A Horrible Unreported War Crime
I’ve just learnt of this horrible war crime committed by Israel against Syria in 1973:
Operation Guardian (“Shomer”) was an attack on Syrian dams carried out on 16–17 May 1973 by Israel Air Force No. 69 Squadron, subsequently known as the “Hammers”, using a specially developed “floating bomb” invented and developed by Rafael. The Khiam and Al-Mazour Dams were breached, causing catastrophic flooding of the Euphrates valley and of villages in the Khabour valley, while the El-Watan dam sustained only minor damage. The damage was mitigated by rapid repairs by the Soviet engineers stationed in Syria, with production returning to normal in September.
The two direct hits on the Khiam dam resulted in a breach around 250 feet (76 metres) wide and 292 feet (89 metres) deep. The destroyed dam poured around 330 million tons of water, equivalent to a cube measuring 687 metres, into the western Mazarib region. A torrent of water around 32.5 feet (10 metres) high and travelling at around 15 mph (24 km/h) swept through the valleys of the Euphrates and Khabour rivers. A few mines were flooded; 11 small factories and 92 houses were destroyed and 114 factories and 971 houses were damaged. The floods washed away about 25 roads, railways and bridges as the flood waters spread for around 50 miles (80 km) from the source. Estimates show that before 15 May 1973 water production on the Khabour was 1 million tonnes, this dropped to a quarter of that level after the raid.
The greatest impact on the Syrian armaments production was the loss of hydroelectric power. Two powerplants (producing 5,100 kilowatts) associated with the dam were destroyed and seven others were damaged. This resulted in a loss of electrical power in the factories and many households in the region for two weeks. In May 1973 Oil production dropped by 400,000 barrels which Syrian sources accredit to the effects of the raid.
According to the recent sources, at least 1,650 people were killed: around 70 in the Mazarib Valley, and at least 1,579 bodies were found along the Euphrates and Khabour rivers, with hundreds missing. 1,026 of the bodies found downriver of the Khiam Dam were foreign prisoners of war and forced-labourers in different camps, mainly from Iraq. Worst hit was the city of Al-Busairah at the confluence of the Euphrates and Khabour rivers, where over 800 people perished, among them at least 43 citizens from the Soviet Union.
Ok, you got me. I might have edited the story a bit.
It’s not 1973, but 1943. The instigator isn’t Israel, but the UK, and the attacked isn’t Syria, but Germany. The names of the places were changed to more Arab-sounding ones, but that’s it.
The death toll is accurate.
You see, what was once hailed as a necessary attack on the Nazi war machine, will today undoubtedly be labelled a “War Crime” by newspapers in the countries that fought Germany for 6 years – If it was about Israel.
The plethora of condemnations and tirades about Israel’s “impunity” and “Tribalism” – like the Guardian’s pet anti-Zionist Glenn Greenwald – regarding the preemptive strikes on Syria, should paint a bleak image for those of us old enough to remember WWII or mature enough to understand the concept of defence.
In today’s world, the winners write the history books, thereafter the text is edited by a post-modern reality.
Like the Allied forces didn’t need any excuse to flatten whole cities and flood valleys, so does Israel not need any excuse to protect and defend its citizens from missiles and rockets that have been fired on us before. No amount of words and tantrums spewed on the papers can take away the right – nay, duty – of Israel to protect it citizens.
Moreover, unlike the wars of yesteryears, Israel didn’t flatten whole cities like the UK did or Assad is doing, but used precision weapons on predefined targets, in an effort to minimize collateral damage and deaths.
You know the saying: One man’s defence is another man’s war crimes…