An awful long time has elapsed since the media began frenetically covering the uprising in Syria -- long enough for more truth to have emerged by now.
At WhoWhatWhy, we've had our suspicions that press-world 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 in.
Here's the New York Times :
"Three gunmen 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 anti-government 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.
What could 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 -- in dramatic contrast to their silence toward comparably repressive but pro-Western governments like Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. They can't wait for the Syrian government to fall.
They can't 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.
Meanwhile, 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 "shelling 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 objectives.
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.
Department of Double Standards
The evidence 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 article: