The new media spin on terrorism in Syria

Reprinted below is an extract from an excellent article by investigative journalist, Robert Parry.

Parry begins by demonstrating the spin Western media put on the Iranian nuclear program. He notes that mainline media articles that refer to Israel’s fear of a nuclear-capable Iran are never accompanied by the obvious disclaimer – namely, that Israel itself already has its own massive stockpile of nuclear weapons! Parry sees similar acts of journalistic conjuring going on in the coverage of terrorism in Syria.

It seems that the latest arguments being pushed around the US in favour of military intervention are concerned with stamping out terrorism in Syria before it washes back on to US soil!

As I’ve said before, the logic of this equation escapes me. How could anyone think that killing Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria will make Al Qaeda affiliates in the US less likely to cause trouble at home? Parry makes an additional point – that the persons the US wants to silence are the same people Bashar Al Assad is fighting against. If terrorism was the real concern, the US would be looking to work with Assad and not against him!

“if preventing al-Qaeda from establishing a safe haven in Syria is now the top U.S. concern … then a more logical approach might be to seek a power-sharing arrangement between Assad’s government and the more moderate opposition, creating a united front against the jihadists.”

It is astonishing that so few Western commentators on Syria seem to pick up on the nonsensical nature of John Kerry’s recent arguments, such that he ends up putting forward a case to arm and fund the very terrorists that he says he wants to eliminate!

Perhaps Kerry should just stick to Israel/Palestine. He might not be doing any good there but perhaps he has less potential to do real damage (perhaps).

Father Dave

Yarmouk, Damascus

Yarmouk, Damascus (photo: Free Palestine Movement)


An extract from “Big Media Again Pumps for Mideast Wars” by Robert Parry

On Tuesday, the argument was that Obama must intervene militarily to prevent Syria from becoming a base for al-Qaeda militants to plot attacks against the American “homeland.”

“Once again, terrorists linked to al-Qaeda may be using territory they control to plot attacks against the United States, even as [Secretary of State John] Kerry pursues his long-shot diplomacy and Mr. Obama offers excuses for inaction,” the [Washington] Post’s editorial read.

Of course, a big part of the Syrian problem is that al-Qaeda-connected extremists are fighting as part of the rebel coalition against Assad’s army. Indeed, the jihadists are considered, by far, the most effective part of the rebel force. To a significant degree, the Sunni jihadists – funded and armed by Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states – are the rebel army.

In other words, the semantic trick that the Post is pulling off is to conflate the existence of al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria with the Syrian government when they are actually on opposite sides, bitterly fighting one another. The Post’s argument is a bit like blaming Fidel Castro for harboring al-Qaeda operatives in Cuba without mentioning that they are locked up at the U.S. military base at Guantanamo and thus outside Castro’s control.

Currently, the Syrian government is engaged in a brutal campaign to root out these “terrorists” – as well as other armed rebels – and is killing lots of civilians in the process. While there may be no easy solution to this catastrophe, the idea of another U.S. military intervention could easily lead to even more death and destruction.

As Hiatt noted, “Obama has doubted that the United States could intervene in such a messy conflict without making things worse. He reportedly worries that even a limited commitment would inexorably suck the nation into something deeper. There certainly is no public clamor to intervene.”

But lack of public support for another Mideast war is no concern to Hiatt and other Post editors who have never really apologized for helping to mislead the American people into the Iraq invasion which resulted in the deaths of nearly 4,500 U.S. soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Indeed, the Iraqi bloodbath — initiated by President Bush and promoted by the neocons — has already been forgotten, as the Post cited the Syrian civil war as the worst humanitarian disaster since the Rwanda genocide in the 1990s, jumping over the Iraqi carnage of the past decade.

Now, Hiatt and the other neocons are promoting “themes” designed to maneuver Obama into another Mideast conflict, pushing the hot button of al-Qaeda “refuges” as if Assad is protecting the extremists, not trying to kill them.

Yet, if preventing al-Qaeda from establishing a safe haven in Syria is now the top U.S. concern – and not just the latest neocon excuse for another U.S. invasion of a Muslim country – then a more logical approach might be to seek a power-sharing arrangement between Assad’s government and the more moderate opposition, creating a united front against the jihadists.

Such an agreement could be followed by a coordinated strategy to rid Syria of these extremists. Obama also might put the squeeze on the Saudis and other oil-rich sheiks to stop funding the Sunni jihad inside Syria.

But the U.S. insistence that Assad negotiate his own surrender – especially when his forces have gained the upper hand militarily – will simply ensure more fighting and killing, while the neocons ramp up their pressure on Obama for one more “regime change.”

read the rest of this article here

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