What’s Happening in Aleppo Isn’t as Black and White as ‘Our Political Masters’ Make It Out to Be
In a thought-provoking piece published Tuesday, Robert Fisk, The Independent’s award-winning correspondent, reports that while the bloody clash in the Syrian city of Aleppo is horrific, many questions remain about American and British involvement and Western media’s portrayal of the conflict. Fisk points out that while Russia and Bashar Assad’s regime have been depicted as the outright enemies in the Syrian war, the U.S. and U.K., through their alliance with Saudi Arabia, continually back rebels with ties to al-Qaida. In addition, some Syrian soldiers believe the U.S. has allowed Islamic State fighters to leave Mosul in order to attack Syrian regime fighters.
All in all, the journalist paints a vastly different picture in Syria than the one many of us have become accustomed to reading about in many Western newspapers.
From The Independent:
Yes, Bashar al-Assad has brutally destroyed vast tracts of his cities in his battle against those who wish to overthrow his regime. Yes, that regime has a multitude of sins to its name: torture, executions, secret prisons, the killing of civilians, and – if we include the Syrian militia thugs under nominal control of the regime – a frightening version of ethnic cleansing.
Yes, we should fear for the lives of the courageous doctors of eastern Aleppo and the people for whom they have been caring. Anyone who saw the footage of the young man taken out of the line of refugees fleeing Aleppo last week by the regime’s intelligence men should fear for all those who have not been permitted to cross the government lines. And let’s remember how the UN grimly reported it had been told of 82 civilians “massacred” in their homes in the last 24 hours.
But it’s time to tell the other truth: that many of the “rebels” whom we in the West have been supporting – and which [the U.K.’’s] preposterous Prime Minister Theresa May indirectly blessed when she grovelled to the Gulf head-choppers last week – are among the cruellest and most ruthless of fighters in the Middle East. And while we have been tut-tutting at the frightfulness of Isis during the siege of Mosul (an event all too similar to Aleppo, although you wouldn’t think so from reading our narrative of the story), we have been willfully ignoring the behaviour of the rebels of Aleppo. … The familiar and now tired political-journalistic narrative is in need of refreshing. The evidence has been clear for some days. After months of condemning the iniquities of the Syrian regime while obscuring the identity and brutality of its opponents in Aleppo, the human rights organisations – sniffing defeat for the rebels – began only a few days ago to spread their criticism to include the defenders of eastern Aleppo. … Next month, we shall also be reading a frightening new book, Merchants of Men, by Italian journalist Loretta Napoleoni, on the funding of the war in Syria. She catalogues kidnapping-for-cash by both government and rebel forces in Syria, but also has harsh words for our own profession of journalism.
Reporters who were kidnapped by armed groups in eastern Syria, she writes, “fell victim to a sort of Hemingway syndrome: war correspondents supporting the insurgency trust the rebels and place their lives in their hands because they are in league with them.” But, “the insurgency is just a variation of criminal jihadism, a modern phenomenon that has only one loyalty: money.” … Are we really “in league” with the rebels?
Certainly our political masters are – and for the same reason as the rebels kidnap their victims: money. Hence the disgrace of Brexit May and her buffoonerie of ministers who last week prostrated themselves to the Sunni autocrats who fund the jihadis of Syria in the hope of winning billions of pounds in post-Brexit arms sales to the Gulf.
— Posted by Natasha Hakimi ZapataWAIT, BEFORE YOU GO…
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