The Hague, 14 March 2015 – The campaign group Naame Shaam today called on the US and its allies to implement the following five concrete steps to stop the bloodbath in Syria and end the no-longer-secret Iranian occupation of the country.
1_ Give the Iranian regime a clear ultimatum (1 July 2015, which is also the deadline for the ongoing nuclear talks between Iran and world powers) to do the following or face serious consequences: pull its Sepah Pasdaran (Iran’s Revolutionary Guards), Hezbollah Lebanon, Iraqi and Afghan Shia militias out of Syria and end all its financial and military support to the Syrian regime.
2_ Until this deadline, support moderate Syrian rebels with all financial and military means necessary to enable them to change the military balance on the ground against the Iranian-controlled forces and militias fighting in Syria on behalf of the regime of Bashar al-Assad, as well as against the fundamentalists of the so-called Islamic State and the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra.
3_ Put all your weight behind seriously helping the Syrian opposition develop into a professional and effective representative of the Syrian people struggling for a free and democratic Syria, where the rule of law prevails. This means providing political, administrative and financial support through one unified channel supervised by the US and the EU, rather than leaving it to various regional players with conflicting agendas.
4_ If the ultimatum ends and if the Iranian regime has failed to implement the above-mentioned demands, put on the table an uncompromising UN Security Council resolution under Chapter VII imposing no-fly zones as well as safe and unhindered humanitarian access to conflict zones and people in need throughout Syria.
5_ If Russia and China veto this resolution, then act unilaterally in line with the Responsibility to Protect norm. This means imposing no-fly zones to secure rebel-held areas and protecting civilians from barrel bombs and all other forms of daily bombardment.
States have a responsibility to protect their population from genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing. The international community has a responsibility to assist states to protect their citizens. The al-Assad regime and its Iranian supporters have manifestly failed to protect the Syrian population from mass atrocities and all diplomatic measures over the past four years have failed to get them to do this. The international community therefore has a responsibility to intervene through coercive measures such as economic sanctions and military intervention.
The head of Naame Shaam’s Research and Advocacy team Shiar Youssef said: “Four years after the start of the Syrian revolution, with hundreds of thousands of people dead and millions forcibly displaced, it’s about time for the international community to take its responsibilities more seriously and act. If it doesn’t, no one can then blame Syrians and many others across the world for losing all faith in the international political system.”
Naame Shaam’s Campaigns Director Fouad Hamdan said: “Only a serious threat to use force against the Iranian regime in Syria will force it to end its destabilising policies in the region and give up, once and for all, its quest for the nuclear bomb. Soft approaches, such as the current one by the US President Barack Obama, are likely to fail and will only lead to Sepah Pasdaran’s expanding its dominance in the region, even more aggressively than it is doing now. This, in turn, will eventually allow the Iranian regime to impose itself as a nuclear power because nobody can then stop it from having the nuclear bomb.”
Notes for editors:
1. Naame Shaam is a group of Iranian, Syrian and Lebanese activists and citizen-journalists that focuses on uncovering the role of the Iranian regime in Syria. For more details about the group and its activities, see www.naameshaam.org. Naame Shaam is supported by the Netherlands-based Rule of Law Foundation, www.lawrules.org.
2. Naame Shaam has been demanding that the US and its allies should refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Syria should be held responsible, including Syrian, Iranian and Lebanese political and military commanders. See Naame Shaam’s press release about this.
3. Last month Naame Shaam released an animation clip inspired by the work of renowned graffiti artist Banksy. The clip links Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and General Qassem Soleimani to the massacres in Syria. The video implies that, unless these two are stopped, the massacres in Syria will continue. The animation clip ‘Stop massacres in Syria’ can be found here.
4. In November 2014, Naame Shaam published an in-depth report on the role of the Iranian regime in the ongoing war in Syria. The key findings of the report, “Iran in Syria: From an Ally of the Regime to an Occupying Force”, include:
- The Iranian Revolutionary Guards are in control of all major military operations in regime-held areas in Syria. They control the Syrian military and other Syrian paramilitary forces such as the National Defense Forces known as the “shabbiha”. In May 2014, Sepah Pasdaran commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Hamedani said: “Bashar al-Assad is fighting this war [in Syria] as our deputy.” Regime-held areas in Syria are effectively occupied by the Iranian regime. General Qassem Soleimani, the chief of Iran’s Sepah Qods force, the foreign arm of Sepah Pasdaran, is the de facto ruler of Iranian-occupied Syria..
- The Iranian regime is complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Syria. There is sufficient evidence to open investigations and bring law suits against the Iranian political and military leadership for its role in many of these crimes, including the Ghouta chemical attack in August 2013 and the use of barrel bombs against civilians.
- The primary objective behind Iran’s war in Syria is to keep arms shipments flowing to Hezbollah in Lebanon via Syria, so that this militia remains a strong deterrent against any possible attack against Iran’s military nuclear programme. The arms shipments are today totally dependent on vulnerable land routes passing through Syria.
Links related to the report “Iran in Syria: From an Ally of the Regime to an Occupying Force”: