The Western propaganda offensive against Syria looks like tripping over itself in the rush to cover up the increasingly threadbare lies and deception that the mainstream media have been shamelessly churning out over the past year.
In the latest innovation, the Western corporate media are trying to tell us that a “rising tide” of rogue Islamic extremists is “sullying” the honourable armed opposition groups who are fighting the good fight for democracy in Syria.
The London Financial Times reports: “Both secular and Islamist groups are distancing themselves from a rising tide of propaganda by extremists intent on exploiting the uprising.”[Financial Times]
The FT adds: “For now, however, observers say the jihadi element in the revolution remains small [sic] and the extent to which it will be able to make headway is uncertain, given that the extremists are being denounced by both the secular and Islamist opposition.”
What this signals, more accurately, is an ideological move by the Western powers to create a false dichotomy between a “good opposition” and a “bad opposition” in Syria.
Then, all the violence and atrocities attributed to armed anti-government factions can henceforth be conveniently blamed on the “rogue” Islamic extremists, who are not “really part of the good opposition”.
The diversion of public understanding of what is going on in Syria is given greater urgency because of the overwhelming evidence emerging that the so-called Syrian Free Army opposition is steeped in heinous acts of violence, ranging from no-warning car bombs in crowded cities to gun attacks on buses carrying pilgrims.
This is the same “opposition” that is being armed and funded to the tune of $100 million by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the other Gulf Arab reactionary monarchies, as openly declared at the “Friends of Syria” conference in Istanbul on 1 April. This is the same “opposition” that has been afforded training camps by Turkey; the same “opposition” that is given an extra $800,000 in “aid” by the British government (at a time of swingeing public austerity in Britain); the same “opposition” that is supplied with communications and other “non-lethal” equipment by Washington, not to mention the clandestine caches of weapons – assault rifles, anti-tank mines, rocket-propelled grenades – from the US, Israel, Britain, France and Turkey, nor the teams of professional killers, known euphemistically as Special Forces, from these same countries.
As Michel Chossudovsky has carefully documented since March 2011 on Global Research, the armed so-called opposition groups have been waging a concerted campaign of violence and sabotage against the Syrian state from the outset. That is not the spontaneous operation of amateur would-be revolutionaries, who one day put down pens and the next day take up guns. This is not some peaceful civilian uprising that characterised the social upheavals in other Arab countries over the past year.
Syria, as with Libya, has been the target for a long-held Western desire for regime change. The so-called rebels and opposition are Trojan Horses that have been driven into Syria and Libya to unleash terrorism and instability on behalf of Western powers and their Sunni Arab proxies. Syria has the added value of being an important ally of Iran, Russia and China – all of whom are in the sights of Western imperialism.
And the Western mainstream media have obliged this propaganda line accordingly, portraying the Syrian government in particular as barbarous in its alleged attacks on civilian centres to crush a “peaceful opposition”.
The mental gymnastics of the Western corporate media has even cast doubt on the perpetrators behind a string of deadly car bombs in Syria’s capital and second city, Damascus and Aleppo, with the BBC and CNN both insinuating that President Assad’s forces committed the mass murder of hundreds of citizens in order to tarnish the oppositionists.
Nonetheless, the glaring facts protruding from the mainstream miasma are that the putative Syrian opposition is a Frankenstein creation of Western powers and Sunni Arab proxies, comprising Islamic extremists stitched together from Libya, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia among others, as well as criminal opportunists from within Syria. It is armed to the teeth by the West and the Gulf kingdoms, and trained in Turkey and Jordan. All these sponsors are desperately trying to cohere the terrorist assault on Syria with a semblance of discipline, hence the nomination of the Syrian National Council as the authoritative mouthpiece of the disparate armed groups and the prompting by US secretary of state Hillary Clinton to get this mouthpiece to say a few articulate, sonorous words about its “vision”.
But despite the best efforts by Western governments and the media to dignify and conceal, the facts are bursting from the seams of their monstrous lies. The Syrian armed opposition groups are an extremist army of mercenaries right across their ranks. The real dichotomy in Syria is between a state, its army and civilians, and a mercenary army that is waging a campaign of foreign state terrorism. Syria is at war, but not with itself. It is at war against an array of foreign powers.
Meanwhile, the United Nations secretary general, the pathetic Ban-ki Moon, denounces the Syrian government and army besieged by a not-so clandestine war of aggression.
Last week, the Syrian government gave a honourable commitment to former UN secretary general Kofi Annan’s apparent Peace Plan. However, that plan looks increasingly dead in the water because the Syrian state forces cannot implement a ceasefire when armed groups acting on orders to destroy the Syrian state have rejected any notion of cessation and are still continuing their campaign of kidnappings, executions and bombings.
And yet Washington, in all its strident arrogance, imperiously demands that the Syrian government implements the impossible – a unilateral ceasefire in the face of mass murder and mayhem orchestrated in part by the US.
With the latest propaganda construct of a “good opposition” and a “bad, rogue, Islamist, fundamentalist opposition”, the Western powers can now make out a spurious asymmetry in the conflict. The Syrian army (in defending the state and civilians) is presented as guilty of violations, while the violence from oppositionists that the West partially permits into the pages of its unfree press – it can no longer do otherwise because of the appalling level – well, that violence is being committed by “rogue Islamists” who are not really representative of the opposition.
Therefore, the Western twisted logic will run, the Syrian government is “not interested in peace”, is “guilty of brutality”, and NATO is, alas once again, morally mandated to intervene, this time to save the people of Syria out of the noble principle of “responsibility to protect”.
You could hardly make it up. But the Western powers are doing just that.
Finian Cunningham is Global Research’s Middle East and East Africa Correspondent