Countering the dangerous MSM (mis)perceptions of Syrian conflict

Richard Sudan
Richard Sudan is a London-based writer, political activist, and performance poet. His writing has been published in many prominent publications, including the Independent, the Guardian, Huffington Post and Washington Spectator. He has been a guest speaker at events for different organizations ranging from the University of East London to the People's Assembly covering various topics. His opinion is that the mainstream media has a duty to challenge power, rather than to serve power. Richard has taught writing poetry for performance at Brunel University.
© Darren Staples
The Western mainstream media have set a very dangerous precedent in the way they have so far presented the war in Syria.

Up until quite recently, much of the media towed the government line, suggesting Assad and the terrorists must go - even though those same terror groups entered Syria to overthrow the government. The grossly misleading implication here is that the Syrian government, ISIS and other terror groups are one and the same. They are not.

Just recently and coincidentally timed with Russia coming to Syria’s aid, the Western MSM has suddenly changed its tune a bit: Assad might be part of the “transitional process,” they now suggest, softening their position slightly. This transitional period didn’t go down so well in Libya though, after the same rebels backed to overthrow Gaddafi ended up killing the US ambassador during Libya’s “transition to democracy.”

So it is clear from the outset that there are many holes in the repeated and flawed logic used to justify the campaign waged against Syria.

And we therefore have an obligation to counter the myths and lies spewed out by politicians and Western media over Syria. The facts speak for themselves and do not lie.

Such myths are rolled out via the media whenever the United States and her allies decide they want a “regime change” in a country where they desire a government more suited to their long term interests.

To this end, especially with countries like Libya and Syria, the policy of the US is either to destabilize countries in order to install a US-backed government, or, failing that, to leave the infrastructures of such countries in ruins, the thinking being: “If we can’t control the resources, we can’t afford to let anyone else do so” - including the indigenous people of those lands.

This is not conspiratorial or far-fetched. It is simple history and economics, after all, the wars of the last 15 years have been about resources, not about human rights. The so-called “war on terror” in actual fact has simply been a cover for a neo-colonial war of terror. I don’t think many people could or would argue otherwise. The so-called humanitarian interventions in Iraq and Libya, for example, turned functioning states, thriving in the case of Libya prior to 2011 with the highest living standard in Africa, into failed states.

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And before we take a closer look at Syria, let’s also remember that whenever the US has forced a change of leadership in any country, the government they install to safeguard their interests, always turns out to be a brutal dictator.

So we can be certain that whatever we think about political leadership in any country, to simply destroy a government, in order to install another, simply does not work, and moreover, simultaneously calling it a “humanitarian intervention” as part of a broader “war on terror” is little more than a sophisticated cover for the continuation of colonialism.

Now, despite the lessons we should have learned from witnessing the destruction, chaos, and sectarianism which engulfed nations like Iraq and Libya following the US-led “humanitarian intervention” nonetheless, the same fate still threatens Syria.

If there is a political transition to take place in Syria, ceding more power from Assad to the people, it is for the people of Syria to determine how and when this happens.

Removing Assad now will only make things worse. Just how many times do we need to see this plan fail before we realize it doesn’t work - apart from the fact that millions of innocents die at the hands of NATO’s humanitarian bombs and rockets - and entire countries are pretty well wiped off the map?

Over the last few days, western MSM media has been quick to try and twist Russia’s intervention in Syria, despite the fact that Russia, as a long standing ally of Syria, was asked by the government to assist in bombing the real terror squads in Syria. The terror squads for clarification are not Syrian army and government forces, but rather the not-so-very moderate rebels, including those linked to ISIS and the al-Nusra Front that the West has been backing since the beginning. These terror squads in the wake of Libya and Iraq have spread like a cancer. They have no alliance. They are mostly paid mercenaries who would defect to any side for the right price.

It might not be a picture we like, but this is what is happening in reality. Assad and the Syrian government is not the big bad wolf, as is being made out by Western MSM. Nor is Putin. In actual fact, both players are the only legitimate and legal operators so far in the picture.

David Cameron very recently had the temerity to state that Assad should face war crimes charges. This is hypocrisy at its worst. Cameron, despite having zero credibility due to his own personal extra-curricular activities, and the fact he heads a pro-austerity government, himself should be sitting in the dock at The Hague.

Britain played a leading role in bringing Libya to its knees, and David Cameron was British prime minister at the time. The destruction of Libya was a war crime as recognized under international law. Furthermore, Gaddafi warned that destroying Libya would result in the very refugee crisis which we are now indeed dealing with.

To make the same mistake over and over again, expecting a different result, is the very definition of insanity. To listen to the falsehoods of the Western liberal mainstream media regarding Syria, in the wake of similar failed interventions in Iraq and Libya, is equally insane and immoral.

Syria has so far not fallen and now, with the intervention of Russia, has a chance to maintain that position. However, had we been foolhardy enough to listen to the falsehoods offered by imperial governments and leaders, Syria would have already been reduced to a pile of ash and rubble as part of another disastrous colonial intervention by the West, as we have seen in Iraq and Libya. Were this to happen, yet again, then the fate of the people in Syria, the tragic legacy, and the resulting refugee crisis which would accelerate as a result of Syria’s capitulation, would be our fault and no one else’s.

The current myth being paraded by the media is the fact that Russia have hit so-called "moderate” US-backed rebels during airstrikes recently. There are no moderate “rebels” in Syria. Rebels backed by the US have taken part in some of the most depraved acts of terrorism, including head chopping and cannibalism, with close links to the FSA and the al-Nusra Front. So-called “rebels” backed by nations and groups from outside Syria have the sole objective of undermining Syria’s sovereignty.

The Syrian army and Russia are the only legitimate forces fighting terror groups in Syria along with the Kurdish fighting forces. Outside states, other than Russia, have so far worsened the crisis, namely the US and its allies, including Turkey, and its proxies among the Gulf States.

This quite frankly silly and simplistic framing of Syria is an old outdated model and people are seeing through it. It is not the case, as is the false choice being presented in the MSM, that you are either siding with Assad and the terrorists or the US and its allies.

We either support Syria’s right to self-determination and its sovereignty, or support with those that wish to undermine and destabilize Syria. Those calling for an intervention in Syria ignore very recent history and would resign the country to an even worse state of affairs than is currently the case.

We must break the dangerous MSM perception of Syria, for the sake of the future of Syrians, and also our own.

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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.