Schmutzige Rolle der Medien im Syrienkrieg

Die negative Rolle der Medien in der Radikalisierung speziell des syrischen Konflikts kann man gar nicht übertreiben.

Nicht nur die IS sondern viele ideologisch leicht abweichende Gruppierungen innerhalb der syrischen Rebellenlandschaft bekamen und bekommen immensen Zulauf von inner- und aussersyrischen Extremisten, weil die Medien systematisch und gezielt den Konflikt in Syrien verzerrt und einseitig darstellen.

Dem Leser/Zuschauer/Zuhörer wurde suggeriert, die syrische Regierung und Armee sei eine „Alawiten only“-Veranstaltung und von Hass auf die sunnitische Mehrheit des Landes getrieben.
Assad sei einfach ein blutrünstiger Diktator, der nicht den geringsten Dissens dulde und das Land bewusst in Schutt und Asche lege und das Volk „massakriere“, nur weil letzteres Bisschen Reformen, Demokratie und Freiheiten wollte.
Das arme geknechtete Volk habe dann nach „Monaten“ geduldigen Ausharrens und Erleidens vieler Opfer schlussendlich zu Waffen gegriffen und sich gewehrt.

Verschwiegen wurde
– dass 60% der syrischen Streitkräfte und Milizen Sunniten sind (inklusive Generalität und Piloten)
– dass viele Schlüsselministerien (u.a. das Verteidigungsministerium, das Aussenministerium) mit Sunniten besetzt sind
– dass wesentliche Teile der Familie Assad (u.a. seine Ehefrau) Sunniten sind
– dass Assad zwar viele Gegner hat aber weite Teile grösserer sunnitischer Städte (wie Damaskus und Aleppo) mit ihm sympathisieren

Auch Ausdrücke wie „Assadarmee“ oder „Assadkämpfer“ sind tendenziös. Würde jemand von der Obamaarmee oder den Netanjahukämpfern sprechen?

Why is Iran called „terror supporter“ but Turkey not???

It is almost inconceivable to call or even imagine Nato member and EU membership candidate Turkey as „terror supporter“.
On the other hand it is a „fact“ for western media to consider Iran as such. But is this justified and if yes on what grounds?

Some facts:
The last time Iranian nationals killed anyone must have been in 1991/92 when former Iranian president Bakhtiar and artist Farrokhzad were murdered in Paris and Vienna. Since then there have been no acts of international terrorism with direct Iranian involvement, notwithstanding that both mentioned victims were Iranians themselves and no „foreigners“.

Western media and politicians, however, accuse Iran of terrorism because of that country´s support of Palestinian resistance groups (Hamas and Islamic Jihad) as well as Lebanese Hezbollah, but this is a very biased perception of things.
Starting with the latter, Hezbollah entered a truce with Israel in 2000. The truce was only interrupted for a month in 2006 and then continued. In the last 9 years since then Hezbollah did not attack any Israeli civilians at all and only on very few occasions attacked the Israeli army, each time in response to Israeli aggressions.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad have indeed attacked Israeli civilians but following circumstances have to be considered:
a) Neither of these organizations is Iranian or even Shia Muslim
b) None of them was founded or hosted by Iran. None of them „imports“ fighters from Iran
c) Iran has no boundary with them (Palestine) and has no land-, sea- or airbased supply line to reach them
d) Both of them are local resistance movements with legitimate motivation. They are fighting against an alien occupation force (Israel) that has put a siege on their territory (Gaza), builds illegal settlements on their land (West Bank) and heavily bombards their territory (Gaza) with airforce and artillery.

Looking only at the major military operations of the Israeli army in the last 7 years it turns out that some 2700 Palestinian civilians were killed, while only 8 (eight) Israeli civilians were killed.
Pro-Israeli media would highlight that Hamas (and other Palestinian groups) have „rained down“ rockets on Israel and attacked civilians this way, but they will probably not mention that this has resulted in no more than 15 Israeli civilian deaths between 2001 and 2014:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamas#Attacks_on_civilians

So, Irans support of a (democratically elected) Palestinian political party which legitimately has a military arm has been enough to qualify for the incriminating phrase „terror supporter“…

 

The less one should belittle violence against civilians which is always worthy of condemnation the more one has to scrutinize the role of Turkey in Syrias civil war.

