Friday, December 23, 2011

The Boy Who Cried Wolf...

I think it is unwise to jump to any conclusions with regards to the bombings in Damascus. There are so many parties and interests involved, and no scenario is too outrageous to dismiss entirely. Yet something is deeply suspicious about the way the Syrian regime has handled the entire affair. Whenever bombs have gone off in Damascus in the past, and there have been many over the past few decades, the instant blame was put on the Mossad, and a media blackout is punctured only by a brief statement in the regime's official media. Nothing more is ever heard of the affair again.

This time things are different, the culprit was, within an hour of the bombings, labelled as "al Qaeda", and the state media have been allowed unprecedented access to the high security locations that were bombed. Gory images of the victims of the bombing have been broadcast, and state officials are pushing past each other to make statements denouncing the al Qaeda "plot" to destabilise the country, and clearly they are trying to discredit the pro-democracy protesters by blaming them for the situation in the country. This is all highly out of character for the regime, but then again, since the start of this revolution, they have paraded people on television to prove they are still alive, whilst earlier denying that the protests during which they were arrested had even happened in this country (note the case of Ahmad Baiasy and the Bayada people who were abused by Assad's shabiha and forces), and then they had also paraded the person believed to be behind the assassination of Imad Mughniyeh, three years after the latter's assassination and only now, when the country was engulfed by protests that are the first serious threat to Assad's rule since 1982.

Also during this revolution, the regime, and for the first time, allowed protesters to try and breach the borders with Israel, and even provided them buses. It's armed forces neglected to protect the protesters on the second attempt, and Syrian and Palestinian civilians who tried to enter the occupied territories were shot by the Israelis. The area bordering the Golan cannot be approached by any civilians, and I have been told that anybody wishing to undertake such a trip requires clearance from four security apparatuses. So there was nothing 'spontaneous' about these trips, and cynical observers claimed this was yet another attempt by the regime to deflect criticism over its repressive handling of the protests.

One must also not forget the many lurid tales of drug addled protesters who were being egged on to carry out protests, riots and vandalism, the stories of the drug laced sandwiches that turned harmless Syrians into bloodthirsty monsters, and the al Jazeera branded "hallucination pills". All of these stories are baseless, and can be seen as pure propaganda to terrify the undecided segments of Syria's population, who wished for security and stability far more than for freedom and the right to protest. There was also the denial, at first, that any Syrians were protesting, then there was the claim that people who were said to be protesting had actually been celebrating the arrival of the rains, and then, perhaps most stupidly, was Reem Haddad's claim to the international media that the thousands of Syrian refugees who had escaped the from the Syrian army's campaign in the Idlib province of Syria were really just visiting their relatives in Turkey. The absurdity beggars belief.

So now, we are expected to believe that al Qaeda has carried out such an attack in the most heavily guarded district in Damascus, just when the Arab League observers have arrived to monitor the status in the country, and on the day when the country is expected to have widespread protests calling for an end to the Assad family dictatorship. It's all a bit too strange to believe, and in light of how many times this regime has lied, manipulated, and insulted the intelligence of the world, it could be a case of the boy who cried wolf too many times if it really is al Qaeda that carried out this attack. Such a tragic time for this beautiful country...

1 comment:

Wendy Wyatt said...