President Assad Backed By Most Syrians
Assad’s popularity, Arab League observers, US military involvement: all distorted in the west’s propaganda war
By Jonathan Steele
Suppose a respectable opinion poll found that most Syrians are in favor of Bashar al-Assad remaining as president, would that not be major news? Especially as the finding would go against the dominant narrative about the Syrian crisis, and the media considers the unexpected more newsworthy than the obvious.
Alas, not in every case. When coverage of an unfolding drama ceases to be fair and turns into a propaganda weapon, inconvenient facts get suppressed. So it is with the results of a recent YouGov Siraj poll on Syria commissioned by The Doha Debates, funded by the Qatar Foundation. Qatar’s royal family has taken one of the most hawkish lines against Assad – the emir has just called for Arab troops to intervene – so it was good that The Doha Debates published the poll on its website. The pity is that it was ignored by almost all media outlets in every western country whose government has called for Assad to go.
Arab League presses on with Syria mission
The key finding was that while most Arabs outside Syria feel the president should resign, attitudes in the country are different. Some 55% of Syrians want Assad to stay, motivated by fear of civil war – a spectre that is not theoretical as it is for those who live outside Syria’s borders. What is less good news for the Assad regime is that the poll also found that half the Syrians who accept him staying in power believe he must usher in free elections in the near future. Assad claims he is about to do that, a point he has repeated in his latest speeches. But it is vital that he publishes the election law as soon as possible, permits political parties and makes a commitment to allow independent monitors to watch the poll.
Biased media coverage also continues to distort the Arab League’s observer mission in Syria. When the league endorsed a no-fly zone in Libya last spring, there was high praise in the west for its action. Its decision to mediate in Syria was less welcome to western governments, and to high-profile Syrian opposition groups, who increasingly support a military rather than a political solution. So the league’s move was promptly called into doubt by western leaders, and most western media echoed the line. Attacks were launched on the credentials of the mission’s Sudanese chairman. Criticisms of the mission’s performance by one of its 165 members were headlined. Demands were made that the mission pull out in favour of UN intervention.
The critics presumably feared that the Arab observers would report that armed violence is no longer confined to the regime’s forces, and the image of peaceful protests brutally suppressed by army and police is false. Homs and a few other Syrian cities are becoming like Beirut in the 1980s or Sarajevo in the 1990s, with battles between militias raging across sectarian and ethnic fault lines.
Anger: Susan Rice, US Ambassador to the UN, walked out of a security council meeting after Russia and China vetoed a resolution on Syria
As for foreign military intervention, it has already started. It is not following the Libyan pattern since Russia and China are furious at the west’s deception in the security council last year. They will not accept a new United Nations resolution that allows any use of force. The model is an older one, going back to the era of the cold war, before “humanitarian intervention” and the “responsibility to protect” were developed and often misused. Remember Ronald Reagan’s support for the Contras, whom he armed and trained to try to topple Nicaragua’s Sandinistas from bases in Honduras? For Honduras read Turkey, the safe haven where the so-called Free Syrian Army has set up.
Here too western media silence is dramatic. No reporters have followed up on a significant recent article by Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer who now writes for the American Conservative – a magazine that criticises the American military-industrial complex from a non-neocon position on the lines of Ron Paul, who came second in last week’s New Hampshire Republican primary. Giraldi states that Turkey, a Nato member, has become Washington’s proxy and that unmarked Nato warplanes have been arriving at Iskenderum, near the Syrian border, delivering Libyan volunteers and weapons seized from the late Muammar Gaddafi’s arsenal. “French and British special forces trainers are on the ground,” he writes, “assisting the Syrian rebels, while the CIA and US Spec Ops are providing communications equipment and intelligence to assist the rebel cause, enabling the fighters to avoid concentrations of Syrian soldiers …”
As the danger of full-scale war increases, Arab League foreign ministers are preparing to meet in Cairo this weekend to discuss the future of their Syrian mission. No doubt there will be western media reports highlighting remarks by those ministers who feel the mission has “lost credibility”, “been duped by the regime” or “failed to stop the violence”. Counter-arguments will be played down or suppressed.
