July 12, 2012
Asia Times

Covering Syria: The Information War

by Aisling Byrne

The narrative that has been constructed by the Western mainstream media on Syria may seem to be self-evident from the scenes presented on television, but it is a narrative duplicitously promoted and coordinated so as to conceal and facilitate the regime-change project that is part of the war on Iran.

What we are seeing is a new stage of information war intentionally constructed and cast as a simplistic narrative of a struggle for human rights and democracy so as deliberately to exclude other interpretations and any geo-strategic motivation.

The narrative, as CNN puts it, is in essence this: "The vast majority of reports from the ground indicate that government forces are killing citizens in an attempt to wipe out civilians seeking [President Bashar] al-Assad's ouster" - the aim being precisely to elicit a heart-wrenching emotional response in Western audiences that trumps all other considerations and makes the call for Western/Gulf intervention to effect regime change.

But it is a narrative based on distortion, manipulation, lies and videotape. . . .

Reports confirmed by leading Syrian opposition leaders in April 2011 reveal that in addition to cyber-training, weapons and money from Syrian exiles, as well as from a "major Arab Gulf country" and a Lebanese political party, were being distributed to "young demonstrators". The former head of Russian intelligence, Yevgeny Primakov, similarly noted that the Syrian conflict "started with armed revolts against the authorities, not peaceful demonstrations".

Ironically, one of the most accurate descriptions of the sectarian conflict we are witnessing in Syria comes from an assessment by the neoconservative Brookings Institute in its March 2012 report "Assessing Options for Regime Change in Syria", one option being for "the United States [to] fight a "clean" war ... and leave the dirty work on the ground to the FSA [Free Syrian Army], perhaps even obviating a massive commitment to Iraq-style nation-building". . . .

In the wake of the failures at state-building in Afghanistan and Iraq, direct intervention, with all the responsibilities this would entail, would not go down well in cash-strapped Western nations. Better to get others to do the "dirty work" - pursue "regime change by civil war". . . .


Aisling Byrne is projects coordinator with Conflicts Forum and is based in Beirut.

All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state--CHARTER OF THE UNITED NATIONS

Gen. Wesley Clark, "Memo: Attack Seven Countries in Five Years," Commonwealth Club, October 3, 2007

Enver Masud, "Millions Spent Subverting 'Enemies,' Stifling Dissent," The Wisdom Fund, February 15, 2001

Russia Today, Dec 17, 2011

"Syria: Observer Mission Report Said To Back Government," The Wisdom Fund, January 27, 2012

Robert Fisk, "Special Report: Need for oil routes buys time, claims key Damascus figure," Independent, June 29, 2012

[The SNC - and the FSA - could not be more un-representative. The "Friends of Syria" - as in Hillary and the Arab stooges - barely acknowledge the existence of the National Coordination Body for Democratic Change (NCB), the main indigenous opposition movement in Syria, composed of 13 political parties, mostly from the Left, Arab nationalists and including one Kurdish party. The NCB firmly denounces any form of militarization and totally dismisses the FSA.--Pepe Escobar, "There will be hell to pay for NATO's Holy War,", July 10, 2012]

[It's a tale about some of the most quoted members of the Syrian opposition and their connection to the Anglo-American opposition creation business.--Charlie Skelton, "The Syrian Opposition: Who's Doing The Talking?," Guardian, July 12, 2012]

LETTER: "First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates in the Arab Republic of Syria, Walid Al Moallem, to Kofi Anan, UN Special Envoy," Pravda, July 19, 2012

[Western and Gulf powers have launched the largest secret war operation since the Contra war in Nicaragua. The Battle of Damascus is not intended to topple President Bashar al-Assad, but to fracture the Syrian Army to better ensure the domination of Israel and the U.S. over the Middle East.--Thierry Meyssan, "The battle of Damascus has begun,", July 20, 2012

[ . . . this endgame is largely in keeping with the Obama Administration's recent strategy of feigning interest in a diplomatic solution while undermining it until it finally collapses, then insisting they are reluctantly moving toward unilateral action--Jason Ditz, "US Abandons 'Diplomatic' Efforts, Aims to Forcibly Oust Syrian Govt,", July 21, 2012]

[The Western media should have learned a lesson from the Iraq fiasco.--Tom Fenton, "Swallowing the big lie on Syria,", July 21, 2012]

[ . . . the United States, in another case of the Middle Eastern tail wagging the American dog, has downsized its dreams of liberal-democratic revolution for the reality of regime collapse driven in significant part by domestic thugs and opportunists, money and arms funneled in by conservative Gulf regimes, violent Islamist adventurism, and neo-Ottoman overreach by Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Erdogan.--Peter Lee, "Syrian wheel of fortune spins China's way,", July 21, 2012]

[Syria itself, contrary to what most western media portray, is a long-standing multi-ethnic and religiously tolerant secular state with an Alawite Muslim President Bashar Al-Assad, married to a Sunni wife. . . .

