Discussion in 'West Asia & Africa' started by W.G.Ewald, Mar 18, 2012.
Saudi sends military gear to Syria rebels: diplomat - Yahoo! News Canada
In this instance saudi means usa because saudis dont make any weapons and they cant ship yank weapons to others without taking permission first.
Clever ploy too. Sunni Saudis sending military aid against the Shia rulers of Syria. Divide and rule.
It will not take long for them to call this one out. Saudis supported the Bahrain government against its rebellion with the population being Shia and rulers being Sunni.
Dangerous game this. Shias have not been fanatics like the Sunnis of Saudis who have been consumed by Wahhabism.
I hope peace prevails.
That is probably how Saudi sees it.
Assad's wife is from an influential Sunni family based in Homs, and she is totally supportive of Assad.
There is no crack in Assad's extended family either. This is all politics - KSA and Iran vying for influence over each other. Shia-Sunni rift helps to gather foot soldiers, but at the end of the day, it is all about influence, money and resources.
That Saudi government has once again betrayed their clandestine intentions. They have been funding madrasas and trying to spread Wahhabi ideology all over the world. Their money and training has wrecked havoc the world over and Pakistan, their proxy, is another self styled caretaker, aka thakedar, of Islam worldwide, that feels compelled to 'stand up to the occasion' all over the world while its own house burns!
What makes you think they are shipping Yank weapons? They are funding the black market supply to the FSA. They aren't using anything in their own stocks.
When such trifling news are pandered to do down an adversary instead of the major issue, even staunch supporters realise that the movement is that of losers who are clutching straws!
When such trifling news are pandered to do down an adversary instead of the major issue, even staunch supporters realise that the rebel movement is that of losers who are clutching straws!
- The Arabic media are furthering their own agenda in Syria
Just about a week in Syria can be an eye-opening experience. For the first time since I became a journalist 40 years ago, I was embarrassed to identify myself as belonging to the media before those who are outside the Fourth Estate.
One day during my stay in Damascus two weeks ago, I watched Al Jazeera announce the â€œbreaking newsâ€ of demonstrations against the Syrian government in Duma on the outskirts of the capital. I jumped into a taxi and persuaded the reluctant driver, who had also heard on Al Jazeera about trouble in Duma, to take me there.
To my initial puzzlement and subsequent revulsion, I found that Duma was as peaceful and bustling as Calcuttaâ€™s Park Street on a normal day, its residents going about their business as usual. To be sure, I asked around, but no one knew anything about any protests in their midst that day although many had heard about it on Al Jazeera. There had been demonstrations against the government in Duma, but the last time its residents protested was almost two months ago, in the third week of January, according to residents there.
Journalists are human. They make mistakes. So I gave the benefit of doubt to the Doha-based television channel, which was hailed as a refreshing new start in the global media when it was first launched. Among the scores of journalists from Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, India and other non-Western news outlets who were in Syria at the same time that I was visiting, there were many who had hailed Al Jazeera on its dawn as a welcome alternative to the American and European media which now dominate international news coverage.
During the remainder of my stay in Syria, I realized that this was not a case of inadvertent misreporting. And Al Jazeera is not alone in making up news instead of reporting news. A new crop of Arabic news outlets, claiming to be free, have become active players in the Arab Spring as much as rebel movements and governments in West Asia, the latter with their specific agendas that are actually in collision with the spirit of a new democratic upsurge in the region.
Combined with an information revolution brought on by YouTube, Facebook and the rest of the social media, a wholly new style of news management is rewriting the rules and long-accepted crisis communication techniques in diplomacy in countries such as Syria.
I sympathized with a European diplomat in Damascus who confessed to having seriously bungled on account of these changes and learned a lesson that he will not easily forget for the rest of his career. This diplomat recently sent a cable to his headquarters in good faith that the Opposition â€œFree Syrian Armyâ€ had destroyed a two-storey building that housed an important defence establishment, a significant advance for the so-far motley crew of rebels.
The matter would have rested there. But a few days after the telegram was sent, another diplomat from the same embassy passed by the building that was supposed to have been destroyed and reported to his colleague what he saw. The building was still standing and intact. There was confusion and consternation at the embassy until a Syrian employee solved the mystery for her European bosses.
It is normal for diplomats to rely heavily on their local employees, especially when there is a dangerous environment in the host country. No doubt, the buck, in such cases, stops with the ambassador or his deputy chief of mission, who has cleared such reporting for transmission home. Many embassies around the world have local employees who are so reliable that they are sometimes more valuable for a country than the head of mission. In this case, the local employee confessed that she had only heard about the destruction of the defence building on Al Jazeera: she had not gone to the site to check the report for its veracity.
Even in the best of times, reliable and verifiable information has been hard to come by in countries such as Hafez al-Assadâ€™s Syria, Muammar Gaddafiâ€™s Libya or Saddam Husseinâ€™s Iraq. One year into the uprising against Bashar al-Assad, diplomats in Damascus have now got into the habit of recording newscasts and watching them over and over again to determine their authenticity like detectives going through potential evidence with a magnifying glass or a microscope.