Turkey has not only incited against the Syrian government, but worse, given safe haven to Syrias rebel groups and allowed international Jihadists to use Turkey as a hub to enter Syria:
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/an-obvious-first-step–close-the-jihadis-highway-9687899.html

Turkey facilitated and promoted the housing, funding, arming, training and smuggling into Syria of all kinds of syrian and non-syrian rebels, of which a sizable or possibly the major portion were sectarian and radical islamists, not interested in establishing democracy and introducing the human rights the west so much pretends to care for. The rebels could cross the Syrian border to stage hit and run attacks with the Syrian army being under threat of getting attacked by Turkish forces upon coming „too close“ to the border.
„…Joe Biden revealed to the embarrassment of the administration in a talk at Harvard on 2 October. He said that Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the UAE had promoted ‘a proxy Sunni-Shia war’ in Syria and ‘poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens of thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad – except that the people who were being supplied were al-Nusra and al-Qaida and the extremist element of jihadis coming from other parts of the world’. He admitted that the moderate Syrian rebels, supposedly central to US policy in Syria, were a negligible military force.“‚
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n21/patrick-cockburn/whose-side-is-turkey-on

It is unnecessary to recount the many attrocities and horrific crimes (mass shootings and beheadings of disarmed opponents, kidnapping and enslaving of women and children and the forced marriages of women to fellow Jihadists, crucifying civilians, burning prisoners of war, throwing down people from rooftops…) of the „Islamic State“ (IS, former ISIS), that was reinforced by thousands of international Jihadists who regularly entered Turkey and entered Syria (and Iraq) through that country.

Another major rebel group known for indiscriminate violence and clearly sectarian killings which has been sheltered and supported by Turkey is the al Nusra Front (or Jabhat al Nusra, JAN), Syrias Al Qaeda branch:
„Ford said part of the problem was that too many rebels – and their patrons in Turkey and Qatar – insisted that Nusra was a homegrown, anti-Assad force when in fact it was an al Qaida affiliate whose ideology was virtually indistinguishable from the Islamic State’s.“
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2015/02/18/257024/once-a-top-booster-ex-us-envoy.html

Apart from these groups, other ones, mainly active in the major cities Damascus and Aleppo and often spoken of as „moderate rebels“ are shelling civilians on a daily basis. Of course, western and anti-Syrian arab media have been either totally ignoring or downplaying these deadly attacks by uncritically and irresponsibly repeating the rebel´s „explanations“ and „justifications“ of their crimes: namely that the victims are no real civilians but „Shabihha“ or „regime loyalists“.
The rebels favourite weapon is the so called „hell cannon“, which has a very limited accuracy and fires propane gas cylinders:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2862517/My-gun-bigger-gun-increasingly-outlandish-weaponry-used-wage-war-Syria.html
Here is a picture:
Free Syrian Army fighter a prepare to fire a home-made rocket in Ashrafieh

Here is a picture showing a „moderate“ who holds a „rocket“ which he has named „a gift for election day“:
https://twitter.com/edwardedark/status/473188892741742592

The „hell cannon“ and other mortars and rockets are fired regularly at government-held west Aleppo where they kill many civilians every WEEK:
https://twitter.com/edwardedark/status/571287191575506944
Now, referring to the title of this article, is it not fair and proven to assert that Turkey has blatantly and heavily engaged in support of terrorism? Has not Turkeys support been much more direct and deadly (in terms of casualties) for Syrian (and Iraqi) civilians in less than 4 years that Irans alleged terror support in the last 15 years?

 

 

 

Western air campaign, Kobane and ineffectiveness

2,5 months after the US began to bomb IS in Iraq and almost one month after the US and allies started an aerial bombing campaign against IS in and near Kobane in Syria it is not clear at all whether any real success has been achieved.

In Iraq IS has again managed to put a siege around the Sinjar area and encircle the Yezidi inhabitants. In Kobane IS has lost a couple of hundred fighters but still in inside parts of the city and was even able to take back a „strategic hill“, which the Kurdish defenders just had recaptured 2 weeks ago as an alleged sign of the tide turning (against IS).

Several questions arise:

1. How is it possible that the most modern airforce of the world is not able (or willling?) to dislodge the 1000 (or so) fighters of a militia that has a dozen of old Russian tanks and no air defense?
2. The weapon of choice against small mobile enemy units would be attack helicopters of the types Cobra, Apache and Black Hawk. Why are they not deployed in Kobane?
3. IS has brought reinforcements from Raqqa and the Aleppo countryside in long convoys of pick ups. Why were these not intercepted and attacked?
4. „Moderate“ FSA rebels, e.g. from the „Hazm movement“ have been extensively using american ATGMs (TOW missiles) against armoured vehicles but also against sniper positions and barracks of the Syrian Army. The FSA claims to side with the Kurds and against IS. Why has not a single ATGM been applied against IS vehicles at Kobane?

