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September 8, 2013 2:06 am

Assad is Adopting Hamas’ ‘Dead Baby’ Strategy

avatar by Alan Dershowitz

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Hamas terrorist prepares to launch a rocket in the midst of civilians. Photo: IDF.

As Congress debates whether to authorize President Obama to engage in a punitive-deterrent military attack on Syria, the Assad regime is adopting what I have called the “dead baby” strategy, perfected by Hamas in its battles with Israel.  This approach is as simple as it is brutal:  Force the United States, as Hamas forced Israel, to kill as many civilians as possible by deliberately moving legitimate military targets into civilian areas, or by moving civilians into military areas.  Democracies, such as the United States and Israel, which care about avoiding civilian casualties, are then put to the tragic choice of either foregoing a legitimate attack against military targets, or by attacking them, being blamed for the civilian casualties, that were willfully caused by their enemies’ illegal use of human shields.

This strategy can only work in an age of instant and pervasive television coverage of military actions.  Syria and Hamas know that every baby killed by a US or Israeli rocket will be paraded in front of television cameras being held by grieving mothers and fathers.  It is these vivid and horrifying pictures that are the goal of the dead baby strategy.  Syria and Hamas understand that these emotional pictures will mask the reality that these dead babies are not “collateral damage” caused by legitimate military actions, but rather deliberate targets selected by Syria and Hamas in a cynical attempt to shift blame from them onto the democracies that try their best to avoid civilian casualties, even in the face of deliberate efforts by Hamas and Syria to multiply them.

Lest there be any doubt about Syria’s intentions.  Listen to retired American General David A. Deptula:

The additional time gives Assad the potential advantage of complicating United States targeting by surreptitiously moving people or even chemical munitions into them, aiming to create casualties or chemical release as a direct result of US attacks.

United States General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed that assessment when he said that American spy agencies are “keeping up with that movement”, which includes prisoners who may be used as “human shields.”

If there is any doubt that Hamas has used this despicable strategy, listen to Fathi Hammad, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council:

For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry, at which women excel, and so do all the people living on this land.  The elderly excel at this, and so do the mujahideen and the children.  This is why they have formed human shields of the women, the children, the elderly, and the mujahideen, in order to challenge the Zionist bombing machine.  It is as if they were saying to the Zionist enemy: ‘We desire death like you desire life.’

When Hamas employed this dead baby strategy against Israel, it was a resounding success.  Despite the fact that Hamas deliberately fired rockets from schoolyards, hospitals and densely populated civilian areas, the international community blamed Israel for trying to prevent rockets from attacking its civilians by targeting the rockets and occasionally killing civilians.  It was Israel, rather than Hamas, that was accused of “war crimes,” even though it is clearly a war crime to use civilians as human shields.  Israel had little choice but to protect its own citizens against rocket attacks, but the world focused not on the moral correctness of Israel’s decisions, but rather on the gruesome pictures of dead Palestinian babies, even though some of them were actually caused by errant Palestinian rockets.

President Assad of Syria has apparently learned this lesson well and is now prepared to act on it.  This will once again put a democracy, this time the United States, to a difficult choice: forego legitimate military targets, thereby increasing the likelihood that Syria will continue to gas its own citizens; or attack these military targets, inevitably causing some civilian casualties and playing into the hands of Syria’s dead baby strategy.

If the media and the international community continue to enable these tyrannical regimes by falling for this cynical dead baby strategy, it will continue and expand in scope.  It’s a win-win strategy for tyrants who don’t care about their own civilians, and a lose-lose strategy for democracies that do.

Another reason why this strategy succeeds is that the world seems to care far less about civilian deaths caused by Arab and Muslim nations against their own citizens than deaths caused by Western democracies.  If American bombs were to kill 100 Syrian civilians, there would be more outcry than when 100,000 Syrians, including tens of thousands of civilians, have been killed by Syrian forces on both sides of this civil war.  This is pure and simple racism, holding Western democracies to a higher standard than Muslim tyrannies and theocracies.  It’s is an old story, but it will once again rear its bigoted head when and if American forces kill Syrian civilians who were deliberately placed in harm’s way as human shields by the Syrian regime.

To stop this once and for all, the international community and the media must place the blame for these dead babies where it belongs:  on the shoulders of tyrants who deliberately use their own civilians as human shields.

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  • It is interesting to note the the islamo-muslim-koran embracing countries are the very same countries that embraced Adolph Hitler and his Nazis. Unlike the Germans however and their ability to deal with their “KARMA” to the Jewish People by helping us with reparations , military help, etc., the Muslim leaders of the Levant seem to exist in some kind of Bizzarro world where they take the extreme opposite position to what is considered to be normative and correct in most countries. They do not care at all how much they hurt themselves and their arab bretheren it seems. they have an insatible appetite for revenge,and they seem to have learned well from their Nazi friends from their former collaborations with them.

  • .. So Dershowitz supports the Salafist mercenaries who are deliberately targeting Syrian Kurks, Christians, Druze, Alawites and others?

  • shoshana

    the United Nations, the European Union, in fact all the western “developped” countries are to be blamed. Assad feels strong, he has Iran behind him and Putin who needs the syrian port on the mediterranean sea. The people in the US are tired to be the world’s police

  • Sonia Willats

    Excellent article, excellent responses. ONE QUESTION, and another:

    I read that 54 Arab nations support America’s punishing of Assad. WHY DO THESE NATIONS NOT PUNISH ASSAD? Otherwise the West falls into the civilian death trap as described above. AND ISRAEL WILL BE BLAMED AND PUNISHED.

    AND Why do Russia, and Iran not care about gassed civilians? Iran proclaims itself a theocracy. Which god, again, does she serve? Again a god of hatred, death and destruction! This is a phony god, used by lovers of evil as their justification.

    • shoshana

      good questions, Iran is behind Assad, and Putin needs an open port to the mediterranean sea which he has ib Syria and he is very pleased to stand against Obama

  • Sandy Brown

    I have no sympathy for the Arabs. They have been offered peace so many times and they just do not stop. They are so full of hatred and revenge that I have no time for them. I used to know a couple of Palestinian journalists in London and would sometimes have coffee with them. In the end, I stopped seeing them as they drove me nuts with their venom, hatred and revenge. When Arafat died, one of them was in tears and I said: Why are you crying and she said: “Arafat has has died” and I just started to laugh. You should have seen their faces. I never talked to them again.

  • jonathan shepherd

    This monstrous strategy of Hamas and Assad needs to get into the mainstream media, print,web,radio and TV. What will be necessary to have these horrors reach mass awareness?

    • Efram Paul

      If the mainstream media were not so dedicated to anti-Semitism they might actually report this. But it is difficult to convince reporters that they should report the news when their inflexible world view might be challenged.

      • Sonia Willats

        Like the assistant BBC journalist in Gaza called “Jihad” whose baby’s death was much publicised and blamed on Israel, eventually proven to be killed by his own people. The name “Jihad” says it all. The love of death to serve a god of war.

  • Mel

    The way Islam celebrates death, the scores of people shown as “gassed” by Assad forces (if not Pallywood actors) are likelier to be sedated victims or newly-embalmed corpses borrowed for the filming.

  • art frank

    Well, then the babies will have to die. Sad, but it’s the fault of the savage muslims.

  • E Pluribus Beagle

    Liberals in the US are already blaming the Jews like they always do.

    • Efram Paul

      Liberals do not blame Jews. Look up the definition of liberal. Those who blame the Jews are those who worship at the altar of politically-coerced censorship. They are as evil, as fascistic, and hateful as the right wing. They call themselves liberal, and the media echo the claim, but there is nothing liberal about them.

  • Henri

    Let us place the blame where it belongs too: on the international communitiy and the media for their lack of judgment.

    • shoshana

      it is not a lack of jugment it is a lack of courage


      No one here seems to understand that the media is totally controlled.
      also, as an aside, i wondered who managedto cover up all of the corpses so quickly with the white “gauze”, 1400 corpses to “dress’ and also, why were the vast majority of the dead, women and children? This was putatively in suburbs of Damasus, at night? where were the men? again. who draped all of the dead? A large effort which required many live workers. As someone above suggested, where these actors? where they already dead, who covered them and where were the men?