Another European diplomat from a country that is solidly standing by President Assad had a bizarre experience. He was watching disturbingly violent and graphic images from Syria on an Arabic news channel. One clipping showed a burning building in Homs, which had already become the epicentre of the fight between the Syrian government and the rebels. Accompanying these images was the voice of a young girl who was wailing that her house had been set on fire by Assadâ€™s thugs.
This diplomat happened to know the country much better than most of his European contemporaries and, as is the norm now in Damascus, he was recording this news footage. He played it again and again later only to realize that the burning property in question in Homs was actually the ruling Baâ€™ath Partyâ€˜s headquarters there, a building he knew well.
It was nobodyâ€™s home as the newscast alleged. Moreover, it was beyond comprehension why the Syrian government would firebomb the ruling partyâ€™s provincial headquarters. It is reasonable to assume that the building was set ablaze by the Opposition and then filmed for use as suitable propaganda.
It is not my argument that everything that one sees on television about Syria is concocted. A reasonable estimate is that about a third of the country has slipped out of the governmentâ€™s control. A survey by the Qatar Foundation, which is not sympathetic to Assad, concluded in December that 55 per cent of the Syrians supported the president.
Syria has become a laboratory for experimenting with the power of the new media in changing the world order. The experiment began with the â€œcolour revolutionsâ€ elsewhere in the last decade, but the results have been mixed. Attempts at permanent regime change failed after the initial success of the â€œOrange Revolutionâ€ in Ukraine and the â€œTulip Revolutionâ€ in Kyrgyzstan, much to the disappointment of those who promoted these revolutions from abroad.
Typical of this experiment is what one diplomat in Damascus showed me. These television images which he recorded show fire in buildings, but strangely enough, these buildings withstand the huge flames and smoke unlike the World Trade Centre in New York which collapsed after becoming a fireball on September 11, 2001.
In Syria, as recorded images from Arabic news channels convinced me, one trick to get the upper hand in an information war using the new media has been to place big truck tyres on top of buildings, douse them liberally with gasoline and then set the tyres on fire. With a sleight of hand in filming the fire, it is possible to make it appear that the entire property is ablaze.
In reality, however, the buildings are intact and are being used like a traditional film set. Yet when such clips are posted on social media websites, they acquire a kind of credibility that was once associated with genuine news pictures from a war or a disaster, natural or otherwise.
I put it to Syriaâ€™s minister for information, Adnan Mahmoud, that it is inevitable that any vacuum in information will be filled by whatever purports to be news and that such tricks using the new media have gained credibility only because Damascus has not allowed unrestricted or independent reporting by the Western media. It is not the Arabic media alone. The Opposition has cleverly used the social media and fed news outlets with disinformation that has left the Assad government far behind in this new type of smart media war.
I was left with the impression that the minister was not oblivious to this, but the problem with governments such as the one in Damascus is that even ministers can be helpless. Real power resides elsewhere and claims to know best.
I spent an hour with Ahmad Badr al-Din Hassoun, the Grand Mufti of Syria. For seven years now, he is the top religious leader of Sunnis, who make up the majority in the country. It was disturbing, to put it mildly, to hear him bring up Kashmir at least six times during our conversation.
India ought to wisen up to the threat that the success of the current media experiment in Syria could pose for its own multi-religious, multi-ethnic, pluralistic society. When the problems in Palestine and the rest of the Muslim ummah are eventually resolved, the new crop of pretenders to freedom of information in the Arabic media could one day target India to further the agenda of some Arab states by rewriting the rules of news reporting and diplomacy as we have understood them for a long time.
As of now, India is ill-equipped to face such a threat to its very existence. The earlier the country wakes up to this danger, the better it will be for all Indians.
Pragmatically observing, it is in the interest of the US to clear the area (general areas of where there is oil) of anti US regimes.
From the US standpoint, it is perfectly correct.
From an international standpoint, it can be questionable.
May the best side win!
Seconds out of the ring, face each other.....BOX!
In all this stuff that is happening in Syria, the Sunni Arabs are extending their historic rivalry between the Sunni and the Shias and have made the West their ally and power base.
Sunnis are the more prolific fundamentalists since most of the terrorist acts undertaken internationally are by the Sunnis.
The West may for short term gains assist the Sunnis, but in the long run, they will weep!
A typical scenario is unfolding where one is cutting the nose to spite the face!
And Saudis are the most venomous of the lot!
Acts as the US' hand maiden and at the same time fund the Terrorist International and all the schools (madrassa) that churn out wild and fundamentalist elements to plague the world!
Unfortunately Sir, the US Foreign Department hardly ever reflects the will of the American people, or even the US Congress. It is but a tool, often obligated, to the oil cartels, arms cartels, media cartels and big busybodies that are way out of reach of the common man or the masses.
Well this would be a fun scenario in Middle East:
Saudi Arabia intervening in a Syria that is backed by Iran.
I can hear the Israelis laughing their rears off!
It would be stupid for a country like Saudi to send in weapons straight from their arsenal to a rebel group of a relatively powerful neighbor. This is an act of war. As always in situations like these the weapons would be sourced from third parties and paid for by Saudis, of course all clandestine. It is not Saudi weapons that are moving it is Saudi money changing hands...
I am not surprised by this.
24hrs media houses are huge tools in propaganda. It is one of the reasons why i believe India should have an international news channel peddling our point of view.
Separate names with a comma.