Former prison doctor Alaa Mousa may soon become the third Assad-affiliated physician to face such charges. Authorities arrested Mousa in Germany, where he was apparently trying to evade capture.
Along with millions of other refugees, Mousa fled to Germany in 2015, where he resumed practicing medicine. Before then, he was on the medical staff at an undisclosed facility near Homs. According to investigators, in 2011, Mousa tortured an anti-government demonstrator. Allegedly, Mousa was called to treat the prisoner for an epleptic seizure. Instead, Mousa beat the man to the point of unconsciousness. The prisoner did not survive. Human rights lawyer Patrick Kroker applauded the German government for its help in the case. “The result of the strong and systematic effort by German authorities to investigate structural crimes committed by the Syrian state is that they have the kind of overview that allows cases like this to be recognized and prosecuted,” he said.
Two other physicians, who supposedly worked at an underground prison in Damascus, are already on trial for similar crimes.
The Syrian Civil War
Syrian instability probably goes back to the 1917 Sykes-Picot Agreement between Great Britain and France. The two powers agreed to divide the Middle East spoils of World War I between themselves, assuming the Ottoman Turks and their allies were defeated. As is frequently the case with “sphere of influence” designations, the British and French drew the Sykes-Picot line with no regard for the people that lived there. What would become Syria practically straddled that line, so this nation was divided from the start.
The immediate roots go back to the 2011 Arab Spring. A series of revolts against longtime dictators began in Tunisia in North Africa and spread eastward. By the time the Arab Spring spirit infected Syria, the movement had lost momentum. As a result, longtime strongman Bashar Assad violently suppressed protests rather than voluntarily relinquishing his power. Armed resistance began in Aleppo and Damascus and quickly spread through the country.
The Syrian Civil War became increasingly complex. Russia supports its longtime ally Assad with weapons, material, air power, and ground assistance from mercenaries. The United States, with support from private military contractors, supports various rebel groups. Turkey joined the fray in 2017. Recently, the Turks have consolidated their power in extreme northern Syria. These efforts greatly antagonize the Russians, who have their eyes on a strategic highway that moves through Turkish-contolled territory. ISIS is in the mix, as well.
Multiparty peace talks began in Geneva in 2017. But fighting has continued to escalate as the talks have made almost no progress. International organizations have accused all sides, and not just the Ba’athist Assad forces, of multiple human rights violations.
Current Combat Operations
Currently, government forces control over most of the central part of the country, as well as the strategic Mediterranean coast. Rebel groups control most of the east, and as mentioned, the Turks are entrenched in the north. However, all this is subject to change at any time.
Many observers believe that Assad has effectively isolated rebel groups and consolidated his power over the nation. But the country might be deteriorating from the inside. American economic sanctions recently took effect, causing turmoil in the country’s shaky economy. Before these sanctions took effect, Syria’s unemployment rate was 40%, and 80% of Syrians lived below the poverty line. Coronavirus restrictions and looming sanctions might be the one-two punch that puts the Syrian economy out for the count.
As news of the sanctions broke, Syria’s pound dropped from 50 to the dollar to 3,500 to the dollar.
The economic forecast might or might not be bad news, depending on which side you are on. Historically, dictators stay in power due to brute force and an ability to placate the people. Assad’s regime seemingly has the first ingredient, but the second ingredient appears problematic.
In other words, the fighting might not be over yet. Contractors might continue participating in these operations.
Future Non-Combat Operations
Regardless of which side “wins” the Syrian Civil War, there will be a number of losers. Effective rebuilding, which could cost close to a trillion dollars, is the key to reducing these negative consequences.
Typically, refugees do not return until the country is safe and its infrastructure is up and running. That means basic needs like electrical power, schools and hospitals, and roads and bridges. Also, it goes without saying that the country must be at least reasonably secure.
Contractors address both needs during the rebuilding phase. Because of their private sector expertise, contractors understand the challenges of large construction projects in foreign countries. The available labor force is usually hard-working, but it might lack experience. There are also few workplace safety laws, so construction sites are normally dangerous places. Contractors can overcome these obstacles to complete projects on time and under budget.
Many security contractors are former law enforcement officers. They know how to develop a rapport with the community and collect intelligence while serving as a deterrent. That is precisely the combination that’s needed during the rebuilding phase. The need for aggressive “door-kickers” is usually gone. Civilians must feel safe, and not feel like they live in a war zone.
Injury Compensation Available
When contractors are hurt during the combat or rebuilding phase, their medical bills are frequently astronomical. Transportation expenses are one of the largest components of these costs. Typically, local field hospitals or clinics stabilize victims. Then, they are airlifted to a larger medical facility in another country. This trip could cost tens of thousands of dollars.
The Defense Base Act covers transportation expenses along with all other reasonably necessary medical expenses. From the first moment of emergency care to the last day of physical therapy, most injured contractors need not worry about doctor bills.
“Reasonably necessary” is usually a key phrase. Insurance companies often refuse to pay charges which do not fit into their narrow view of “reasonably necessary.”
An attorney stands up for you. Attorneys use solid medical evidence to demonstrate a charge’s necessity. Additionally, while this dispute unfolds, attorneys convince providers to defer billing until the case is resolved. So, victims can concentrate solely on getting better.
For more information about DBA procedure, count on Barnett, Lerner, Karsen, Frankel & Castro, PA.