Rights Council next year.
One has to wonder at the source of Churkin’s confidence in light of the fact that the 87 international human rights organizations and NGOs who played a crucial role in seeing that Russia’s seat on the Human Rights Council was not renewed this year have no plans of ignoring its continuing violations of all that said Council stands for.
The crisis in Syria has been stripping the United Nations of its credibility for more than five and a half years mainly due to the effectiveness of the manipulative tactics of both Putin and Assad.
In the meantime, we continue to wait for someone with enough “manly and fatherly care” to stand up to the symbiotic pair of bloodthirsty criminals who have been arrogantly dropping bombs on the children of Syria even as they lie through their teeth and claim they are not.