Syria On Track to Kill More People Than Died in Both Intifadas

By Jeffrey Goldberg

It's estimated that roughly 6,000 people have been killed in the Syrian uprising since it began last March, and the Assad regime is upping the tempo of murder (thanks in part to cover provided by Russia). Hard numbers are difficult to come by these days, because Syria is too dangerous a place for human rights monitors to function safely. The United Nations estimate of 5,400 deaths as of January does not take into account the recent slaughters in the city of Homs.

I was curious to see how long it would take for Bashar al-Assad to kill more people than died in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since December, 1987, when the first Intifada erupted, so I went to the website of B'Tselem, Israel's top human rights group, and did some addition. A total of 2,294 Palestinians and Israelis were killed in the first Uprising. This number includes Palestinians killed by Israeli security forces, Israeli soldiers and civilians killed by Palestinians, and Palestinians killed by other Palestinians. The second Intifada, which began in December of 2000, took many more lives. The total number of Palestinians and Israelis killed since 2000 is 10,760, according to my math. So, a total of 13,054 Palestinians and Israelis have been killed since 1987. Assad has killed roughly 6,000 people over the past 11 or so months. So, to be conservative about this, let's say that it will take him another 10 months to reach the 13,000 mark. (Although I do expect the pace of state murder to increase, barring some sort of intervention.)

And just to provide you with another benchmark of violence, roughly 3,500 people were killed during the three decades of the Irish Troubles. So, Assad is quite the achiever. Of course, in 1982 his father murdered somewhere between 10,000-25,000 people in one city, Hama, over a couple of days, so the son is still a piker domestically.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/02/syria-on-track-to-kill-more-people-than-died-in-both-intifadas/252817/