Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Misinforming about Syria

In its latest articles the NY Times is quite distorting the situation in Syria in its effort to get an armed intervention:

- it claims that the ongoing army offensive is a prove that Assad is intending not to stick to the armistice. In fact it is quite usual that before an armistice both parties attempt to improve their position. So the fact that Assad seems to be doing just that seems to indicate that intends to take the armistice seriously.

The fact that that the opposition announces that it will even earlier stop with hostilities is not necessarily a friendly gesture. Due to the government offensive the opposition is losing territory so they are desperate to stop the government offensive as soon as possible.

- it claims that Assad's demands for written assurances from the rebels that they will stick to the armistice is a "new demand". But an armistice can only work when both parties stick to it. Assad is perfectly justified to ask additional guarantees if he think that the opposition will take advantage if he withdraws his troops from the cities. The fact that the opposition is refusing to do this should be a warning sign that they are not intending to stick to their part of the deal.

- the article claims that Assad is asking that the opposition "would be dismantled first". This is an exaggeration of his demands. But is it unreasonable to ask that the opposition will not create a state within a state and treat the areas it controls as liberated areas - where Assad supporters are not safe - but instead be committed to a Syria where everyone is free to move?

- the article claims that "Syria has undermined every truce plan it ostensibly accepted since the uprising started in March 2011". Every truce plan was undermined by the opposition that didn't participate but used it as an opportunity to expand its own power. Add to this the consistent refusal of the opposition to negotiate with Assad - what leaves an armed fight as the only alternative - and it is clear that the attitude of the opposition is a major problem.

If fact the government has repeatedly during periods been very reticent in military actions - only to see the opposition take advantage of that.

- the title of the article puts the blame of the shooting near the Turkish border on the Syrian Army. But as the article explains the army was attacked at that place. One can blame the Syrian Army for not showing adequate restraint. But most of the blame should go to Turkey that places a refugee camp right next to the border and allows it to be used as a staging ground for opposition fighters.

- the article mentions a recent HRW report about extrajudicial killings by government forces but fails to mention reports (like the Spiegel Online article) that the opposition is doing the same.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I see lots of defense of the indefensible: the Syrian regime.