Syrians president Bashir Al Assad has epitomised brutality in his reign as president, perpetrating with impunity several fatalities around the country he took oath of office to protect, bringing him at par with dictators of the past which historians wish was fiction when they study and write about them e.g. Adolfus Hitler, Idi Amin, Mohammed Gaddafi most recently. Indeed we will struggle to convince our great grand children that Bashir Al Assad and all his predecessors perpetrated all these fatalities for a just course which they claim to be fighting.
But what really goes on in the mind of a leader when he puts the blood of the people he swore to protect as price for his throne, and sees nothing wrong with it? How does a leader like that sleep at night? Maybe when they start, they don’t envision that its going to get so bloody, and then later they feel they are too far in to go back. It is hard to think a leader will envision the pain and suffering of 60,000 of his citizens and go ahead with his plans.
When you look at all these pictures you will stuggle to believe this was done by their own leader. How do you reason with a man without conscience
What does one do when a civil war escalates to the class of world war. The war in syria has brought lots of questions to be asked to the world at large that has not found answers for 2years into the crisis.
But one thing is certain there is no place in the world for people that commit genocide.
President Barack Obama has confirmed the US is using unmanned aircraft to target suspected militants in tribal areas of Pakistan. He
defended the drone attacks, saying they made precision strikes and were kept on a “tight leash”. What are drones used for and how are
To the military, they are UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) or RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems). However, they are more commonly
known as drones.
Drones are used in situations where manned flight is considered too risky or difficult. They provide troops with a 24-hour “eye in the
sky”, seven days a week. Each aircraft can stay aloft for up to 17 hours at a time, loitering over an area and sending back real-time
imagery of activities on the ground.
Those used by the United States Air Force and Royal Air Force range from small intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance craft, some
light enough to be launched by hand, to medium-sized armed drones and large spy planes.
Although the US does not routinely speak publicly about operations involving drones, President Obama has confirmed that they regularly
strike suspected militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
The use of such unmanned aircraft in the area began under President George W Bush, but their use has more than doubled under the
Drones are seen by many in the military as delivering precision strikes without the need for more intrusive military action. However, they
are not without controversy.
Hundreds of people have been killed by the strikes in Pakistan – civilians as well as militants, causing outrage. One of the deadliest attacks
was in March 2011 when 40 were killed, many believed to be civilians at a tribal meeting.
Key drone types
Two of the medium-sized drones currently in use in Afghanistan and Pakistan are the MQ-1B Predator and the MQ-9 Reaper.
These strange-looking planes carry a wealth of sensors in their bulbous noses: colour and black-and-white TV cameras, image intensifiers,
radar, infra-red imaging for low-light conditions and lasers for targeting. They can also be armed with laser-guided missiles.
Each multi-million dollar Predator or Reaper system comprises four aircraft, a ground control station and a satellite link.
Although drones are unmanned, they are not unpiloted – trained crew at base steer the craft, analyse the images which the cameras send
back and act on what they see.
The base may be local to the combat zone or thousands of miles away – many of the drone missions in Afghanistan are controlled from
Creech air force base in Nevada, USA – although take-off and landing are always handled locally.
The MQ-1B Predator (formerly called the RQ-1 Predator) was originally designed as an aircraft for intelligence-gathering, surveillance,
identifying targets and reconnaissance.
However, since 2002 it has been equipped with two Hellfire II missiles, meaning it can strike at a range of up to 8km (five miles).
By contrast, the newer MQ-9 Reaper was conceived as a “hunter-killer” system.
It can carry four Hellfire missiles and laser-guided bombs such as Paveway II and GBU-12.
Its cruise speed is 370kph (230mph), much faster than the 217kph (135mph) of the Predator which is more vulnerable to being shot down
at low altitudes – although the drones would usually be flown above the range of most of the weapons available to the Taliban.
The US Army revealed in December that it was also developing new helicopter-style drones with 1.8 gigapixel colour cameras, which
promised “an unprecedented capability to track and monitor activity on the ground”.
Three of the A160 Hummingbird sensor-equipped drones are due to go into service in Afghanistan in either May or June this year.
The drones will take advantage of the Autonomous Real-time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance-Imaging System first or Argus-IS, which can
provide real-time video streams at the rate of 10 frames a second. The army said that was enough to track people and vehicles from
altitudes above 20,000 feet (6.1km) across almost 65 square miles (168 sq km).
The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is also working with the UK-based defence contractor BAE Systems to
develop a more advanced version of the Argus-IS sensor that will offer night vision.
It said the infrared imaging sensors would be sensitive enough to follow “dismounted personnel at night”.
British forces also use a variety of remotely piloted aircraft. The British Army has used the Hermes 450 UAV in Iraq and Afghanistan, as
well as smaller UAVs to help check for roadside bombs ahead of patrols.
The Hermes 450 is being upgraded to the Watchkeeper which, like the Reaper, can be armed. It is due to enter service in 2012.
The RAF also uses the higher-spec Reaper aircraft. In May last year, the RAF announced a new squadron of the drones would be
controlled for the first time from a UK base. The Reaper had previously been controlled by RAF crews in the US.
In July 2010, the UK Ministry of Defence unveiled Taranis, its prototype unmanned combat air vehicle which is designed to be able to fend
off attack as well as perform the intelligence gathering, surveillance and strike roles of other UAVs.