According to an informed assessment by Gajendra Singh, retired Indian diplomat with decades of service in the Middle East and a deep familiarity with the ethnic mix inside Syria, were the minority Alawite regime of Al-Assad to fall, the country would rapidly descend into a bloodbath that would make estimates of 17,000 killed to date a mere prelude. Singh estimates, "A defeat of Assad led regime will lead to slaughter of Alawites, Shias, Christians, even Kurds and Druzes. In all, 20 % of a population of 20 Million."--F. William Engdahl, "Putin's Geopolitical Chess Game with Washington in Syria and Eurasia,", July 23, 2012]

[A Saudi clan, the Sudairi, is spearheading the counter-revolutionary tide unleashed by the United States and Israel in the Middle East. . . .

In the current period, the image of the jihadists needs to be changed. They are now expected to fight alongside NATO, as they once fought alongside the CIA in Afghanistan against the Red Army. It is therefore advisable to revert to the pro-Western discourse of the past and to find a substitute for anti-communism. This will be the ideological task of Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawi.--Thierry Meyssan "The Middle East counter-revolution,", July 26, 2012]

Paul Craig Roberts "Syria: Washington's Latest War Crime,", July 27, 2012

[The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) last week sent the waiver to Brian Sayers, of the Syrian Support Group, which describes itself as "a United States-based non-profit organization committed to supporting the Free Syrian Army."--John Glaser, "US Authorizes Advocacy Group to Aid Syrian Rebels, Build Up Opposition Army,", July 28, 2012]

UNCONFIRMED REPORT: "Syria eliminates Bandar bin Sultan in retaliation for Damascus bombing,", July 29, 2012

Roger Boyes, "Saudi spy chief aids Syrian rebel war,", July 30, 2012

Alex Newman, "After U.S. Uproar, Another Syrian 'Civilian Massacre' Story Falls Apart,", July 30, 2012

British MP George Galloway, July 30, 2012

[ . . . 56 of them made themselves public by signing a letter to President Obama demanding that he send in the US Army to complete the destruction of Syria and its people . . .

Among the 56 signatures are a few names from the Syrian National Congress, believed to be a CIA front--Paul Craig Roberts, "War Criminals in Our Midst: Neocon Architects of Armageddon',", August 2, 2012]

Loveday Morris, "Kofi Annan washes hands of Syria 'mission impossible',", August 3, 2012

"China accuses West of hindering Syria peace efforts, repeats call for non-military solution," Associated Press, August 4, 2012

Robert Fisk, "Assad's merciless assault risks wiping out both his country's future - and its past," Independent, August 6, 2012

Seumas Milne, "Western and Gulf regime support for rebel fighters isn't bringing freedom to Syrians but escalating sectarian conflict and war," Guardian, August 7, 2012

[Reuters reported a classified intelligence "finding" signed by President Obama authorizing aid to the Syrian rebels. This may be the tip of the iceberg that eventually reveals an extensive covert campaign by the United States, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to overthrow the Assad government in Damascus. According to this scenario, these U.S. allies would be using Qatar, assorted freelance jihadists and Lebanese rightists as cat's-paws to sustain the uprising. Jihadists, both Syrian and foreign, may also play a spearhead role in the fighting.--Eric S. Margolis, "Syria and the Invisible Hand of Foreign Intervention,", August 10, 2012]

Julian Brger, "Syria crisis: west loses faith in SNC to unite opposition groups," Guardian, August 13, 2012

["You won't believe this," Major Somar cried in excitement. "One of our prisoners told me: 'I didn't realise Palestine was as beautiful as this.' He thought he was in Palestine to fight the Israelis!"--Robert Fisk, "'Rebel army? They're a gang of foreigners',", August 23, 2012]

[The Central Intelligence Agency is playing its part, and its ominous presence at the "nerve centre" in the Turkish city of Adana, coordinating the military strikes buffeting the Assad government, has been well recorded. . . . Syrian "rebels" being armed with Stinger missiles--Atul Aneja, "Shades of Afghanistan in the Levant,", August 27, 2012]

Robert Fisk, "Exclusive: 'We believe that the USA is the major player against Syria and the rest are its instruments',", August 28, 2012

[In 1918, the imperial powers divided the Middle East in a certain way that suited their interests at the time. They are now remapping it again . . . It is not coincidental that this program dovetails with Israel's own long-term strategic planning.--Claudio Gallo, "The remapping of the Middle East',", August 30, 2012]

[Morsi had already launched Egypt's plan to solve the interminable Syrian tragedy; a contact group uniting Egypt, Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia.--Pepe Escobar, "Morsi delivers his calling card',", August 31, 2012]

Robert Fisk, "Minister for information who wants to go straight: Truth will no longer be a casualty of Syria's civil war, says President Assad's media supremo',", August 31, 2012

[One US intelligence estimate found as many as a quarter of the 300 different rebel groups in Syria may be fighting under the banner of al-Qaeda--John Glaser, "Jihadists Striving for Autocratic Theocracy Make Up Syrian Rebels',", September 8, 2012]

Michel Chossudovsky, "9/11 Mastermind Osama bin Laden: America's Anti-Soviet 'Peace Warrior' and CIA 'Intelligence Asset',", September 8, 2012

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