"He said, she said" Accounts from Syria Comment
I like to check the pro-regime website, Syria Comment, every now and then just to see what the 'other' side is up to. Today they had a report by an American woman - she's described as a business owner - basically saying that everything in Latakai is actually ok. She says that the people being held in the stadium in Lattakia were refugees, and that a prominent family, the Joud's had donated a truckload of food so people could break their fast (this claim counters reports that people are being incarcerated and tortured in stadiums). She also says she thinks it is quite credible that there is an armed opposition, and that the army is being targeted unfairly. In effect, I think her report is published in full because it raises that all important 'reasonable doubt' that regime apologists like to hide within. There isn't really anything in her report which is concrete, or solid. All you will find is hearsay and opinion. For example, in one part she says she saw a Palestinian girl being arrested after weapons were found in her apartment. For some reason this leads her to believe that there are armed opposition groups. But her language is very ambiguous; did she see a Palestinian girl being arrested AND see them find weapons in her apartment? Or did she see a Palestinian girl being arrested and assume, or was told, that the reason was because they found weapons in her apartment?
In another part of her commentary she says an 'ex-pat' friend of her's saw somebody setting up a sniper rifle on a rooftop. She says he was arrested 'after somebody else called the police'. Again, the same questions raise themselves. Did her friend actually see somebody call the police, and how did her friend know that this man was a member of these shadowy 'opposition' groups? These are all strange statements to base such strong assumptions on. As is the habit with contributors to Syria Comment, she also cites 'credible sources' that conveniently lend credence to 'rumours' of so-called 'opposition fighters' taking control of the Palestinian camps or of parts of Lattakia. Of course these sources invariably reinforce this narrative, which is the only one the Assad regime tolerates.
Overall, I get the impression that this account had been published in order to promote the government's narrative. In the same post on Syria Comment, a second quote from "a Syrian from Aleppo" belies the neutrality alleged by some who speak about 'both sides', as if Syria was at war. This position is a strange, but quite amusing one, where the government is usually chided (gently) for not allowing peaceful protests, but at the same time gives full credibility - based on similarly foggy accounts as the business man's wife above - to stories of some kind of salafist inspired uprising taking place in Syria. Stories like this generate an artificial debate, and add an extra level of confusion for people who might not have a full idea of what is happening in Syria yet. Again I think this kind of behaviour is intentional and the language used is deliberate.
The Professional Liar
On another note, a certain "We Love You" spin-doctor I know, and one who has positioned himself as a kind of 'devil's advocate' for the Syrian regime, posted a particularly offensive comment on Facebook recently. A picture by Ali Ferzat was dedicated as follows: "A cartoon by Ali Farzat for the people of Libya who are happy to replace their lovely leader with an even lovelier new leadership that welcomed NATO's military intervention and Israel's "help"."
Ali Ferzat was recently beaten up by the Syrian mukhabarat in Damascus because of the cartoons that he drew, where he was critical of the Syrian regime and its violent repression of the protesters (This got a fleeting mention on the Syria Comment website, by the way). The irony of using this picture, by this man, to discredit a revolution against a key ally of the Syrian regime, is clearly intentional and aimed to offend. My spin-doctor acquaintance now seems to be working on overdrive to discredit and offend fellow Syrians - left, right and centre -if they dare to criticise his beloved Syrian regime - and he does this with a slight tinge of desperation.
With Us Or Against Us Mentality - The Syrian 'Twitter' Army
One final note, I am noticing that regime apologists are themselves the ones who are raising fears of NATO intervention in Syria to a fever pitch. Anybody who supports the Syrian protesters is now de facto also supporting the foreign intervention in, and occupation of, Syria. People are jumping onto my Twitter feed and, unprompted, begin discussing the reasons for my support of a NATO bombing campaign in Syria, even though I have never held such a position and don't advocate it. This crude attempt to hijack the course of discussion is something people have to be aware of. It is, again, an attempt to create an artificial debate, with the intention of swerving the discussion about the Syrian uprising away from legitimate demands to some abstract level with lofty proclamations against colonialism and imperialism. I find that bringing these people back down to earth is usually a good response and a better start to any discussion
I'm going to keep updating my posts with little tid-bits that I come across from the Syrian 'We Love You' crowd. Their non sequiturs, illogical statements, and - at times - blatant lies, make for a fascinating insight into this era of Arab fascism that we are slowly recovering from.