Alwaght- The international law calls on the warring sides of any conflict to discriminate between the civilians and the military, as well as between the civilian and military sites. It, at the same time, highlights the need for protection of the civilians against any hostile measures, including purposely and direct assaults against them. The law criminalizes any use of the civilians as human shields by the clashing sides in wars according to the Geneva conventions of 1929 and 1949, as well as the additional protocol of 1977, or Protocol I, and Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court of 1998.
The crime of abuse of the civilians and violation of the international laws very apparently has been displayed by the assaults launched by the Israeli regime against the citizens of Lebanon and Palestine during the war. In the wars against these two countries, the Israeli forces picked randomly the captured civilians and exposed their lives to dangers amid the clashes. They also in an organized fashion targeted and destroyed the civilian infrastructures like the bridges, hospitals, the medical centers, power plants, water facilities, and others.
And recently, the terror organizations like ISIS and al-Nusra Front resorted to the same method in Syria as they intentionally used the civilians as human shields for their headquarters and fighters during the clashes, not to mention their cutting off water supply to six million civilians living in Damascus, the capital. They did so by blowing off Fayga water main in Wadi Barada Valley near Damascus. Terrorists at the same time blew off Hayan gas supply station which produces about 180 tons of domestic gas supplied to houses in eastern Homs outskirts. The gas plant provided 200 job opportunities, and most importantly, it fed the power plants in the southern regions almost totally, and also the water treatment and purification plants. By these explosions, the civilians will experience longer hours of power outage, in addition to the gas supply crisis already existing.
The same happened in Mosul as the militants cut off water supplies to the civilian use in some districts of northern Iraqi city, not to mention the terrorist group’s targeting of the water reserves that provide fresh water for the civilians in Foaa and Kafria towns in countryside of Syria's Idlib. But what does push these groups to use such retaliatory options against the civilians? Why do the media campaign and diplomatic missions decline to react?
The last card in hands of ISIS and al-Nusra Front: cutting off water and power supplies
As for the drives pushing these groups to take such retaliatory steps, we can mention the following:
1. The big embarrassment the terrorist organizations have undergone as a result of the strains they suffered after back-to-front losses they received in Aleppo and Mosul pushes them to such a madness and resorting to any instruments, or even worse, any heinous ways to ease the troubles they are in. They resorted to the method of intimidation to renew the terror they already adopted. This motivated them to increase suicide bombs in the popular markets and residential areas as the government forces in Syria and Iraq made new advances. Cutting the gas and water supplies to millions of people recently came as part of this aim.
2. The resounding hostility of the terrorists against the civilians residing in the government-controlled areas provides another reason for the terrorists to take revenge. They show a new level of hostility against civilians any time they receive a defeat in the battleground. Best example is their actions in Foaa and Kafria towns.
3. The radical ideology these groups are adopting is another push authorizing them to take such anti-civilian criminal steps. A majority of them are following the Wahhabist school of ideology which in turn relies on ibn Taymiyyah, the 14th century Sunni Muslim theologian who authorizes killing the innocent people in the hostile areas. This is an excuse used by the militants, though they already know about the advice of Prophet Muhammad to the “mujahedeen”, or Muslim fighters. The Prophet tells the fighters not to kill any child, elder or woman, nor to destroy any assets and properties under any excuses.
4. Another factor pushing those militants to the abuses is absence of questions and criticism by media and international sides which, for instance, apparently see the frequent striking of the civilians by Saudi Arabia in Yemen or the violation of the rights of the Palestinians by the Israeli regime but make no moves to trigger international measures against them. This motivates any criminal groups, including those active in Syria and Iraq, to add to their barbarism against the civilians, knowing that there are some sides out there that cover up their actions.
Here we cannot fail to wonder where are the international organizations like the human Rights Watch, the Security Council, and other organizations which act like safe havens for the terrorists when they are exposed to pressures like what happened to them recently in Aleppo and the western front of Mosul.
The question here does not seek an answer because the answer is already clear. It is to expose the double standards used by these international organizations according to a political road map with backstage already paid for and laid down. The international laws urge bringing to justice these violators and taking actions in response to those breaching the laws. At the same time, the international laws urge their organizations to at least work with transparency and objectivity in dealing with any violations, and stay neutral in conflicts.
Furthermore, these inhumane actions of terrorists remove any excuses by the Western countries and the media that allow them avoid hitting ISIS and al-Nusra and making an international decision to fight them seriously, not by slogans and legerdemain as these terror organizations are breathing their last, and certainly now the opportunity is ripe to obliterate them.