Published: August 5, 2012 GMT
The fact that they are referred to as "spies" is interesting. Do people mean that they were working for the government of Iran or for the government of Syria? Wouldn't anyone in Syria, unless they are declared rebels, of any nationality be viewed as a potential spy if that is the case? On the government side, I can say from personal experience that in Syria, everyone is suspected of being a spy by the government. Why don't we call this what it is? Kidnapping. Which is a criminal offence.
The Shrine of Sayyida Zeinab is certainly a legitimate pilgrimage site for all Sih'a Muslims. It is also in the heart of Damascus and there are various key government buildings nearby, as well a bustling businesses. So these Iranians could be there for any number of reasons. But it does not justify their kidnapping by anyone.
While many inside and outside Syria hate the regime's highly oppressive policies, these "rebels" have shown themselves thus far to be as bad or worse as the regime they seek to overthrow. I worry terribly for all the Syrians I know, whether, Shi'a, Sunni, Christian, Jewish, Durze or any other religion who are simply trying to survive.
Freedom from oppression for Syrians is a must, but the way this is being treated thus far strikes me as jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire. I do not believe most Syrians want to be sacrificed in the name of the unknown Free Syrian Army, nor to they want to be oppressed by the Ba'athist regime, but thie current situation, which I would argue is basically a classic example of entropy, is destined to create mass death and destruction with no defined goal that would free the Syrian people from oppression.
No normal person would think that these men are actually pilgrims visiting a shrine in the heart of a war. The whole world knows Iranians very well and what they can do. What pilgrims can we be talking about where there is war?