Friday, February 22, 2013

Anne Barnard's love affair with car bombs in Damascus

It is not amusing to read Anne Barnard (the new NYT Beirut bureau chief) consistently strives to justify car bombs by Syrian armed groups.  Look at how many attempts she made in this one article: 1) First she says that the bombing is good because it erodes support for Asad regime:  "Witnesses, including people who had been living near the party headquarters in the Mazraa district, said the bombings were eroding what little confidence they had left that Mr. Assad’s forces could preserve at least some semblance of normalcy in Damascus, the Syrian capital, where armed insurgents have attacked with increasing brazenness." 2) Secondly she tries to imply that we don't know who was behind the bombing that targeted among other targets the headquarters of the ruling party.   "There was no immediate claim of responsibility. The main umbrella opposition group seeking to depose Mr. Assad condemned the bombings as it convened a meeting in Cairo."  3) She then moves to tell you that members of the security forces were killed in the blast:  "which the group described as a booby-trapped car next to a military checkpoint. It said that at least 16 of the dead were members of the security forces."  so 16 were members of the security forces, and I am sure that Barnard has verified the identity of every one of the 300 dead or injured.  She says the same about other blasts:  "At least 13 other people in Damascus were killed, 10 of them in the security forces, in two other car bombings near checkpoints in the Barzeh district..." 4) She then proceeds to tell you that even if innocent people are killed in car bombs by armed groups, it does not matter that much because the regime also kills innocent people:  "At the same time, the government has decimated pro-rebel suburbs with airstrikes and artillery, leaving vast areas depopulated and traumatized."  5) She then cites unnamed experts to maintain that "extreme" elements were behind the car bombs, thus exonerating the presumably secular and liberal armed groups that the media want us to believe they exist:  "Some outside experts speculated that the bombings on Thursday had been carried out by the more militant extremists among the rebels to weaken the government’s argument that it offers security..."