New spread for Vogue?

The fashion magazine has yanked from its website the flattering tribute to Syria’s stylish First Lady and her family. But here’s a suggestion for a future issue: how about a spread dedicated to the Assad regime’s Shabiha militia?

After all, judging from this ironic “tribute” video, they seem to have a distinctive fashion sense:

The Council on Foreign Relations said the Shabiha militia has played a major role in the bloody regime crackdown on the opposition. The council said Shabiha, led by Assad’s cousins and said to contain thousands of young Alawites, were given a range of weapons to fire toward civilian protesters.

“In the coastal cities, a militia called Shabiha, headed by Assad’s first cousins, Fawaz Assad and Munzer Assad, are armed with heavy weapons and partaking in the violence,” the report, titled “The Structure of Syria’s Repression: Will the Army Break With the Regime?” said.

Shabiha was said to have joined Army units to kill demonstrators in Banias, Dera, Homs and other Syrian cities. The report, authored by Syrian dissident Ahed Al Hendi, said Shabiha was financed by gun-running and other criminal activity, Middle East Newsline reported.

“Known for weapons and drugs smuggling, robbery, and prostitution, Shabiha joined the Fourth Division and attacked civilians in the cities of Banias, Jableh, and Latakia,” the report said.

While the thuggery of Shabiha is in some ways similar to that of the English Defence League, I’m reminded more of the goons employed by the Ford Motor Company in the 1930s against the peaceful efforts of union activists to exercise their democratic right to organize.

In their willingness to use brute force against people striving nonviolently for a better life, in order to protect the privileges of the powerful, Shabiha are clearly the spiritual descendants of the late Harry Bennett and his crew.

I don’t know if Shabiha had anything to do with this atrocity, but is it any wonder that the Assad regime is– at the cost of Syrian lives– trying desperately to shift focus to the Syrian-Israeli border? (If you can stand it, here is the unedited video.)