No. It’s a mess. Back in 2007, by prior agreement with the Arab League, Lebanese Defense Forces were denied entry into the Nahr al-Bared camp to suppress the presence of an independent but al-Qaeda-minded force that had infiltrated the camp. Instead, it bombarded the camp with tank fire, corralled the entire residential population through the main gates, and the bused them to other camps. The LDF then razed Nahr al-Bared. Toward the very end, a handful of family members surrendered, and escaped, and the remnant fighters holed up in tunnels were, finally, bombed from the air.
My impression is the wealthy enjoy extraordinary wealth in the middle east and the equivalent of fellaheen live primarily at the mercy of the powerful. The common thread of “malignant narcissism” that binds both despot and mad revolutionaries into one recognizable category applies well to the tragedy unfolding in the Yarmouk camp. If anyone has ever been sickened by the historic photographs of starving Nazi concentration camp residents, the same outrage should apply in light of starvation in the Palestinian camp, even thought in their confined minds they may blame the Jews for what’s being done to them by Assad’s army and the infiltration and partial control of the opposed al-Qaeda affiliates. To the warring parties, the humanity trapped in the camp is but a useful poker chip. These kids may one day understand that it hasn’t been the Jews of the west that has been killing them but rather the divided powers most identified with them but equally callous toward them and careless of them.
The prompt for the comment had to do with the Yarmouk Palestinian Refugee Camp and its being made to starve between armies.
There has been some relief: Besieged Yarmouk camp in Syria finally gets some food – Middle East Israel News | Haaretz – 1/18/2014: “The delivery was made possible after an agreement was reached on Friday between representatives of Palestinian factions and Syrian rebels in the camp.”
One may imagine the leverage involved in those negotiations.
In the surface rhetoric, the rebels may claim having been merciful, but the public would do well to keep in mind that get to this point, they had had to have been unmerciful, and that neither better nor worse than Assad’s forces attempting to subdue the infiltration within the camp by starvation in the first place.
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To another correspondent asking about the fate of Hamas in Gaza given the mixed ambitions and messages carried forward by its membership, some, I hear, who have joined the rebels against Assad, I suggested the perception of the axis needs to shift in the middle east, maintaining that the fighting-minded on several sides are more similar to one another in their ambitions and expectations — in their essential psychology — than those who have had the misfortune of being caught between armies or of having been trapped in time by regional powers who, indeed, manipulate and treat them primarily as servants unto themselves.
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