Another interesting aspect of the war against IS in Kobane is that major parts of the city have been destroyed, mostly by the aerial bombing and NOT by the mortar fire of IS:
Kobane destruction

Readers all remember, when similar pictures are shown from Syria, western and (Gulf) arab press put the blame squarely on the Syrian army and used phrases such as „Assad is killing his people“. The „lesson“ is that while it´s OK for american fighter jets to demolish civilian areas of a SYRIAN city because of IS presence there, the Syrian army has no right to bomb civilian areas that have been taken by islamist militias and turned to launchpads for mortar attacks.

The „vetted, moderate rebels“ of the Free Syrian Army – Who and where are they?

You have probably heard that the US is (once again) considering to boost the support for the „moderate“ rebels in Syria. These rebels are supposed to fight at once the Syrian Army and its affiliate forces (the NDF, the lebanese Hezbollah) and the „Islamic State“ militia.
Very often when the phrase „moderate rebels“ is used by western politicians and media it occurs in verbal connection with the „Free Syrian Army“, but what/who exactly is this  moderate „Army“?

If one bothers to read through battlefield news all over Syria it becomes clear that the major anti-government forces are all radical sectarian Islamists, mostly Salafis. At best you can distinguish between Pro Saudi and „less Pro Saudi“ Salafis, but what does this have to do with „moderate“?
In particular the major rebel forces are:
The „Islamic State“ (former ISIS or ISIL)
The al Qaeda affiliate Nusra Front or „Jabhat al Nusra“ (JAN), designated as terrorist organization by the US
The „Islamic Front“ (IF)

The IF is an umbrella group featuring as its major factions the „Ahrar al Sham“ (which just lost its entire leadership), the „Liwa al Tauheed“ (whose leader was killed a few months ago) and Jaish al Islam (Army of Islam).

Another umbrella organization is the „Syrian Revolutionary Front“ (SRF) headed by (another) Saudi favourite called Jamal Maarouf. In addition to Maarouf being labeled „highway robber“ by some other rebel factions, he openly declares support for and coordination with the Salafis of JAN, so again there is no way to view the SRF as „moderate“.

But never underestimate the „creativity“ of Syrias rebels and their US- and (mostly Wahhabi) GCC-Backers: In order to confuse the international audience and create the impression that there are indeed rebels other than the above mentioned three which were exposed as clearly non-moderate, yet more rebel organization names were created.
One which was meant to give itself the pretense of being Syrian nationalist, liberal and non-sectarian is the „Southern Front“. The Southern Front is said to consist of 49 different factions and 30.000 fighters. At the second look however it becomes clear that the two major factions of this Front are the above mentioned SRF of Jamal Maarouf who praises the Nusra Front and the Yarmouk Brigade that took Unifil peacekeepers as hostages. Plus, the Yarmouk brigade strongly cooperates with JAN:
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/03/zoubi-yarmouk-brigade-qaeda-saudi-southern-front.html
Interestingly the Southern Front was sidelined by the Nusra and many of its fighters joined the latter:
http://100wordz.wordpress.com/2014/06/10/was-not-the-southern-front-supposed-to-be-dominated-by-moderate-pro-western-rebels/

This is finally how Aron Lund comments the „honesty“ behind the Southern Fronts non-extremism/non-sectarianism:
Rather than an initiative from the rebels themselves, word is that it was foreign officials that called on rebel commanders to sign a statement declaring their opposition to extremism, saying it was a precondition for getting more guns and money. Since beggars can’t be choosers, the commanders then collectively shrugged their shoulders and signed—but not so much to declare a new alliance as to help U.S. officials tick all the right boxes in their reports back home, hoping that this would unlock another crate of guns.
http://carnegieendowment.org/syriaincrisis/?fa=55054

Finally, the newest „unified“ rebel umbrella organization is the „Revolutionary Command Council„, featuring 18 rebel factions, but it suffices to read the names of SRF and „Jaish al Islam“ (Army of Islam) to know that outright Salafis and those who proudly declare to cooperate with them are definitely not qualified to be called moderates.

