by Russ Baker
by Russ Baker: Wag
An awful long
time has elapsed since the media began frenetically covering the
uprising in Syria long enough for more truth to have emerged
we’ve had our suspicions
that pressworld was getting it wrong (as usual) but held
off from any serious analysis to see what else might come out. A
development the other day seemed to mark the right moment to weigh
ambushed a military general on a residential street in Damascus
on Saturday, the Syrian government reported, in an assassination
of a government stalwart that was the first of its kind in the
Syrian capital and another step away from the nonviolent roots
of the antigovernment protests.
In fact, there’s
good reason to think that what was originally presented as a peaceful
indigenous uprising by ordinary people now involves a very sophisticated
and professional apparatus with its own agenda.
that be? Well, consider the eagerness with which almost all the
leading countries in the West and their allies elsewhere have condemned
the Syrian regime, unlike the same nations’ failure to condemn comparably
repressive but pro-Western governments like Bahrain and Saudi Arabia.
wait: literally. This Western coalition has made clear that it wants
Bashar Assad out, and a new, much more compliant leader in his place.
We saw a near-identical
situation in Libya, replete with similar attempts to
build world support for action to protect ordinary people. To be
sure, ordinary people were rising up against Qaddafi, but
it wasn’t just ordinary people. A massive propaganda campaign, alarming
the world with one outrage and atrocity after another, was most
definitely not the work of these ordinary people. Remember Qaddafi
purportedly ordering his troops to commit mass rape, and fortifying
these young men with Viagra
(and condoms!)? Never verified and never mentioned
again once Qaddafi was toast. Remember the defecting cabinet minister
who promised proof that Qaddafi had personally ordered the Lockerbie
bombing? Proof never emerged, never mentioned again. That was followed,
only shortly before Qaddafi was ousted, by a lot of bragging
from the West about all the covert intervention without which the
rebels could never have succeeded. Plus the revelation
that the Western darling, Qatar, had covertly sent in its troops
to Libya. We are also seeing a similar
situation in Iran, replete with denials and surrogates.
most of the media even more foul than in their previous foulness,
docility and lack of initiative have dutifully reported the
propaganda line that is being handed to them regarding Syria, without
any serious effort to raise legitimate doubts. This is just a bunch
of normal Syrians, peacefully protesting, and a savage and unconscionable
response from their government. The headlines range from the regime
torturing children to today’s from CNN, about government troops
randomly.” (The sources, as in Libya, are the murky “opposition”
–not the most reliable and neutral of observers.)
What they have
trouble saying is this: Yes, the Syrian regime has always been brutal
and determined to hold on to power at all costs just like
the Libyan. And the Egyptian and the Saudi and the Bahraini. But
only some governments are told by foreign governments that it is
time to go. And only some governments face the wrath of the unified
diplomatic and covert military/intelligence apparatuses of countries
with a stake in the game. Thus, it is impossible to say if the accounts
of snipers firing on people in Homs is true even assuming
it is, then who is actually behind this activity, and with what
As for the
violent reaction by or ascribed to the Syrian regime
(and Qaddafi), well, those are exactly what any authoritarian
or totalitarian government would do that does not want to give up
power and end up with a sharp instrument up their orifices. Do you
believe that the West’s factory, aka China, would do differently?
Anyone pay attention to goings-on in Tibet? Even more relevantly,
do you believe for a second that the government in the United States
or Britain or France would simply abdicate in the face of an armed
uprising calling for an entirely different regime
and one supported by foreign powers without a fight?
Just look at the way the American power structure has reacted to
a comparatively minor disruption like the Occupy movement.
So there are
two main points here: outsiders are heavily involved in the uprising,
and any response from Syria is to be expected.
of Double Standards
is everywhere that the uprising comprises a geo-strategic agenda
grafted upon legitimate domestic grievances and aspirations for
liberty. Let’s consider the last two paragraphs of that Times
at the open session of the minister’s meeting, the Tunisian foreign
minister, Rafik Ben Adessalam, said the Syrian people
had the same right to freedom that has already been achieved by
the people of Tunis, Libya and Egypt.
minister of Saudi Arabia, Prince Saud al-Faisal,
said that international armed intervention in Syria had to be
ruled out, but those responsible for killing innocent civilians
had to be held accountable.
unsaid is that the Saudi people, too, presumably have the
same right to freedom. So the Saudi official has to be careful quite
what he says. Not the Tunisian, coming from a post-Arab Spring country.
Here, a new
Tunisian government, almost as friendly to the West as the old
Tunisian government overthrown in Arab Spring, is saying what
the Saudi couldn’t say because it would be rank hypocrisy of the
Saudi to say it. But this construction makes clear that the Saudis
are supportive of the effort to remove the Syrian government.
