World Bulletin/News Desk
Just-declassified Defense Intelligence Agency paper reads like an analysis of the current 18-month-old Syrian civil war, Foreign Policy report reminds today. DIA analysts wrote this paper in April 1982, 30 years ago -- just after the horrific Hama massacre by then-Syrian leader Hafez Assad, who used jets and artillery to level the city and wipe out a Muslim Brotherhood-led uprising.
According to the report, the similarities are striking. "The regime -- Assad the father then, and Assad the son now -- uses the same brutal tactics of repression. It rains indiscriminate violence from the air, from cannons, and from tanks on the urban centers of the uprising, regardless of civilian casualties," FP says.
About the Hama massacre, the DIA analysts' conclusion quoted:
"The Muslim Brotherhood leadership was fully aware that they had the Assad regime in a 'no win' situation over Hama. If Assad had not acted forcefully against Hama, the rebellion might have spread to other cities which in turn might have led to a full-scale rebellion. Assad's liberal use of artillery in breaking the resistance in Hama served notice to other cities that he has both the will and the means to retain power. By the same token, however, the government's actions have appalled and sickened a wide spectrum of Syrian society. Nonetheless, Assad's strategy continues to be based on the realization that most Syrians, regardless of their differences with the present government, do not want the Muslim Brotherhood in power, although they would undoubtedly prefer one dominated by Sunni Muslims [instead of Assad's Alawite sect]."
According to the report, the one factual discrepancy in this DIA report, compared to what we know now, is the casualty count on Hama. The document says 2,000 dead, but independent observers determined after the fact that between 20,000 and 40,000 died at Hama, within just a few weeks.
The Syrian civil war currently raging has only now reached that level of casualties, nearly 30,000 total deaths over 18 months, according to the Centre for Documentation of Violations in Syria and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.
But the long roots of the current civil war are clearly visible in this 30-year-old analysis, FP reports, which includes as its last paragraph the prediction that the "covert war, therefore, is unlikely to stop, although there may be periodic lulls in the struggle."
The banning of the Palestinian flag at the Eurovision contest has sparked outrage with the PLO demanding an apology from the contest organisers
A military plane has crashed in Sudan killing all crew on board
Russia's military exercises near the Baltics has made NATO nervous, forcing the deployment of 4,000 troops to the region
After threatening Sweden, Russia has warned Finland that it would risk a serious crisis if it joins the NATO circle
Hundreds of supporters of Shi'ite Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr stormed Baghdad's Green Zone on Saturday and entered the parliament building
With two soldiers killed in Ukraine in fresh fighting, tension has risen with NATO feeling the need for a Cold War-style hotlines with Moscow to avoid clashes
A satellite phone call to an Italian cargo ship resulted in the rescue of 26 refugees
A UN expert has called on the government of El Salvador to develop and implement a wide range of initiatives to protect the victims of modern forms of slavery
Austria said on Saturday it was in talks with the European Union's executive body to extend border controls brought in last year to help stem the migrant flow.
Emails, correspondence and trade-deal details among sensitive documents released online by Anonymous hacking group
France will increase its troop count for the Ivory Coast, an operational base for French troops.
The ELN guerrilla group has attacked infrastructure and have continued to take hostages
A Russian jet intercept has occurred just weeks after Russian jets shadowed U.S. destroyer
Controversy sparks as Eurovision officials equate Kosovo, Crimean Tatar, Basque and Palestine flags with that of ISIL
Mandate of UN operation in Ivory Coast, which includes French forces, has also been extended until June 30, 2017
New agreement calls for strengthening fight against Boko Haram terror group in Lake Chad region