Aryn Baker at TIME reports on a video out of Syria depicting the savagery of rebel commander Khalid al-Hamad:
The video starts out like so many of the dozens coming out of the war in Syria every day, with the camera hovering over the body of a dead Syrian soldier. But the next frame makes it clear why this video, smuggled out of the city of Homs and into Lebanon with a rebel fighter, and obtained by TIME in April, is particularly shocking. In the video a man who is believed to be a rebel commander named Khalid al-Hamad, who goes by the nom de guerre Abu Sakkar, bends over the government soldier, knife in hand. With his right hand he moves what appears to be the dead man’s heart onto a flat piece of wood or metal lying across the body. With his left hand he pulls what appears to be a lung across the open cavity in the man’s chest. According to two of Abu Sakkar’s fellow rebels, who said they were present at the scene, Abu Sakkar had cut the organs out of the man’s body. The man believed to be Abu Sakkar then works his knife through the flesh of the dead man’s torso before he stands to face the camera, holding an organ in each hand. “I swear we will eat from your hearts and livers, you dogs of Bashar,” he says, referring to supporters of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Off camera, a small crowd can be heard calling out “Allahu akbar” — God is great. Then the man raises one of the bloodied organs to his lips and starts to tear off a chunk with his teeth.
Obama has been helping his friends in Saudi Arabia and Qatar to provide weapons and other aid to Syrian rebels with little ability to control where they end up. Undoubtedly, people like al-Hamad have received such help.
Update: The Syrian National Coalition has publicly condemned what they saw in the gruesome video described above, insisting it doesn’t represent the opposition’s morals. Meanwhile, Human Rights Watch condemned the actions in the video as war crimes and said they’ve confirmed the individual performing them is in fact al-Hamad.