Stirring: Stirring the pot in Syria

A presidential order to Saqr Mannon to carry out the Qazzaz bombing in “the absence of the media.” (Al Arabiya)
A presidential order to Saqr Mannon to carry out the Qazzaz bombing in “the absence of the media.” Al Arabiya, 9-30-12

A friend graciously said my blog yesterday on Aleppo was stirring; it was pleasant to hear, but when it comes to stirring in Syria, Al Arabiya holds the top spot.  In March, Al Arabiya published a long series of insider emails between Bashar Al Assad and his wife and between other members of the Assad family and military leaders.  Al Arabiya was bent on proving the Assads were selfish, small-minded and corrupt people.  Except for some brief coverage in the Guardian the emails were not covered by any other major news source – not in the west or the Arab world.  In fact, the major competitor of Al Arabiya, Al Jazeera ignored the emails and the Al Arabiya stories completely.  The emails may or may not have been real; however, to a simple, uninformed reader like myself they sounded real.   Al Arabiya released them a few at a time and milked them for as much as possible.  Every day I rushed to their site to see what Assad and his wife had said to each other next – just like a watching a soap-opera on day-time television.

Now, Al Arabiya has something better, much better; just like Julian Assange, Al Arabiya claims to have insiders willing to release some very secret documents and it will be releasing them to us.  The first of the documents released – there will be others in the days to come – allege that Assad ordered the “suicide” bombings on May 10th that killed 55 people and wounded hundreds of others.  According to Al Arabiya the documents prove that Assad, his government and the” Joint Command” ordered the bombings so they could claim Al Qaeda was active in Syria.  In the analysis the Syrian governemnt was eager to show the world there was no popular uprising, but rather an outsider driven, all-out terrorist attack on Syria.

It is early, but so far, no other media news source has picked up the story. It makes one wonder why?  This time, Al Arabiya is not satisfied with written reports and has taken the story to television.  With some great technology for showing the documents, zooming in on the text, the dates and signatures, plus videos, attachments and other stuff, Al Arabiya has guests to analyze the contents of the documents.  Dr. Imad Al-Rashid, head of the political bureau of the Syrian National Movement was the first guest.   The good doctor has a great deal to say about Assad, as one would supect seeing as how he works for the opposition, in his mind Assad is a criminal and should be treated as such.  The most most surprising of his comments are the references to the Joint Command.  Al Arabiya used the term first in its introduction to the 20-minute television program dedicated to the documents and their meaning.  It did not give the term any unusual emphasis, stating matter of factually that the Joint Command is composed of officers from Iran, Russia, Syria and possibly Hezbollah.   Al-Rashid is more than willing to fill in the details for the viewers – the Joint Command is in fact in command of everything in Syria, ruling Syria and directing the fighting.  The Joint Command issues its orders to Assad and he relays his orders to army and nation as if they were his words, his ideas and his commands.  Assad is merely a lower ranking officer in the Joint Command’s grand army.

This is only the first of a series of sets of documents – each related to specific events or issues – to be released with accompanying television coverage over time.  If this bombshell, Russia and Iran are ruling Syria, controlling Assad and ordering the deaths of innocent Syrians for propaganda purposes is just the first, what will the others be like?  Just as I was unqualified to review and understand the emails, these documents and intricacies of the Syrian government – the documents discuss many different Syrian security units, described by a number and sometimes a name 241 Palestine unit – are way over my head.  But of course the analysis being presented is perfectly understandable (it is all in Arabic with English subtitles) as it is meant to be; the intent is just as it was with the emails, to build the following of Al Arabiya in both English and Arabic.  I will admit they have my attention, but I would feel a lot better if other news agencies took up the story and did their analysis as well.  That may be a bit difficult, unlike Assange, Al Arabiya is not releasing the complete set of documents to the public.  Instead it intents to control the release.

Stirring the stories may not be, but it is certainly unnerving to think that Iran and Russia (and may be Hezbollah, Al Arabiya is not willing to commit on that one yet) are not just supporting Assad, but ruling him.  So as the story may not stir the emotions of people around the world, I think it is highly likely it will stir the pot in Syria.  And that appears to me to be its secondary intent – first make money and second make trouble.

The regime of President Bashar al-Assad was behind a pair of car bomb attacks which killed 55 people outside a military intelligence complex in the Qazzaz area of Damascus on May 10, newly-leaked documents obtained by Al Arabiya reveal. The documents are part of some highly-classified Syrian security files obtained by Al Arabiya from opposition sources. The channel said that it has verified and authenticated hundreds of these documents and that it has decided to disclose ones with substantial news value and political relevance…According to the leaked files, Assad sacrificed hundreds of citizens and low-ranking security forces in order to convince international public opinion that terrorists have infiltrated the Syrian territory and started conducting mortal operations.  A narrative the regime keeps pushing forward since the start of the Syrian revolution in Mars 2011. Al Arabiya’s exclusive series on the newly-leaked security documents continues tomorrow. Al Arabiya, 9-30-12


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