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Oh, Horrors, It’s Syria!


I first visited Syria in 2002, returned in 2003 to make a film there and followed with subsequent visits in 2004 and 2006. Since the conflict started there last year I followed the situation in the US media, but could not recognize the reality I had witnessed. Much of the reporting, backed by pronouncements from Washington, sounded like a public relations campaign for the “rebels,” or the Free Syrian Army.

One can read the reports or watch TV news and not get a clue that beneath the usual accolades for democracy in Syria and the bashing of the Assad regime, lies the unstated and strategic truth. Washington, London, Paris and the lesser Western capitals, along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar have Iran in their gun sights, not Bashar al Assad’s dictatorial regime.

Iran, has a nuclear program that might produce weapons with which their voice would resonate louder in the region. One does not read that Washington had previously relied on Assad to torture certain prisoners – after sending those men to Syria along with the questions for Assad’s nail pullers to ask them. Washington also accepted Syrian intelligence information relating to various plots against US facilities in the region.

Thousands have died in Syria’s conflict, but the West and its regional allies don’t care about that or about democracy. If anyone thinks of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, regimes that excel in autocracy and human rights abuses, while arming and bankrolling the rebels of Syria to overthrow Bashar al- Baathist dictatorship as trying to free the Syrian people, I suggest they get a grip on reality.” Robert Fisk, “Syrian Wars of Lies and Hypocrisy Hypocrasy,” The Independent  July 29, 2012.

Fisk continues to point out that Washington mutes its criticism of the Saudi caliphates as they export extremist religion and keep women tightly controlled. In the royal kingdoms power comes through birthright, not elections – similar to Syria in that way. The Saudis want to spread their pernicious poison of Islamist ideology through the Salafi-Wahabi rebels in Syria. One should also recall how Saudi royalty poured many millions into the Taliban coffers in the 1990s.

9/11 addicts will also recall that, 15 of the 19 hijacking, murderers of 11 September, 2001, came from Saudi Arabia. Instead of bombing Ryadh, we bombed Afghanistan. The Saudis repress their own Shia minority just as they now wish to destroy the Alawite-Shia minority of Syria. Does anyone outside of Alice in Wonderland believe Saudi Arabia wants democracy in Syria? (Fisk)

US leaders have issued a “stern warning” to Assad and warned hat Syria is out of control. But did not the United States learn anything from their Iraq experience?

Last week, Iraq suffered 29 bombing attacks in 19 cities, killing 111 civilian and wounding another 235. The same day, Fisk notes, Syria’s bloodbath consumed about the same number of innocents. But Iraq was “down the page” from Syria, buried “below the fold”, as we journalists say; because, “of course, we gave freedom to Iraq.” (Fisk) Do we want another Iraq war in the region?

The “big” truth, as Fisk well illustrates, about the West’s response to Syria is that it is not about Syria. The attempt to remove Assad has little to do with concern for Syrians. Instead, the anti Syria campaign relates to the US and Israeli obective of weakening the Iranian Islamic Republic and its nuclear plans – if they exist. Human rights is not something Washington cares about except as public relations for its hidden objectives.

Saul Landau’s WILL THE REAL TERRORIST PLEASE STAND UP screens Aug 14 at Washington DC’s Avalon Theater, 5612 Connecticut Avenue at 8 pm.

SAUL LANDAU’s A BUSH AND BOTOX WORLD was published by CounterPunch / AK Press.

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