Summarizing, we see that there are six major rebel „joint ventures“: ISIS, JAN, Islamic Front, SRF, Southern Front and the Revolutionary Command Council. And we see that none of them is moderate. So, what exactly is the „Free Syrian Army“? Who are it´s leading commanders?
It seems the FSA has ceased to exist if it ever really existed as a clearly defined army with commando structure and clear battlefield agenda.
There was for instance General Salim Idriss, the former head of the allegedly moderate FSA, but it came out his „good“ rebels were involved in the massacre of pro-government villagers in Lattakia.
Then there was top ranking FSA Commander al-Okaidi who thanked ISIS and JAN for their crucial role in capturing Syrias Mennagh airbase.

It´s time to stop fooling ourselves, fabricate fairy tales and spread them dishonestly. A moderate FSA does not exist. Full stop. Many of those rebels deemed reliable and moderate by US, UK and France and trained and armed in Turkey and Jordan have either defected to ISIS and co. or sold/handed over their US and Saudi/Qatari supplied weapons to ISIS and Nusra. Here is a good document of shame for Obama and McCain who continue to speak about the moderates who should be further armed:
http://www.infowars.com/obama-plans-to-fight-isis-by-arming-isis/

And here another one:
„Of most interest was the capture of two M-79 rockets that were identical to a batch of such weapons supplied by Saudi Arabia to rebels in southern Syria in January 2013. “
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/08/isis-jihadis-using-arms-troop-carriers-supplied-by-us-saudi-arabia

Obama wants to attack IS in Syria without a UN mandate and without the approval of the Syrian government. One major reason is the recent beheading of journalist Steven Sotloff. Obama wants to support the moderate rebels against IS (and Assad), but how „funny“ that – according to Sotloffs family – it were the MODERATE REBELS who sold him to ISIS:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/08/steven-sotloff-sold-to-isis_n_5788312.html

Finally I like to quote Rand Paul, son of former US presidential candidate Ron Paul:

“They say there are some pro-Western people and we’re going to vet them. Well, apparently we’ve got a senator over there who got his picture taken with some kidnappers, so I don’t know how good a job we’re going to do vetting those who are going to get the arms.”

BBC (unintentionally) exposes the sheer stupidity of some anti-Assad Syrians

„This election is a mockery,“ said another widow, Fatma Fahal. „It shouldn’t happen. My husband and his three brothers didn’t martyr themselves for God and country just for people to go out and vote for Bashar.“
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-27687018

It seems noone told Fatma Fahal that the election was indeed a good platform to display opposition and discontent by voting one of the other candidates and thus AGAINST Assad. This exactly is the dilemma of Syrias opposition: They reject and (try to) sabotage referendums, negotiations and elections but offer no alternative and hence play a major role in extending the suffering of the very people they claim to represent and to protect.

Another totally shameful and ridicuolous aspect of this BBC article is the attempt to portray the Salafist and Saudi funded/supported  „Islamic Front“ (IF) as a nationalist, „moderate islamist“ and purely Syrian movement. Whoever knows the composition of the IF with Ahrar al Sham and Jaish al Islam being its biggest factions is aware of the groups sectarian and radical character. Their attempt to distance themselves from the even more radical ISIS can only deceive naive readers who are not familiar with the IFs regular joint ventures with the beheaders and prisoner executers of the Jabhat al Nusra (JAN). It was during one of the joint endeavours of the IF and JAN in Adraa where loyalist civilians were thrown into ovens and slaughtered.

Also interesting:
„In Deir ez-Zor, another city in the east, JAN militants from the local Sharia court beat and detained women who were not wearing full Islamic dress and who had listened to music at a wedding party in a private house.“
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/syria-fighting-a-civil-war-through-the-ballot-box-9449213.html

JAN is the single most important effective fighting force on the rebel side. They fight as a leading force on all relevant Syrian battlefronts. Hardly any rebel success is unrelated to JAN. For this reason the „good islamists“ of the IF, as the BBC and other pro-rebel anti-Assad sources try to whitewash them, cooperate with JAN. And when for a brief period the rebels of the so called „moderate“ and Jordan/CIA-trained „Southern Front“ achieved some successes in Deraa and Quneitra it were mostly the JAN fighters who were behind it.

Iran 2009 vs. Syria 2011

The mass demonstrations and protests in Iran after the allegedly forged presidential elections of June 2009 were on a much bigger scale than what happened in Syria after Macrh 2011.
Despite the participation of up to 3 Million people on some days in Tehran alone and despite the disproportional use of lethal violence by the security forces the „green revolution“ ebbed away after a few weeks.