In spite of the provocations from all sides the league should stand its ground. Its mission in Syria has seen peaceful demonstrations both for and against the regime. It has witnessed, and in some cases suffered from, violence by opposing forces. But it has not yet had enough time or a large enough team to talk to a comprehensive range of Syrian actors and then come up with a clear set of recommendations. Above all, it has not even started to fulfil that part of its mandate requiring it to help produce a dialogue between the regime and its critics. The mission needs to stay in Syria and not be bullied out.
© 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited
Jonathan Steele is a Guardian columnist, roving foreign correspondent and author. He was the Guardian’s bureau chief in Washington (1975 to 1979) and Moscow (1988 to 1994). In the 80s he reported from southern Africa, central America, Afghanistan, and Eastern Europe. In the 90s he covered Kosovo and the Balkans. Since 9/11 he has reported from Afghanistan and Iraq as well as on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. He has written several books on international affairs, including books on South Africa, Germany, eastern Europe, and Russia.
Editing: Debbie Menon
January 20, 2012 – 7:25 am
If the regime MUST go it is up to the Syrians and not you or anyone else. All the trouble of the 20th century can be traced to outsiders telling one group or another that this leader or another MUST go. And all the while the disgusting central bankers were ( and if you are any indication, still are ) goading the masses and antagonizing them with food and money collapses.
As for Stalin, he was a star Rothschild employee in Baku before the revolution. They knew him well and admired his criminality, and knew he would make a fine serial killer some day. After the depraved Rothschild funded (non)Russian Revolution he was appointed leader over the terrified Russian population and managed to kill 60 million of them. He starved and killed millions of Ukrainian farmers who had for centuries been feeding all of Russia and much of Europe and the world.
Their wheat was confiscated and sent to Moscow to feed the Rothschild parasites, and then on to China to fatten up the morons like you who fancied themselves leaders and prepared to inflict civil war on their own kind. Of course all this only happened with the help of idiots like you screaming that the Tsar MUST go. Thanks a lot.
And then – oh this is rich – you want the West to brainstorm for Syria? Do you have any idea at all who runs the West? You think they give a damn if the Syrians live or die? You see what they are doing to us? What makes you think they would want the best for you or anyone else in the Middle East? They want your resources, you are in the way, that’s what this unrest is all about. You must be the biggest dummy in Beirut. You should be slapped to death for the danger you represent. And how old are you? If you are under 18 your stupidity is understandable, but past that keep your mouth shut or you will go through life known as a buffoon.
As for every democracy in history, I doubt you have ever done any historical research on the forced and sudden 20th century democracies, foisted upon countless millions against their will and without preparation thanks to jerks like you leading the NWO charge and doing dirty work for the Rothschilds.
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January 20, 2012 – 9:06 am
So according to you every government is controlled by the Rothschilds EXCEPT Arab governments? What makes you think they aren’t controlled by them as well?
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January 20, 2012 – 10:10 am
How did you come up with that? Do you read the same propaganda as Mr. Beirut? Any government that has a central bank is controlled to one degree or another by the Rothschilds. If you had paid a little more attention to my post you would note the outside interference and internal conflict that is typical of the Roth Rats and intruders who are their agents, or “useful idiots” as Lenin called them.
This change is up to the Syrians and I hope they kick out the Roth Rats but it will not be easy or soon. And they do not need interference from foreigners. Left to themselves they can do it on their own. If they want your help they will ask for it, although it is more likely they will ask you to MYOB.
Many goverments are aware of their malevolent presence but getting rid of them is like getting rid of any internal parasite, in that it needs to be identified, isolated and carefully removed. Always difficult at best.
The central bankers do not identify themselves or their intentions, so they get where they do by fraud and lies, and infect anything they touch. Many governments are hostages for they were unkowingly walked into a depraved plan. Do you know to what degree each government is infuenced or controlled? If so, do tell, and give the Syrians some facts from which to work.
Absent that, leave them alone to sort out their own country and don’t do to them what was done to so many others since 1793 by butting in with uninformed opinions and making things worse.
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January 20, 2012 – 10:25 am
I don’t give a rats ass who runs the sand pile but you confirmed what I asked when you said they need to kick the roth rats out.
