WASHINGTON, September 10, 2013 —Totalitarian dictators around the World are rejoicing today, as they believe they have finally found the means to avoid international intervention on the behalf of their easily slaughtered citizenry. They are learning quickly that it does not matter how many of your own people you kill in battle, or in massacres, or in fits of ethnic cleansing, as long as you do not use chemical weapons.
Of course! That was where Bashar al Assad went wrong! It was not that over one hundred thousand people have been killed during this two year conflict, it is that a small portion of them allegedly died as a result of a chemical weapons attack allegedly carried out by the Syrian government. Bullets, artillery rounds, bombs, rockets, knives, mines…these things are all okay. But what really gets the international community riled up is the use of chemical weapons such as Sarin gas.
So what have we learned here today, tyrannical dictators of the world?
If you want to avoid all of that nasty, unwanted international attention (the kind that sends a cruise missile into your kitchen), then just stay off of the hard stuff. Massacre your people in droves, save money by using blades instead of bullets, because where the Western Powers and the UN really draw the line in the sand is when you deploy chemical weapons. As long as you avoid that, oppressive governments can suppress their respective revolutions and insurrections in peace.
But why are chemical weapons such a hot button issue? What’s wrong with a little mustard gas, or Sarin tipped warhead every now and then that gets the UN in such a bad mood? It is perplexing to say the least, considering that roughly 90% of casualties during wartime are from small arms such as rifles, pistols, RPG’s. No one knows the answer, but there is just something about the use of a weapon that turns your insides into your outsides and does not allow the opportunity to fight back that rubs the international community the wrong way.
Where did Assad go wrong?
He ignored President Obama’s line in the sand, and as a result it appears as though the United States will be lobbing some cruise missiles his way at $1.4 million a pop, as well as most likely bolstering Assad’s opposition. Assad also has the misfortune of living in a region abounding in natural resources such as oil and natural gas, meaning that every move he makes has implications on World energy markets. Instability in a coastal region with ports responsible for the exportation of oil and natural gas could translate to added pain at the pumps. Plunging an oil/natural gas exporting nation into chaos and exacerbating the civil war only serves to destabilize the entire region, while causing panics on Wall Street over oil futures in uncertain times. Also, Syria is home to the last vestige of Russian Imperial power in the Mediterranean in the form of a presence at a Syrian naval base in Tartus. Russia will be forced to act in order to protect this last bit of power, how they will act is unpredictable. Added to this, Assad is a buyer of Russian munitions and equipment, and it is unlikely that they will allow such a profitable market to fall into the hands of another, less friendly government. In today’s World, anyone backed by Russia is generally seen as being the bad guy. We of course have movies, television, and World history to thank for that.
Dictators, if you want to suppress a revolution and you want to keep your luxurious compound complete with swimming pool, and you don’t want to start seeing American/British “advisors” teaching rebels how to sweep and clear a building, watch out for lines in the sand, keep a low profile, control your national resources, and go on killing your civilians the old fashion way, with bullets and blades.
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