There are several reasons why the protests did not turn into an armed rebellion but the main factors differentiating Irans „green revolution“ from the Syrian version of the „arab spring“ were the following:
– The protesters were not armed and nobody armed them in the process either. There were few casualties among the riot police and the Bassij militia but not as a result of systematic guerilla like violence
– The protesters were not instigated by outside powers to fight against an autocratic regime that was tyrannizing and killing them on sectarian (or ethnic) grounds
– There is a persian saying „The knife has not reached the bone (yet)“ which basically means that despite many social injustices, reprisals, persecutions, economic inequalities and mismanagement and the governments constant interference in peoples private life…still daily life was very much on an acceptable level

In Syria, however, from early on there were deadly ambushes on army and police leaving to the deaths of dozens of security personell in the very first weeks. It is factually completely untrue that the protests were nothing but peaceful for months.
The protests were „contaminated“ quite early with anti-regime accusations and complaints on religious grounds. The state was accused of applying injustice and violence against its opponents because of the latters religious affiliation.
This was by and large utter nonsense but it was meant to serve a well-planned purpose, namely to defame a secular (although autocratic) government as sectarian. Not only there are many Sunnis in the highest political, economic and military ranks of Syrias elite, Bashar al Assad and his brother are married to Sunni women and their paternal grandmother was also Sunni. Now, one could check how many Saudi, Bahraini, Qatari or other „Gulf“ princes and „notables“ are married to Shia women…

The intention behind Syrias portrayal as an allegedly anti-Sunni regime was clearly to incite sectarian sentiment and play the majority card:
a) „Alawite“ Syria is between Sunni countries or border areas with high Sunni presence (Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, western Iraq). This itself makes it totally inconceivable to accuse the Assad regime of having made the conflict sectarian
b) The western-friendly Arab petrodollar monarchies of the Persian Gulf are all ruled by Sunni Kings and Princes. They control the two most influential media networks of the Arab world: Al-Jazeera and l-Arabiyya
c) Hundreds of Millions of North African Arabs are Sunni allowing for a recruiting potential of tens of thousands of „Jihadists“ from among vast numbers of unemployed or socially weak youth. In fact it has turned out that the Jihad idea has attracted even central asian and european Sunnis

The question is whether there was a movement aiming at more reforms, freedoms, human rights and democracy that was hijacked quite quickly or whether this short-lived „secular“ revolution was on a too small scale to be considered a mass movement.
At any rate the power driving the Syrian insurgency is clearly militant Salafi islamism. The forces fighting are not even distantly moderate, academic or technocratic. Their motivation is establishing a (probably sectarian) religious state, not a civil democracy adhering to human rights:

„In fact, the only rebel factions still strong enough to resist and fight the regime on the latest fronts are the radical Islamists. The town of Azizeh, just outside the Marjeh area in the east, the strategically vital Sheikh Najjar industrial zone, the old city and Aleppo’s central prison are all defended by al-Qaeda’s affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, as well as Salafist militants Ahrar al-Sham, a member of the Islamic Front.“
http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/02/barrel-bombing-syria-aleppo-rebels-regime-war.html

Of course, the US, UK and France along with their Arab „partners“, Israel and Turkey still want to stick to the now grotesque narrative that Syrias war is between a hated, russian/iranian-held, sectarian minority regime and the majority of „it´s“ reform demanding, peaceful, secular, moderate, pro western, democracy minded…people.
So, no matter how much it turns that the „bad guys“ are not only ISIS and JN, but also the other Salafi Islamists who
– are either openly hailing Al Qaeda and its principles
– or closely cooperating with JN (and sometimes even ISIS) as Al Qaedas Syrian branch:
http://www.thenational.ae/the-syrian-rebels-who-have-no-problem-fighting-alongside-al-qaeda
See also: http://100wordz.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/islamic-front-no-answer-for-syria-conflict/

 

 

Macabre dynamics in „liberated“ Syria

„The Nusra Front has given ISIS until Saturday to accept mediation or face being expelled from Syria.“

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-26390351

So, one group of sectarian Salafi beheader extremists is threatening to expel a slightly worse sister organization within Al Qaeda in Syria.
The BBC article leaves a bad taste as it comes along as a subtle advertisement in favor of the Al Nusra Front that demands that ISIS „accept arbitration within five days“.
The correct and not too far fetched interpretation is that Al Nusra hardly has any ideological-political issue with ISIS: „He demanded that ISIS halt all military operations against other rebels“.
This means that ISIS is welcome to remain on Syrian soil as long as they blow up Syrian army checkpoints and kill Alawites instead of „killing of an al-Qaeda emissary, Abu Khaled al-Suri