Fighting on the ground in Syria is as fierce as ever . It has been messy from the start , but now the battle is further complicated in the
face of an often vicious propaganda war between the government and the rebels.
The conflict has been unfolding for more than two years now , and much of the focus has been on what the Syrian government , its army ,
and its supporters are doing to their own people.
Most recently , pro – government militias were accused of killing as many as 200 people in the town of Baniyas.
Our position in this case is very clear , we will name the crime as a crime and we will not give any cover to anyone who commits them .
Especially the crimes that violates the very principles of humanity and of our revolution .
Louay al -Mokdad , political and media coordinator for FSA
It is one of several such accusations, but the al -Assad government has never acknowledged any of them . They say all operations target
what they call ” terrorists ” .
But this is a war , and war has two sides . Therefore, the opposition rebels can be just as guilty of atrocities.
In Syria in April , the head of one opposition group , al -Nusra Front , formally pledged allegiance to the al – Qaeda leader Ayman al –
Now there are reports that a large numbers of fighters from the opposition Free Syria Army (FSA ) – even entire units in some cases –
are defecting to al – Nusra .
Al – Nusra was established in January 2012 and since then has used car bombs and suicide attacks in its efforts to bring down the al –
Assad government . In December, the US state department put the group on its list of terrorist organisations.
And this week , the FSA faced criticism after a video was released that apparently shows a rebel commander cannibalising the body of a
government soldier .
When the video became public , the opposition Syrian National Council ( SNC) released a statement, saying : ” The Free Syrian Army is a
national army above all … formed to defend civilians and deliver the Syrian people from the mentality of revenge and crime .”
The SNC said it ” completely rejects the ill- treatment of the wounded and the disfigurement of the dead ” . It also promised that if the
video is confirmed to be genuine, the perpetrator will face justice.
Most serious analysts recognise that this is not in fact an indigenous movement who are protesting the Assad government but an attempt
[ by] the western powers to dismantle Syria in accordance with a plan designed by the Israelis .
James Fetzer , professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota
But the FSA has made similar promises before , following reports of summary executions of al – Assad supporters .
Rights groups like Human Rights Watch ( HRW) remain unconvinced.
” It is not enough for Syria ’s opposition to condemn such behaviour or blame it on violence by the government . The opposition forces need
to act firmly to stop such abuses ,” said Nadim Houry , HRW ‘ s Middle East deputy director.
” One important way to stop Syria ’s daily horrors , from beheadings to mutilations to executions, is to strip all sides from their sense of
The United Nations is now calling for a full investigation into reports of atrocities on both sides.
So , is this week ‘ s report of abuse merely an isolated incident, or has the opposition committed more such atrocities? And despite its
shocking nature , is it any worse than what the government has been doing?
Many a millionaire in the world today have made their money through the proceeds and lucrative nature of oil marketing, many cities around the world have been built with the proceeds of oil marketing, many countries have forged alliances, built healthy relationships and stabilized their countries through the proceeds of oil marketing. One then without any stretch of their imagination would expect Nigeria, one of the leading countries in the international trading and marketing of oil to boast of most of the so called “oil barons” or oil millionaires as citizens, one should without any stretch of their imaginations look at the figures that go in and out of the oil market daily and expect Nigeria to be as beautiful as the combination of the cities of New York and Paris.
But why then is this our beloved country, blessed with so many riches through the proceeds of oil and other natural resources so poor, so poor in the sense that more than 70percent of the population live under a dollar a day, why then are our infrastructure worse than what American infrastructure was in 18th century, why then do people go to bed hungry, youths are idle, mothers are weary and fathers weep for the thought of their children going through what they have been through for the past decade or 2.
Is there hope for a nation plunged deep into corruption that one has to be scared of being honest. We can fight all kinds of wars and uprisings against the government but in truth the real enemy is corruption, why have people become so greedy that they don’t only steal money to cater for themselves and their family , they steal for their unborn children 20 generations to come.
Nigerians should rise up, take up their weapons of education and information of the masses and fight corruption.
It is clear that president Goodluck Jonathan left no stone unturned to establish dialogue with the dreaded boko haram sect, and make sure all their grieviances are addressed in a diplomatic manner, the federal government even went ahead to offer amnesty to the dreaded sect in other to replicate the success of the amnesty given to militants from the southern part of nigeria, but the dreaded sect from the north also left no stone unturned in frustrating the diplomatic efforts of the Nigerian government, while still perpetrating mayhem in most part of nothern part of Nigeria.
When the President GEJ found out that the dreaded sect have even gone ahead to attempt to establish an independent Islamic state in the country practicing sharia law, the federal government felt enough is enough, time to crush these militants with our military power. This measure taken by the government seemed inevitable considering the manner to which boko haram sect have gone about their dastardly acts.
But one has to argue, how effective will this military measure be? can the military conduct themselves so as to obey the rules of engagement? What of the lasting effect on the country and the scars such heavy military measures will leave?
In the effort of boko haram to establish an Islamist state and the effort of the Nigerian president to maintain law an order, Nigeria has been plunged into another war in the African region, adding to fighting in various African countries e.g. Libya, Mali, Somalia, Egypt, Syria. One has to wonder will it ever end.