Thank you…I’m sure your opinion has helped mankind greatly, in fact if everyone would listen to you there would be no strife anywhere in the world. Self righteous and opinionated, I love it!
Charlotte NC Bill
January 20, 2012 – 3:54 pm
You’re right Ann…the worst fault I find with Assad is his occasional secret dealings with Israel and renditioning people for America early in the “GWOT”..See how much good that butt-kissing did you Assad? Unless you’re TOTALLY owned they’ll eventually move against you.
January 20, 2012 – 11:16 am
Ann raised very interesting points and as per usual as I have noticed with me you have put words in her mouth so to speak. As for being opinionated I would say pot kettle black to that.
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January 20, 2012 – 11:18 am
Ann, Syria controlled Lebanon where Youssef is from. He has had direct experience of the Assad dynasty no doubt. I can understand where he is coming from.
January 20, 2012 – 12:03 pm
This change is up to the Syrians and I hope they kick out the Roth Rats but it will not be easy or soon.
Her words not mine…try again.
January 20, 2012 – 5:22 am
I believe most Syrians, except Western-backed traitors, simply want the violence to end and reasonable democratic changes implemented.
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Youssef – Beirut
January 20, 2012 – 6:40 am
I would agree with you if you changed your sentence to read:
I believe most Syrians, except Western-backed AND ASSAD REGIME-BACKED traitors, simply want the violence to end and reasonable democratic changes implemented.
Indeed there are extremists and/or people with hidden agendas ON BOTH SIDES.
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Charlotte NC Bill
January 20, 2012 – 3:50 pm
Oh give it a rest Youssef..What are you? Another Sunni who hates the non-Sunni Alawi ( which is also not Shia but closer to it ) regime in Syria? No one has the right to take up arms against their govt when it is genuinely being threatened by outside forces…Unlike our fictitious GWOT ( Mossad and their agents/assets/allies did 9-11 ) Syria and Iran ( the only two regimes not prostrate before Zion ) are threatened..I’ve been to Beirut several times…Their army is a joke..if anything they need a formal military alliance with Syria..What? It’s OK for Israel to have a big brother but not Lebanon….Yeah, Gen Michel Aoun is my favorite Lebanese leader…General!
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Youssef – Beirut
January 20, 2012 – 5:53 pm
Charlotte, since you asked, I am christian, in case that makes any difference to you. But you can just consider me as a normal Lebanese.
I am glad you have been to Beirut “several times”. You see, I have lived here for more than 50 years, so I guess that makes me a little bit more knowledgeable about the local situation than you ever will be.
In case you ignore it, since 1976 we have been alternatively bombarded by both the Syrians (in 1976, 1979, 1981, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, and 1990) and by the Israelis (in 1978, 1982, 2006). These aggressions left an estimated 250’000 civilian deads, 1 million wounded, and 300’000 displaced. 10’000 missing are still jailed in Syria. When you know that the entire population of Lebanon was around 3.5 million people, it gives you an idea about the proportions of the disaster. I’ll let you extrapolate in percentages to see the equivalent impact it would have had on your country.
And by the way, the casualties caused by the Syrians are far greater than those caused by the Israelis. Although the root cause of all this is the support that the West gave to the Zionists in facilitating their implementation in the region back in 1948, and your continuous support of it to-date, but this is another debate.
Maybe you can better understand now why I find it difficult to consider the Syrians as being “our allies”. And nothing allows you (nor Ann) to imply that my rejection of the Syrian Regime is in any way a sign of any allegiance to the Zionist State. They are both despicable entities, and considered as my enemies.
As for your favorite Lebanese Leader, General Michel (cl)Aoun, you should know that this guy also used to be my favorite leader back in the late 1980′s. At the time he launched the so-called “War of Liberation” and tried to push the Syrians (not the Israelis) out of Lebanon. He fled to Paris on October 13th, 1990 with the help of the French Embassy, shamelessly leaving his troops behind to get massacred by the Syrian troops. He remained in exile until 2005 where he was actively meeting with representatives of the Mossad on several occasions (god knows what they were fomenting). He was also instrumental in lobbying the US Congress into voting the Syria Accountability Act in 2004.
