LAYING A WREATH OF WRATH
BASHAR AL ASSAD = ABSOLUTE STATE OF DENIAL
“On the 39th Anniversary of October Liberation War (*), President al-Assad Visits the Martyr’s Monument on Qassyoun Mountain (October 6th 2012)” and there is again almost the same photo reportage as last year and the year before.. as if there is NO war now in Syria to take in account.
On top of a screenshot from this Syrian state agency web page, I have montaged a screenshot of the latest ‘death count’ of the ‘Center for Documentation of Violations in Syria’ (CDVS), of today October the 7th.
Note the numbers by CDVS fail to give the death count suffered by government related troops and personnel; this in spite of announcing for a month or more that they will do so (**).
The ‘civilian’ and ‘non-civilian’ classification of men that died by CDVS, remains questionable. We can be sure that of the 25.365 ‘civil males’ a fair number from another perspective should be classified as ‘combatants’. Any death, combatant or not, is a tragedy, but we all know that the body count is part of the war games played by all these factions and behind the scene powers, so we can not take the Syria body count at face value.
Absurd it remains this ceremony yesterday with laying a wreath at an eternal burning flame and everybody in clean suits and uniforms, not a stain of blood around, just the blood red of the flowers on the wreath that symbolises the wrath aroused by his regime.
The state news agency SANA in its report tells us:
“Later, President al-Assad laid a wreath on the Martyr’s Monument and recited al-Fatiha along with a number of the senior officials for the souls of the martyrs.
The ‘Martyr’ and ‘Farewell’ music was played.
Before leaving, President al-Assad exchanged talk with a number of the martyrs’ sons on the sublime meanings of heroism that the martyrs of the homeland achieved throughout Syria’s history.”
The war of 1973 being commemorated by Bashar al-Assad – the ‘October Liberation War’/’Yom Kippur War’ of October 1973 – had a total cost of life of approximate 13.000.
The ‘Warfare and Armed Conflicts statistical encyclopedia’ of Micheal Clodfelter (2008 edition) gives a breakdown of this number: Syrian Front 3.500; Egyptian Front 7.700; Israeli 2.838 + 508 Missing In Action. There are no finite numbers of such wars, so Clodfelter also quotes a total of casualties of the Arab forces of 8.528. (page 623)
In short for Syria we are speaking of a number of ‘October Liberation War’ casualties between three and four thousand.
When this number is compared to a total number of casualties of between 28.000 and 30.000 of insurgency and repression, civil war if you want in Syria for over one year now, the whole martyrs commemoration ceremony of last saturday must have been felt as such a big lie by all attending, that one wonders how they managed to act it out in all the fixed protocol details, set by years of Assad dictatorship. There was no one – I guess – shouting out loud “what a lie”, but this shout must have been resounding in the heads of all attending.
screenshot of CDVS on 7/10/2012 16:45 hrs (NB this page is regularly updated, so this a screen shot documented the state of this date)
screenshot of SANA Syrian government agency made on 7/10/2012 15:00 hrs
(*) What Syria calls the ‘October War of Liberation’ is called by Israel the ‘Yum Kippur War of 1973’, being the joint attack by Egypt and Syria to regain lost territory they lost to Israel in the ‘Six Day War of 1967’. This attack surprised Israel, that this time had a hard time to fight back. In the end one can say that Israel won the battles, but for the Syrians and the Egyptians it was a seen nevertheless as some sort of honourable victory. The commemoration of this war is especially for Syria a moment of self-assurance and fits in their vision of a Great Syria somewhere in the future without any Israel and with the Palestinians embedded in the new Great Syria.
Just outside of Damascus is a special panoramic museum that glorifies the Syrian army, a gift of comrade Kim Il Sun of North Korea and this happy picture of a united nations of all Syrian ethnicities and religions lead on their way by the greta leader Hafez Assad, father of Bashar.
The museum that certainly will have a hard time to survive the Civil War like situation and its possible aftermath, is documented (together with its Egyptian sister institute) by Martin Kramer on his Flickr website “October 1973: Panorama and Myopia.”
(**) On the web page of the ‘Center for the Documentation of Violation in Syria’ under the clickable heading si said for a few weeks now the following, but there is no overview of the “Regime fatalities” mentioned:
The new website classifies victims in two major types, according to the regime authority that committed the crime. Consequently, we have two separate tables and statistics for the revolutions’ martyrs and the regime’s fatalities.
In the first type, “The Revolution’s Martyrs,” there are two sub-classes: Civilian and Non-Civilian. The latter contains information on defected recruits and officers, and Free Syrian Army (FSA) non-military volunteers. Those types of Non-Military victims can be easily differentiated via the “Military Rank” field: if it has a value, the victim is a recruit or an officer. If it does not, the victim is an FSA volunteer.
In the second table, named “The Regime’s Army,” a value in the “Military Rank” field indicates that the fatality was one of a recruit or an officer. If no value is associated, the the fatality is non-military.