Nothing could be worse for an Arab writer than being forced to make a comparison between the brutal practices of an Arab regime against its people and the assaults made by the Israeli or other foreign armies against the Arab people.
In his blind fight against the opposition, the Syrian ruler Bashar al-Assad has been proved to be using cluster bombs against civilians in a move declared by Amnesty International and other international organisations as a war crime.
Such kinds of bomb, which are banned by the international community, split up into more bomblets that might not immediately explode but will do so after the passage of a short or even long time causing huge human casualties.
Thus, one cannot imagine how a leader could utilise such weapons against his own nation other than his being insane and realising his inevitable end. Al-Assad, like the murdered Libyan leader Qaddafi, seems to be suffering from the mental illness of paranoia, which prevents him from imagining the ability of the people to rise against him.
The huge destruction the satellite channels are screening of cities and towns in Syria, and which has even extended to damaging the Umayyad Mosque – the Great Mosque of Damascus – should cause world concern. As should the pollution and contamination raise anxiety that is being caused by the excess use of weapons, even conventional ones, on the environment in Syria with its related effect on the health of the people for many years to come.
Shamefully, what al-Assad has carried out in Syria does not greatly differ from what Israel did in its 34-day war on Lebanon in 2006 or in its offensive against Gaza in 2008-2009 war, with respect to the excess use of weapons. These caused massive destruction of the infrastructure together with huge civilian casualties.
Similarly, the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq devastated the Arab country that continues to suffer disorder, violence and afflictions, even after withdrawal of the foreign forces last year.
If no international organisation had dared to calculate the huge casualties and the deadly effect of the Israeli bombardments on the environment and public health in South Lebanon and Gaza, a study has recently been made by a group of scientists, specialising in toxicology. It demonstrates the harmful extent of the effects on health and the environment caused by the Anglo-American invasion in Iraq.
The findings, published in the Environmental Contamination and Toxicology Bulletin, show a staggering rise in birth defects among Iraqi babies conceived in the aftermath of the war.
Scientific investigation conducted on the two cities of Basrah and Fallujah, which were subjected to fierce British and American attacks during the war, proved that exposure to metals released by bombs and bullets caused defects and abnormalities among the new-born infants including congenital heart defects, brain dysfunction and limb abnormalities.
The latest study has found that in Fallujah, more than half of all babies surveyed were born with a birth defect between 2007 and 2010. Before the siege, this figure was more like one in 10. Prior to the turn of the millennium, fewer than two per cent of babies there were born with a defect. More than 45 per cent of all pregnancies surveyed ended in miscarriage in the two years after 2004, up from only 10 per cent before the bombing. Between 2007 and 2010, one in six of all pregnancies ended in miscarriages.
Hair samples, taken from residents in Fallujah, who have lived there since 1991, were found to contain trace elements of poisonous metals, the report stated.
Findings showed that levels of lead were five times higher in the hair of children with birth defects than in other children, suggesting hair is a “bio-marker of exposure.”
Mercury levels in children were also found to be six times higher, while children in Basra had three times more lead in their teeth than had children living in unaffected cities.
Naturally, the world feels bitter at the huge loss of life caused by the tyrannical Syrian regime against the brave civilians who called for an end to al-Assad's dictatorship. However, Syrians' tragedy might not just end with the toppling of their dictator who should be tried as a war criminal. The question then is who would dare to bring American and Israeli leaders to justice for the war crimes they inflicted on the people of Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine.
The writer is a columnist at The Egyptian Gazette, where this article was published on Oct. 23, 2012