Upon his return to Lebanon on May 7th, 2005 (two weeks after the withdrawal of the Syrian troops from Lebanon), he was not “picked up” to become the new President of as he ambitioned. He therefore completely changed sides and sided with Hezbollah and Syria in the hope that this would serve his own personal political ambitions. So excuse me if I no longer consider him as being my “favorite” leader, because such guy cannot be trusted. When the Syrian Regime will fall (and believe me, the Syrian People will make it fall) you’ll see that your favorite General is going to change sides again.
Back to the Syrian Regime. Perhaps you should also know that the worst thing that can happen to Israel is the fall of the Syrian Regime. You see, they both need each other to perpetuate their grip, for Assad on his people, and for the Zionists on their control of western governments, by using their warmongering as a justification for their acts. Are you aware that not a single bullet was shot on the Syrian/Israeli border since the end of the 1973 war, in other words during the quasi entire Assad dynasty? The only exception is the September 6th, 2007 bombing by the Israeli Air Force of an alleged nuclear site deep in Syria, to which Assad opposed no resistance, no retaliation whatsoever. This is a good indicator that Assad is only resiting to Zion in words, or through proxies in Lebanon and Palestine.
And no, there is no external threat on the regime. The biggest threat comes from from the inside, from his people, from his own autistic vision of the reality, and from his insisting of crushing his people into a dramatic bloodshed, that you un-understandably seem to caution…
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Charlotte NC Bill
January 20, 2012 – 7:14 pm
There’s no external threat to Syria?! That’s like saying there was no external threat to ( the now destroyed ) Iraq..or that there’s no external threat to Iran….that’s ridiculous…And Gen. Aoun’s not perfect but when comparing him to the other Christian leader of note ( Samir Geagea the CIA hand-puppet ) he’s a giant and a real patriot…Christians like Geagea don’t love their country so much as they hate the Muslims…which, of course, lines their country up for partition-which is exactly what the West did to Iraq and would like to do to Syria..You arabs are so damn busy hating each other you can’t defend yourselves from real external threats.
Youssef – Beirut
January 20, 2012 – 10:56 pm
Bill, I love your shortcuts and simplifications
You are comparing Apples with Oranges.
YES there was/is an external threat on Iraq, Lybia, Iran, etc.
NO there is no external threat on Syria. And yo know why? Because SYRIA HAS NO OIL. And because it will fall from the inside anyway.
Another shortcut you are taking is assuming that since I do not like General Aoun, I must be fan of Geagea. LOL. Geagea is exactly what you said, and you can even add murderer and warlord to it. Aoun is not just “not perfect”, he is a paper giant, and a real traitor in the eyes of those who believed in him, starting by myself. Thank god there are others (muslims and christians) that are real good and real patriots, but you probably never heard of them, and are subsequently excused.
Finally I also love your candid clichés like “christians hate muslims”, or “arabs are busy hating each other”. I can tell that the Zionist propaganda has left a terrible trace on your subconscious which I hope for you is not indelible.
Anyway no one expected you to fully grasp our region with just a few visits to Beirut, or through Google like many others. There is say here that goes something like that: “If you think you understood everything about Lebanon, then it was probably not well explained to you…”.
Have nice day.
January 21, 2012 – 2:55 am
Thanks for all the valuable insight Youssef.
Charlotte NC Bill
January 21, 2012 – 4:17 am
You’re mostly right Youssef but mark my words; when the Whore of Babylon comes back for your water they will be fighting Syria too..All you Lebanese better stand together…And who are these true patriots? Walking to the corner and buying my Daily Star only gives me so much info..If the Anglo-American Zionist cabal only cared about oil it wouldn’t fully explain the wanton destruction of the past several years..No, Talmudia on the Med is pushing this for expansion of their territory and total control of the region.
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January 21, 2012 – 4:47 am
Bingo! Absolutely true Bill. I see the scheme. First take down Syria one way or another, isolate Iran, then replicate the same process there.
