The US must wake up to Putin and Assad's Syria massacre
Date: 2019-08-30 11:33
Encapsulating Vladimir Putin's disdain for political morality, Russian-Syrian axis warplanes destroyed a pediatric hospital in Syria this week.
It's just the tip of the iceberg. Hundreds of civilians are being killed as the axis burns its way through the Idlib Governorate. Isolating Turkey, once an obstacle to the offensive, the axis is now crushing the last major holdout of the Syrian rebellion.
But as this hospital strike and many others like it attest, Bashar Assad, Putin, and their colleague Ayatollah Khamenei of Iranian regime see maximized civilian suffering as a strategic opportunity to break the rebellion's morale. They have been enabled by extraordinary idiocy from the United Nations, which provides them targeting data on hospital and relief locations.
The Trump administration should be sanctioning Putin for his action here. But in the absence of that leadership, Congress should be holding Assad and Russia to account.
Sadly, that's not happening either. Legislation with bipartisan support, the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act, would create obstructions to Assad's access to Russian financial and military support. Named after a Syrian photographer who recorded evidence of mass atrocities in Assad's gulags, the bill deserves immediate passage. As Erica Hanichak of Americans for a Free Syria put it to me, "Now is the time for Leader Mitch McConnell to get the Caesar bill across the finish line and on to the president's desk. We must stop Assad's war crimes." McConnell's leadership is necessary for passage, as Rand Paul is blocking it, behaving like a puppet of Putin.