It has been several months now since the United States and Russia reached a ‘peaceful’ settlement over the conflict in Syria.
It was touch and go for a while – and for those few weeks where it looked like a coalition of states might provide support for the National Coalition (Syrian rebels), there was uproar.
Hordes of people, in Ireland and elsewhere, stated with absolute conviction that the worst thing that could possibly happen, the worst of all possible outcomes, would be an intervention on the side of the Syrian rebels.
No, that would never do. That would be imperialism. What we needed was a peaceful settlement. And, with a little help from our new found ally, Mr Putin, by God did we get it.
So, as we approach the sixth month of peace, let us take stock of what our hard fought peace has bought.
In December, a UN report, compiled by one Åke Sellström, a chemical weapons expert from that bastion of Western imperialism, Sweden, suggested that chemical weapons had been used as many as four times since the now infamous attack on the 21st of August in Ghouta.
The death toll for the conflict, even by the most conservative estimates, is now well in excess of 100,000, and has become so difficult to track that the UN has recently announced that it is giving up counting. The conflict is even making the worst and most bloody stages of the Iraq war seem like a relative oasis of calm.
And then, of course, there’s the torture. We had heard the stories, the rumours of the vast empire of secret prisons and torture dungeons that litter the beleaguered country. But we never had proof.
That is, until now. A confidential report into torture committed by the Syrian government was leaked this week. And it’s bad. Very bad.
It details in the most horrific detail the brutal, systematic torture, brutalisation, and murder of over 11,000 prisoners by the Syrian government.
Desmond de Silva, one of the report’s authors and former chief prosecutor for the Special Court for Sierra Leone has stated publicly on CNN that the pictures were “reminiscent of the pictures of those [who] were found still alive in the Nazi death camps after World War II.”
But, for those of you who feared that the international community would step up and do something to stop these atrocities – fear not! The “peaceful” solution is holding firm. There will be no action. No fight-back.
The conflict will continue, of course. But as it consumes the lives and societies of multitudes of people in the region, we can rest easy knowing that, for the moment at least, it is confined to the back pages of our newspapers (and, of course, to the region).
Our governments will do nothing about it so, as far as we’re concerned, it no longer exists.
And thank God for that.