On Leadership: You cannot command the high ground when you are making camp in the low ground of life
As reported today in the New York Times, Syrian opposition leaders (Syrian rebels) just handed the Syrian government a big victory. As documented in a report also issued today by Human Rights Watch, Syrian rebels are now being blamed for and linked directly to more than 190 killings -- of civilians -- throughout Syria. Another 200 civilians are presently being held hostage by rebels.
These are crimes against humanity, and my guess is, those who committed these crimes will be held accountable, assuming of course they can be found and identified. But the rebel forces cannot lay claim that President Assad and the Syrian government are oppressing and brutalizing the nation and her civilian population (which I believe to be true), when the rebel forces are doing the same. Two wrongs, don't make a right, as my mother use to say.
There are only three even remotely logical reasons for an otrosity such as this by the rebel forces (none of them justifiable I might add):
- The Syrian rebels are the bad guys, and the Syrian government has been the victim of in every large misunderstanding. I do not believe this to be true.
- The Syrian rebels are taking revenge on those they believe loyal to, and complicit with the Syrian government. This cannot be true. One cannot draw innocent citizens into the heart of war, simply because they happen to live on the wrong side of the tracks, so to speak.
- These crimes are not actually being committed by the Syrian rebels that took arms to topple Assad and the Syrian government, and to make them accountable for their actions against the people. They are being committed 'in their name.'
I believe that the final outlined option is mostly true. That jihadist and other finatics and radicals, aligned more with the Taliban than with any legitimate rebellion, are the ones who are now coming into Syria, from other neighboring countries, and themselves committing these crimes against humanity. Why? To destabilize the entire country (and region), to drive western interests out, and to turn international public opinion back toward Assad.
The legitimate rebel factions in Syria may soon find themselves waging a three part war -- against the Syrian government, against foreign fighters mascarading as legitimate rebels, and the fight for Syria's future, and freedom.
Meanwhile, the rebels I a sure find themselves outgunned, out numbered and occassionally overwhelmed -- and them comes this. But, this is the very nature of leadership itself. Leaders emery in response to crisis, and tough decisions, not in the comfort of our living rooms, nor painless success.
For those legitimate Syrian freedom fighters, know that the world is with you, still.
For those mascarading as freedom, you may soon find that not only are you not fighting for it, you may soon lose your own.