August 8, 2011

UNICEF to Fund Syria While Assad Crushes Dissent

Commentary Magazine
08.05.2011 - 4:26 PM

The United Nations Security Council issued another statement yesterday calling for an end to the violent repression of protests in Syria by government forces. Oddly enough, the Assad regime found itself in partial compliance with that request by the end of the day by virtue of the fact its army appeared to have completely wiped out all traces of opposition in the city of Hama. According to the New York Times, Syria’s state-run media broadcast footage of the ruins of the city in the aftermath of the armored assault on Hama that began last Sunday. Hundreds of civilians were apparently killed in the crackdown that reestablished the personal rule of the Assad clan and its Alawite-run regime in a town that was a wellspring of dissent.
As many as 2,000 persons may have been killed in the last few months as Assad’s henchmen fought back against Arab Spring protests against the authoritarian government. But despite the lip service paid to the international condemnation of Syria by the UN, the world body has been preparing to help fund the “reforms” the regime has planned to help perpetuate its rule.
Fox News reports UNICEF, the UN agency that American children are still hectored into raising money for on Halloween, is planning on continuing its aid for Syrian government programs. According to a document that will be presented to the agency’s board next month, the head of UNICEF, former Clinton administration staffer Anthony Lake, has approved the extension of the aid scheme that buttresses the regime.

This hypocritical “dual-track” UN approach to Syria shows just how little the world body actually cares about human rights. While few believed a UN statement of opposition to Assad’s bloody repression would carry much weight, the fact UNICEF is going ahead with aid to support the dictator’s “reforms” while Syrians are being murdered by their government on the streets of Hama illustrates the fecklessness of the United Nations

.Just as troubling is another report  Turkey has seized an Iranian arms shipment intended for Damascus. Apparently, a convoy of trucks crammed with Iranian arms on its way to delivery to the Syrian government was seized in southeastern Turkey earlier this summer.
Even as UNICEF squanders charitable donations on programs designed to prop up the government in Damascus, the Iranians are making their own investment in the longevity of the Assad regime. While Secretary of State Clinton has recently found her voice on Syria and started to say what needed to be said about the violence and the need for Bashar Assad to vacate his office, the Iranians have been working to ensure their Syrian ally stays right where he is.
With the smoke clearing in the ruins of Hama, Iran as well as Assad both seem to have emerged from the fighting as victors. The Iranians have preserved their loyal ally who helps serve as a vital bridge between Tehran and its terrorist surrogates Hezbollah and Hamas.
The Obama administration has tended to treat the crisis in Syria as a minor human rights problem unworthy of much attention until recently. While stiff condemnations and threats of retaliation against Assad and his followers might have done some good months ago, the flurry of American statements in the last few weeks came just as the regime was flattening the opposition. The result is America’s prestige has been further diminished even as money raised in the United States in the guise of charitable donations finds its way to Assad’s tyrannical government.

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