Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Syrian Regime's Cynical Game

When claims by activists that hundreds of  people are  mowed down by the regime around Idlib earlier this week, it created but a ripple in the world media because there were no "visuals" and the sources are "unverifiable". Conveniently, a day after the arrival of the Arab League advance team of observers, two explosions rock Damascus with the Syrian state media at hand to document the carnage.  Media outlets around the world publish the regime's version of events without questions, complete with visuals. Suicide bombers, they said, even though one of the "bombers" was picked up a couple of hours later.  The security forces, inept at everything except the torture and killing of  their own citizens, figured out within the hour that it was the work of Al Qaeda. SANA, publishes the accusation adding, without a hint of irony, that it was part of the "Zio-American conspiracy".  The AL observers are rushed to the scene to "observe"  and the regime spin masters are out in force to tell the world, "we told you so".  The Russian leadership, practically silent for nine months and over 6000 deaths, suddenly develops a conscience and deplores the bombing as heinous crimes. With Al Qaeda's name invoked, western media minds tend to freeze and lose all objectivity. This narrative also works to reinforce the regime's local support.  In a twist on the Youtube video of the soldier kicking a bound protester as he tells him, "you want freedom? I'll give you freedom", the minhebbakjis (regime ass-kissers) point at the carnage in Damascus and ask the opposition accusingly, "is this the freedom that you want?" Of course Syrians are not easily duped, except of course those who wear pictures of the eternal leader and choose to salute him -appropriately- with a Nazi-style salute (below).  The cynicism and Machiavellian machinations of the Assad dynasty are well known and there are no moral boundaries to their take on "the end justifies the means."

Quickly forgotten in the media are the hundreds killed in Idlib and the basic fact that, for the last several months, the daily death toll among Syrian citizens at the hands of the regime has equaled and often exceeded that of the Damascus bombings. All in all, this criminal act, was the perfect end of the year present for the embattled regime; or was it a present it gave itself?

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