Reprinted from Consortium News
As the New York Times continues its descent into becoming an outright neocon propaganda sheet, it offered its readers a front-page story on Wednesday alleging -- based on no evidence -- that the Syrian government is collaborating militarily with the Islamic State as the brutal terror group advances on the city of Aleppo.
Yet, while the Times played up those unverified allegations from regime opponents, the newspaper has either ignored or downplayed much more significant evidence that Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have been providing real assistance to Sunni jihadists who dominate the Syrian rebel movement, especially Al-Qaeda's Nusra Front.
For instance, in March 2015, a Wall Street Journal reporter confirmed that Israel was treating wounded Nusra fighters and then returning them to Syria to carry on their war aimed at overthrowing the secular regime of President Bashar al-Assad. Israel also has struck militarily at Lebanese Hezbollah troops and Iranian military advisers who have been helping Assad's regime battle against those Sunni extremists. [See Consortiumnews.com's "Syria's Nightmarish Scenario."]
Meanwhile, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have ramped up their weapons support for the so-called Army of Conquest in which the Nusra Front plays a key role. The Army of Conquest has made major military advances against Assad's beleaguered army over the past several weeks.
Assad's stretched-thin military also was routed by Islamic State militants who captured the strategic and historic city of Palmyra. So, a reasonable person could argue that the combined efforts of Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, et al, were contributing to Sunni terrorist advances across Syria, both by Al-Qaeda's Nusra Front and Al-Qaeda's hyper-brutal spin-off, the Islamic State.
You could argue, too, that covert CIA arms shipments to the supposedly "moderate" rebels, many of whom have since joined the ranks of Nusra and the Islamic State, have aided the terrorist cause as well, even if inadvertently.
However, instead of addressing the Israeli-Saudi-Turkish-Qatari role in a significant way, the Times spins a conspiracy theory about the Assad government consciously aiding the Islamic State -- also known as ISIS or ISIL -- as its head-chopping militants seek to supplant other rebels who have dug in around the important city of Aleppo.
The Times article by Anne Barnard states:
"Syrian opposition leaders accused the Syrian government of essentially collaborating with the Islamic State, leaving the militants unmolested as they pressed a surprise offensive against other insurgent groups -- even though the government and the Islamic State are nominal enemies -- and instead striking the rival insurgents....
"Khaled Khoja, the president of the main Syrian exile opposition group, accused Mr. Assad of deploying his warplanes 'as an air force for ISIS.' Echoing those claims, the Twitter account of the long-closed United States Embassy in Syria made its strongest statement yet about Mr. Assad's tactics.- Advertisement -
"'Reports indicate that the regime is making airstrikes in support of #ISIL's advance on #Aleppo, aiding extremists against Syrian population,' the embassy said in a series of Twitter posts. In another post, it added that government warplanes were 'not only avoiding #ISIL lines, but actively seeking to bolster their position.'"
Barnard added that "Neither American officials nor Syrian insurgents have provided proof of such direct coordination, though it has long been alleged by the insurgents. The State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf told reporters Tuesday that United States officials were looking into the claims but had no independent confirmation."
Yet, despite the lack of evidence, the Times -- by hyping these unconfirmed suspicions on its front page while burying or ignoring more substantive information about Israel-Saudi-Turkey-Qatar assistance to Sunni terror groups -- is continuing its long campaign to induce President Barack Obama to intervene militarily in Syria to destroy Assad's army and achieve "regime change."
Further demonstrating the Times' bias, there is no indication that the Times thought to ask the Syrian government for its comment on the allegations, though Barnard had the help of five other Times reporters on the article. That reflects what is becoming a typical lack of professional standards at the Times and other mainstream publications on such topics.