Showing posts with label propaganda. Show all posts
Showing posts with label propaganda. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Syria Crisis: cutting through the propaganda

By Elizabeth Kendal

In addition to this week's Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin on Syria --

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 167 | Wed 11 Jul 2012
SYRIA: Christians' plight lost under mountain of propaganda

-- I am providing a short reading list of recently published, freely-available articles for those who would like some help in cutting through the propaganda.

A Jihadist, Anti-Western Agenda is Being Forced on Syria
By Yossef Bodansky, Senior Editor, GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs.
Analysis, April 2012 (via
Quotes: "The international community has been blindly following a jihadist-driven agenda for Syria; a solution the majority of Syrians reject, but which Turkey and Qatar have been driving. It begs the question: why are analysts in Washington — or Paris or London — not digging more deeply into what is really happening, given that the solution they have endorsed is so profoundly anti-Western?"

". . . the West, led by the US, Turkey, and Qatar, is striving to repeat in Syria the legacy of the interventions in Bosnia and Libya, irrespective of the realities on the ground or the desires of the local population. To justify such an intervention, the US leads a media campaign to portray the Syrian National Council (SNC) and the Free Syrian Army (FSA) as westernized and democratic when Arab governments and the Arab media know that this is simply untrue.

"The Syrian National Council has always been a front of the more militant- jihadist wing of the Muslim Brothers [MB: the Ikhwan]."

"At the core is the confrontation between resurgent Sunni Arab Islam-ism and the region’s aspirant non-Arab Islamist hegemonic powers: Mahdivist Iran and neo-Ottoman Turkey."

"The Fertile Crescent of Minorities — from east to west counter-clockwise: Ahwazi Arabs, Kurds, ‘Alawites, Druze, Maronites, Jews and Circassians — serves as the buffer, preventing a cataclysmic eruption."

"Only a viable Fertile Crescent of Minorities — of which the ‘Alawites and Druze of Syria are presently the most beleaguered elements — can thus prevent the simmering Arab Middle East from conjoining with the Islamist ascent of Turkey and Iran and jointly creating an explosive critical mass. . . . The marginalization and destruction of the Syrian section of the Fertile Crescent of Minorities, even if in the name of democracy, not only would not elevate the Sunni majority but would cause cataclysmic upheaval throughout the greater Middle East."

Influx of foreign fighters add to Syria's carnage
By Hala Jaber, The Sunday Times, 17 June 2012
Quote: "Another fatwa, by a fellow Sunni cleric, Adnan Arour, was even more direct, threatening not only Syria's Alawite rulers, but Christians and other minorities who side with them. 'We will chop you up and feed you to the dogs,' Arour said."
(If the link takes you to a subscription page - trying cutting the pasting the title into a google search -- that usually seem to get around it)  Alternatively - here is film footage.

Duplicity drives West's Syria policy
By Bob Rigg, Asia Times Online, 4 July 2012
Quotes: "The West falsely claims that its interest in Syria is purely humanitarian, while it is covertly pouring political and logistical fuel onto the flames of civil war in Syria, escalating the conflict and ensuring ever greater losses of human life."

". . . when the West speaks of human rights, this may well be a front for self-interested geopolitical power plays."

Regime change in Syria: A true story  
By Francois-Alexandre Roy, Asia Times Online, 6 July 2012
This article covers subheadings:
* US and al-Qaeda: same goal this time around
* Turkey's game
* Western media (which includes a reference to the Houla massacre false flag operation).
Houla massacre

For more on the Houla massacre, now exposed as a false flag operation wherein Free Syrian Army forces disguised as pro-Assad 'thugs' massacred unsympathetic mostly non-Sunni families and blamed the regime, see:

Reconsidering The Houla Massacre – OpEd
By: Paul Woodward
Euraisia Review, 11 June 2012

The UN and the Houla Massacre: The Information Battlefield
By Ronda Hauben, 18 June 2012.

THE HOULA MASSACRE: Opposition Terrorists "Killed Families Loyal to the Government"
Detailed Investigation by Marat Musin
Global Research, 1 June 2012

Halting Syrian chaos 
By Robert D Kaplan and Kamran Bokhari
STRATFOR via Asia Times Online, 7 july2012
Quotes: "But [Assad's] removal might well hasten the slide into chaos within Syria and in adjacent Lebanon, rather than slow it.

"Assad's departure could even ignite a disintegration of the Syrian power structure into various gangs and militias."

"One can also argue that from a human-rights perspective, chaos can be worse than authoritarianism."

Kaplan and Bokhari recommend that the US hand "Iran (and maybe Russia) a total strategic defeat in Syria" on the grounds that "fighting a proxy war with Iran and Russia there is less desirable for the United States than reaching out to them."

There will be hell to pay for NATO's Holy War
By Pepe Escobar, Asia Times Online, 10 July 2012
Quote: "In the event of a post-Assad Syria dominated by hardcore Sunnis infiltrated by Wahhabis and Salafi-jihadists, guaranteed blowback will leave Afghanistan after the 1980s anti-Soviet jihad looking like a ride on Disneyland Hong Kong."


Vatican's Fides News Agency - U.S. Backed Syrian Rebels Killing Christians.
 14 June 2012 (YouTube 3:49mins)

'Attack on Iran after Syria falls major goal of the West'
 8 July 2012 (YouTube 5:18mins)

For further background - see this blog, label: Syria

Monday, January 9, 2012

SYRIA: false narratives and propaganda

By Elizabeth Kendal

The battle presently taking place in Syria includes a battle by foreign powers for Syria -- a battle for the regional balance of power; a battle that pits the US-Saudi / Gulf Arab Sunni Axis against the Iran-Hezballah Shi'ite axis of which Arab, mostly Sunni Syria is integral.

Religious Liberty Prayer Bulletin | RLPB 137 | Wed 07 Dec 2011

Aisling Byrne writes for Asia Times Online (5 Jan 2012), that the battle for Syria is essentially the first stage of a "war on Iran". Byrne quotes Saudi King Adbullah who observes: "Other than the collapse of the Islamic Republic itself, nothing would weaken Iran more than losing Syria." Likewise, notes Byrne, the US administration has also commented that regime change in Syria would constitute a massive blow to Iranian power in the region.

"What we are seeing in Syria," she concludes, "is a deliberate and calculated campaign to bring down the Assad government so as to replace it with a regime 'more compatible' with US interests in the region. [. . .] Not for the first time are we seeing a close alliance between US/British neo-cons with Islamists (including, reports show, some with links to al-Qaeda) working together to bring about regime change in an 'enemy' state."

See: A mistaken case for Syrian regime change
By Aisling Byrne, Asia Times Online, 5 Jan 2012


Byrne's article is essential reading for anyone confused by the conflicting narratives coming out of Syria, for Byrne's main complaint is against the "deliberate construction of a largely false narrative that pits unarmed democracy demonstrators being killed in their hundreds and thousands as they protest peacefully against an oppressive, violent regime, a 'killing machine' led by the 'monster' Assad." (emphasis mine)

Most of the article's ten pages are devoted to exposing and analysing the propaganda that is pouring out of Syria and being disseminated by those with a strategic interest in regime change and others determined not to let truth get in the way of a sensational story.

Byrne notes: "Of the three main sources for all data on numbers of protesters killed and numbers of people attending demonstrations - the pillars of the narrative - all are part of the 'regime change' alliance".

In particular, the British-based Syrian Observatory of Human Rights -- which is funded by US and Gulf Arab money -- "has been described as the 'front office' of a large media propaganda set-up run by the Syrian opposition and its backers." As Byrne comments, the Observatory has been pivotal in sustaining the narrative of "massacres" and more recently "genocide". Yet not only is the Observatory not legally registered as a company or charity, it has no office, no staff and yet is "reportedly awash with funds".

Byrne reports: ". . . a YouGov poll commissioned by the Qatar Foundation showed last week that 55% of Syrians do not want Assad to resign and 68% of Syrians disapprove of the Arab League sanctions imposed on their country. [. . .] Unsurprisingly, not a single mainstream major newspaper or news outlet reported the YouGov poll results - it doesn't fit their narrative."

-- (or at least foreign backing)

As was the case in Libya, Syria's is an asymmetric conflict: the Syrian opposition cannot match the Syrian military. As Stratfor has noted, "Thus far al Assad has resisted his enemies. Though some mid-to-low-ranking Sunnis have defected, his military remains largely intact; this is because the Alawites control key units. Events in Libya drove home to an embattled Syrian leadership -- and even some of its adversaries within the military -- the consequences of losing. The military has held together, and an unarmed or poorly armed populace, no matter how large, cannot defeat an intact military force." (Stratfor: "Syria, Iran and the Balance of Power in the Middle East." By George Friedman, 22 Nov 2011.)

Consequently, the Syrian opposition knows that it needs external support, and to get it, it has to make a case for at best foreign intervention, and at least foreign backing.

Of course the West will never intervene on purely humanitarian grounds; it must have economic or geo-strategic interests. This is why multitudes of genuine humanitarian concerns are ignored or worse, treated as embarrassments and inconveniences to be covered up.

In order to launch a "humanitarian intervention", the Western governments concerned -- being democracies -- will first need to convince their constituents that a humanitarian catastrophe is indeed underway. Of course anyone can create a humanitarian catastrophe -- real or imagined. It has been done before by Islamist separatists in Bosnia, Yugoslavia; Albanian Islamist separatists in Kosovo, Serbia; Islamist imperialists in Ivory Coast and Islamist imperialists in Libya. It has also been attempted unsuccessfully by Islamist imperialists in the Palestinian Territories and in South Lebanon. Yes, false narratives have been created and propaganda used before to pave the way for US-NATO bombing campaigns against innocent civilians from Belgrade to Abidjan to Sirte, all so US-NATO states can advance their own economic and geo-strategic interests.

Byrne quotes American Conservative which notes that figures being cited by the UN are based on rebel sources and are uncorroborated. Likewise, reports of mass defections are a fabrication, with few defections actually being confirmed. Furthermore, American Conservative asserts that "Syrian government claims that it is being assaulted by rebels who are armed, trained and financed by foreign governments are more true than false".

See: NATO vs. Syria
By Philip Giraldi, American Conservative, 19 Dec 2011

Byrne's article in Asia Times Online includes many more such quotes and claims, including that the US has been pumping money into Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated groups specifically for the purpose of advancing regime change in Syria with the goal of hurting Iran.

As already noted, Byrne's article is essential reading for anyone trying to make sense of the situation in Syria.


Like the Papuans of Eastern Indonesia and the Kachin of northern Burma, the threatened, imperiled, besieged Christians of Iraq and now Syria are just an inconvenience to Western powers that have economic and geo-strategic interests in their sights.

Western Christians need to accept the new reality: their governments do not inhabit a moral high ground. Rather, they are driven by economic and geo-strategic interests (money and power) and will not be hamstrung by inconvenient truths concerning the devastating consequences their actions will have on the liberties, lives and even future survival of local Christian communities.