Thursday, September 18, 2014

Anne Barnard is back covering Syria from Beirut: the propaganda pitch is even higher about "moderate terrorists"

"Insurgents of all stripes, except for the Islamic State group, say the Syrian government appears to be stepping up its attacks on them ahead of the threatened American air campaign. Pro-government and antigovernment analysts say Mr. Assad has an interest in eliminating the more moderate rebels, to make sure his forces are the only ones left to benefit on the ground from any weakening of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS." The first version of this article, if I am not mistaken as I remember it from yesterday, claimed that ISIS has said that the Syrian regime has not stepped it attacks on it.  Now the new version by Barnard claims that insurgents "of all stripes" claimed that the Syrian regime stepped up attacks, leaving the impression (less strident than the previous propaganda version) that ISIS has actually said that the regime has stepped it attacks.  Now ISIS has not said anything on the matter, and I doubt that if asked, ISIS would say that, no, the regime has not stepped it attacks on it, as Barnard reports from her Ahrar Sham fighters (Saudi and American controlled).  Of course, those Saudi-American-run are going to claim to Barnard (who always report what FSA or those new favored rebels have to say without any questions or qualifications or investigation or verification) are going to claim that the regime is in cahoots with ISIS in order to receive yet more cash and arms.  Now, if Barnard knows Arabic she does not) only recently the same Syrian rebel media and oil and gas Arab media were reporting that the regime did step up attacks on ISIS but then accused the regime of killing Sunnis.  Oh, wait: as I reread the passage further, I realize that Barnard did not change the text as I read it further.  Here she says that sentence: "But Islamic State activists in Homs said on Wednesday that there had been no recent government airstrikes against the group". When did ISIS say that? You are telling me that ISIS made a statement in which it said: that the Syrian regime is not attacking us? are you kidding here, Ms. Barnard? Do you really believe everything that those rebels tell you? What did ISIS also say: that yes, we in ISIS are in cahoots with the regime?  How credible is this reportage?  But who cares as Ms. Barnard tells us that this rebel groups is--surprise, surprise--is yet another MODERATE group: "The Faith in God Brigade in Talbiseh is probably one of the most moderate forces left on the battlefield".  A moderate group with a name like Faith In God?  Why not add: this is a secular group named Faith in God?  Add more to the credibility of the article while you are at it.  Wait: I was wrong. Ms. Barnard does actually marshals evidence that this group is in fact moderate: "Before the war, Mr. Abu Nouh, 29, was an Internet technician. In the early days of the uprising, he wore his hair long, kept a poster of the heavy metal band Iron Maiden in his house, and watched American movies like “Fight Club” with civilian activists and asked them to bring him vodka from Damascus along with medical supplies and computer equipment." Long hair and vodka? If that is not a sign of Arab moderation nothing is.  And since the beginning of the Syrian uprising, I always identify when a Syrian rebel is lying: when the claim that they are independently funded from "Syrian exiles". Here is an example yet again: "The brigade in Talbiseh has refused to join with more extreme groups like the Islamic State or the Nusra Front, the Syrian affiliate of Al Qaeda, Mr. Abu Nouh said. He said the brigade raised money mainly from Syrian émigrés in Persian Gulf states who have local relatives."  I bet. Was the TOW missiles also bought by Syrian emigres as well?  By the end of the article, Ms. Barnard seems to change her mind about the moderation of this group:  "And while they are more moderate than the Islamic State, the brigade’s Sunni fighters nonetheless express sectarian hatred toward the minority Alawite sect that forms Mr. Assad’s base. Mr. Abu Nouh shrugged at the news that 18 civilians were wounded in pro-government neighborhoods on Wednesday, saying, “They are Alawites.”" Did you mean to say, Ms. Barnard, that those are moderate terrorists?