And why shouldn’t
they be? The repressed majority in Syria are Sunnis, potential allies
of the Saudi royal family, while the ruling Syrian clique is a Shiite
sect with ties to….Iran. And there are restive Shiites (with ties
to Iran) in Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province involved with
against the Saudi royal family. Uprisings you may not
know about simply because the media has failed to cover them
they’re one incarnation of Arab Spring that the Western establishment
does not want covered.
is simple enough: The Saudis are the West’s chief partner in the
oil business and elite wealth-sharing generally. They’re threatened
by Shiites. Iran and its partner Syria are leading players in the
Shiite league. From this, it’s not hard to figure who might benefit
both from toppling the regimes in Tehran and Damascus other
than ordinary citizens.
It is therefore
interesting to note the following development, as reported by the
chief has called on Muslims from other countries to support rebels
in Syria seeking to overthrow President Bashar Assad, saying they
cannot depend on the West for help.
in a videotaped statement released late Saturday, asked Muslims
in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey to join the uprising against
Assad's "pernicious, cancerous regime." All four states
Iraqi security official also told the Associated Press on Saturday
that intelligence over the last four months has revealed a flow
of al Qaeda-linked fighters from the northern Iraqi city of Mosul
Who do we have
also supporting the overthrow of the Shiite regime? Ho-HO! It’s
our old friends, the Saudi-connected, staunchly pro-Sunni Al Qaeda.
That’s right. The same enemies of the people whose leader needed
to be very publicly hunted down and killed by those Navy SEALs in
that strange raid whose media coverage never
made any sense.
We can be reasonably
certain that this story will be a blip, largely unnoticed, although
it for very good reason could outrage an awful lot of people, starting
with the families of 9/11 victims who sense that the true (and ongoing)
between the Saudis and Al Qaeda has
been deliberately covered up and dutifully kind-of-ignored
by reporters who should be frantically digging.
Oil, Toil and Trouble
another intriguing development, another blip, another unconnected
dot. This from
of the suspended Arab League observer mission to Syria has resigned
as League foreign ministers meet to decide their next move in
Sudanese General Mohammed al-Dabi, who led the month-long Arab
League observer mission to Syria, submitted his resignation on
groups criticised him for his actions in Darfur, where Sudan is
accused of genocide by the International Criminal Court.
League suspended its mission in Syria at the end of January, after
it failed to halt the violence.
To which dot
should this one be connected? Sudan, it turns out, is virtually
at war with its former southern half….over oil. As we noted at the
time, The New York Times practically forgot to mention
oil in its celebration
of the independence of South Sudan. Now, when no one
is paying attention anymore, they
mention it. So the guy who was supposed to prevent atrocities
in Syria (with an unstated back story that is all about oil) is
removed because of atrocities in his own country (with an unstated
back story that is all about oil.)
then this dot
The Times, again:
League asked the United Nations Security Council on Sunday to
send a peacekeeping mission to Syria, and called on Arab
nations to sever diplomatic relations with the country in an effort
to pressure it to end the violence there.
the Arab League sought to speed an end to a conflict that appears
to be escalating toward civil war, several Islamist groups, including
Al Qaeda, sought to ramp it up, calling on their followers
around the globe to join a jihad against the Syrian government.
At a meeting
of the Arab League’s foreign ministers in Cairo, after the League’s
own observer mission to Syria failed to end the bloodshed last
month, the organization adopted a resolution asking the Security
Council to authorize a joint Arab-United Nations force to “supervise
the execution of a cease-fire.”
resolution also called on Arab League members to “halt all forms
of diplomatic cooperation” with representatives of the Syrian
government. As it has before, the League also called for Syrian
military forces to withdraw from the cities, and an immediate
end to the killing of Syrian civilians.
of noting that Al Qaeda, the Saudis, the US, et al are all on the
same side, this reportage misleadingly stresses the “conflict” between
Al Qaeda and the UN over how to resolve the Syrian situation. It
is certainly true that the UN however one thinks of that
institution as embodying a particular viewpoint supports
negotiations, and Qaeda does not. But as usual, the elephant in
the room is missing: the United States and its European allies,
desperate desperate for oil. And the Saudis, desperate
to neutralize all sources of Shiite fomentation against the survival
of the royal family.
At this rate,
and with this behavior, and the media’s incompetence (or willful
ignorance?), don’t expect the United States government to launch
a crash Manhattan Plan to generate alternative energy sources
any time soon.
Baker is an award-winning investigative reporter. He has written
for The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, The Nation,
The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Village
Voice and Esquire and dozens of other major domestic and
foreign publications. He has also served as a contributing editor
to the Columbia Journalism Review. Baker received a 2005
Deadline Club award for his exclusive reporting on George W. Bush’s
military record. He is the author of Family
of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in
the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America
(Bloomsbury Press, 2009); it was released in paperback as Family
of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government and
the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years. For more information
on Russ’s work, see his sites, www.familyofsecrets.com
© 2012 WhoWhatWhy.com