Check some facts here, I’m sure NYTimes would like to strangle Stephen Lendman
Log in to Reply Sami Jamil Jadallah
January 21, 2012 – 9:26 am
Syria’s Ba’athist regime is not different from its counter part in Iraq, a criminal enterprise that hijacked the country, its wealth, and its freedoms and built around fear and repression. Bashar takes after his father who with the help of uncle Refa’at as head of the Saraya El-Defa’a/Republican Guards leveled the City of Hamah killing not less than 38,000 innocent civilians. Moreover, it was Hafez Assad who sent in his army to assist the Christian Phalange to siege the Palestinian refugee camp of Tel-Zaater killing more than 5,000 in less than 10 days leveling the camp and forcing more than 15,000 to flee. The Syrian regime run by secret police and repressive police could never allowed an “aunt” to pass through yet, this time around there are so many ‘terrorists”? Once has to question where is the competence of Bashar’s government and secret police. The Syrian Army performance in Lebanon was nothing but disgrace in the face of the Israeli enemy… could never even protect its own soldiers, yet was running the largest protection and smuggling operation that made Syrian officials multi-billionaires. My question is why every leader in the West was silent as Israel attacked Gaza with all the weapons and ammo the US can provide and yet all these hypocrites are crying foul in Syria… Bashar’s days are numbered… perhaps every one should watch the Arab media reporting from Ba’athist Occupied Syria..
OUTSIDE HELP…JUST AS IN LIBYA!!
NeedToAwaken on 27 Dec 2011
From: Russia Today
Published: 27 December, 2011, 15:05
Claims that armed extremists are fighting in Syria are backed by some foreign journalists working on the ground. Independent journalist Thierry Meyssan tells RT how efforts by some forces to turn the conflict into a full-scale civil war are failing.
”It began with some armed groups entering the country, making troubles, trying to create Islamic emirates on the border with Jordan. These people recruit others to form bigger fighting groups and now they are entering in co-ordination with political opposition. And you know, in this country, there is a long history of opposition between the Baas Party and the Muslim Brotherhood. So, now there is an alliance between the Muslim Brothers and these armed groups coming from abroad,” he explained. “These groups can go everywhere, because now they have some support inside the population.”
The question is why are these groups typically able to find this support? Is it because people are now ready to use any means to reverse the government, or are the reasons more ideological in nature?
Thierry Meyssan points out that the reason the Muslim Brotherhood wants to topple the Assad regime is not because they want democracy — that is according to their own words — but because President Bashar Assad is Alawi.
“It could be the beginning of religious war inside the country,” he told RT.
On the other hand, the journalist does not believe that isolated conflicts in Syria, like the one in Homs, will spread into a full-scale civil war.
“External pressure against Syria will [go on], and all these people entering [the country] will continue [to do so], but I have no reasons now to think that this will extend to all the country,” he said.
NATO, however, is trying to act in exactly the same manner in its approach to Syria as it did with Libya, Meyssan continued.
“They do exactly the same to create a file on the United Nations — first, with the Geneva council of human rights, and after — in the Secondly Council. They try to manipulate the Arab League exactly in the same way,” he explained. “In the Libyan case they organized a big story in front of the Geneva Council for Human Rights — they said 5,000 people were killed by the security forces. Of course, it’s absolutely wrong. A lot of people were killed, but very few by the security forces. Most of them were killed by these armed groups they [had] put inside the country.
“The same armed groups are used [by NATO] in [Syria],” Meyssan added.
“In Libya, the support on the streets was only in Cyrenaica, because there was an old contention between Cyrenaica and Tripolitana — this country was created artificially very late. So, you don’t have such thing in Syria,” he went on to explain. “In Syria, the only way to divide the people is to use the confessional war. They are trying to do this now.”
At the same time, the journalist insists that all the attempts by outside forces to destabilize the country by means of military are not working.
“We see a lot of people killed, but this is not a civil war they tried to organize. If they want to enter with foreign troops inside, like they did in Libya, or using the proxy from the Gulf council, they will have a very big problem because this country is ready for battle,” he said. “Syria is able to resist the pressure for a very long time.
“People who try to destabilize Assad will have a stronger Assad after that,” Thierry Meyssan concluded.
MUCH OF IT STEMS FROM FRANCE….OPPOSITION LEADER SPENDS HIS TIME THERE…