What are you meant to think of Syria and President Assad when the mainstream media constantly supplies reports and interviews and content that explicitly states that Assad “bombs his own people” that “Assad must go” and that “Assad is using chemical weapons”?
You would be forgiven for thinking that the US, UK and Western powers are doing the world a huge favour and helping the people of the Middle East. You would also be forgiven for thinking that Russia and Syria’s other allies are just as guilty and are a threat to the world.
It should be made clear that Russia has its own agenda in the region largely for Geopolitical reasons and it should be made clear that Assad has been guilty of terrible indiscriminate attacks against people in Syria. What isn’t made clear though is the other side of the story. You know full well there are two sides to every story and it’s not until you seek to learn of the other side that you could ever hope to make an informed decision.
This post is a series of videos that will make you think again about what you see and hear every day on your TV screens and radios. We will provide an explanation to each video.
Firstly, if you missed it, below is the compilation, an overview.
UNHCR: The Video below alone is telling. Presented by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees you would think they know more than most about how the Syrians see their home country. With what we hear in the mainstream press you might be expecting them to, yes, say they want to go home, but somewhere in there you might expect them to at least be neutral on how good life was back in Syria. What they say presents a different picture to the one painted on TV. That of a despotic leader killing his own people and being too authoritarian. What happened to their uprising?
What about a few years prior to the uprising? How did these Syrian women speak of their home country and the way of life there?
Just a year after the outbreak of war these two Syrian women seem to know exactly what is going on and why. The girl on the right is known as ‘Syrian Girl’ and has repeatedly commented on the conflict. Her YouTube videos are extensive.
By and large the people conducting the uprising at the beggining were likely the various sects of Sunni Islam. They certainly would not have been Alawite. The Syria conflict in many ways is a battle of ideologies. You just have to decide if you would rather Assad held it together or allow extemists like Al Nusra to take over. Holding any kind of extreme view in Syria is likely frowned upon as Assad tries to run a secular society so you would think in some ways the West would have liked to have had Assad as an ally, not an enemy. A few years ago that was essentially true as Tony Blair almost knighted Assad with a recommendation to the Queen.
The next couple of videos from Vox and Le Monde explain how the Syrian crisis came about. We actually don’t agree with everything said in these videos but it does highlight the role of Western and indeed Eastern powers in the war and what stake they have in Syria. One of the key aspects to take away from the videos is how the popular uprising was infiltrated by rebels from across the Middle East. Well, rebels is what the West has called them and it’s what you have been led to believe they are. The truth is the fact that all of these groups are in any other scenario, terrorists, and the US and others have been arming them and training them, by their own admission.
In fact imagine the scenario. There you are, President of Syria, you have ruled over a peaceful nation for many years. A rarity in that you have a secular nation. One of the last remaining secular countries in the region surrounded by extremists and ideologies from all sides of the Muslim faith. An uprising could lead to what happened in Libya, Afghanistan and of course Iraq and currently Yemen. Would you not do everything in your power to suppress a destabilising uprising? This is not to defend Assad, more to provide reasoning for his actions. If you doubt the veracity of that explanation just turn on your TV or open a newspaper and ask yourself.. are Iraqis and Libyans currently better off without their leaders Saddam Hussein and Colonel Gadaffi respectively?
It may be that you don’t believe that some of these rebel groups are all that bad. Al Nusra a proscribed terror group and the Syrian network for Al Qaeda are currently fighting in Syria. Recently they changed their name to the JFS and dropped some of their public facing extreme ideologies to help Unite the varying groups in Syria against Assad, but the US in particular are concerned that the JFS are just Al Nusra in all but name. They are worried about any ramifications and rightly so when you consider that the last time a leader of a Middle Eastern country fell it became a hell hole of extremism.
With what we are seeing on our screens right now it would be pertinent to address the problem of overkill or the targeting of civilians as told by the West. We have already seen one of two videos express why this is happening including the video with ‘Syrian Girl‘. Human shields. The rebels claim they are the saviours of the people, revolutionaries even yet they hide in civilian held areas inviting fire from government forces. If Assad were to play tactfully and wait it out, the war would be over by next week in favour of the rebels, no, terrorists, and they do not play by the same rules. Here is where the questionable aspect of Assad comes into play. Collateral damage. It’s never right of course but what choice does he have? Target the rebels and risk the condemnation of the West or allow the rebels to succeed and over run the country. It’s not a good choice to have but one he would have to make, no matter how unpalatable.
Reverent Michael Nazir, Bishop of Rochdale having visited Syria understands this point and speaks in the following video. He raises the question of how Syria could possibly have chemical weapons when the US was meant to have confiscated Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile just last year.
The United States Peace Council sent representatives to Syria to investigate feeling on the ground. The video is long but well worth the listen during some down time.
US senator Richard Black also has some opinions on his experiences surrounding Syria.(warning: long video)
This is just the tip of the Iceberg and doesn’t begin to delve even deeper into the crisis. One allegation that many reading this will find too unpalatable to read is that the White Helmets, the humanitarians on the ground are not entirely who they say they are and that’s another blog post all together.