Thursday, March 29, 2012

I hate to say this but Anne Barnard is lying here

I really believe that the number of mistakes by people who write on the Middle East who had never studied the region and who don't know its languages is bigger than in articles by those who had studied the region.  Look at this sentence in Anne Barnard's article today:  "The government has inflamed sectarian fears by portraying itself as the defender of Syria’s substantial Christian and Alawite populations against what it calls attacks by Sunni Islamists."  Well, Anne.  I follow Syrian regime print and visual media, and I never ever once heard or read any statement to that effect by any Syrian official or by any Syrian media outlet.  Where did you get that? Was that also told to you by those Syrian opposition people (who are "handled" by pro-Saudi Hariri goons and propagandists in Lebanon) who also told you that `Alawites are killing all Sunnis in Syria?  Never ever was such a statement made, Anne.  In fact, I have been following Syrian regime TV for months and the word Alawite does not appear once in the media, or the word Sunni for that matter.  The government has never ever spoken in such sectarian terms.  Say what you wish about the government: that it is criminal and repressive and deceptive and--most importantly--deserves to be overthrown, but it does not resort to such sectarian language ever (although the regime is sectarianly based, but that is another matter altogether).  That is what happens Anne when you don't read the actual statements of Syrian officials and only judge what they say second and third hand by (translated) conversations with opposition supporters.  There has never ever been one statement by the government in which it refers to the opposition or to what it calls "terrorist armed groups" in sectarian terms as you maintan.  Do the foreign editors of the Times never ask for evidence when statements are made about countries that are not on peaceful terms with Israel? These are the criteria?  In fact, the most blatant sectarian terms are coming from the darling of the Western governments, the voices of the opposition.  This is a sectarian exterminationist threat to  all `Alawites by a "liberal" Syrian opposition figure, Ma'mun Al-Humsi, and this one is by `Adnan Al-`Ar`ur.

PS This story will be remembered as one of the many stories that later prove to be untrue during a conflict in which the US has a stake.  What happened to the stories of Kuwaiti babies taken from incubators? What happened to the story that Qadhdhafi killed 100,000 people?