Images from besieged Baba Amr

First we were warned to be suspicious about accounts of a revolution in Syria because the “citizen journalists” telling the story were supposedly either Islamist extremists, or agents of Western interests, or both. Then, as Western journalists with increasing frequency managed to sneak into Syria and file first-hand accounts of the struggle, we were told that they too were serving an anti-Assad foreign agenda.

After I posted “The horror of Homs, a city at war,” a report which aired on Britain’s Channel 4 News, one reader suggested that much of its content must have been staged for the cameraman and then sarcastically asked: “So who was the cameraman, a ‘citizen journalist’?”

He’s a French photojournalist who described his reporting to Channel 4’s Jonathan Miller. Robert Mackey writes:

The photographer, who uses the assumed name Mani to shield his identity and make it possible for him to return to Syria to work again, was present when the current assault on districts of Homs under rebel control began on Feb. 3.

Looking at some of the comments now coming in, I surmise that War in Context has been added to a list of sites that Assad’s shills are being sent to in order to “set the record straight.” Thanks.

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3 thoughts on “Images from besieged Baba Amr

  1. ana souri

    “Looking at some of the comments now coming in, I surmise that War in Context has been added to a list of sites that Assad’s shills are being sent to in order to “set the record straight.” Thanks”
    Cowardly statement Mr. Woodward.

    I am a casualty of the Assad regime living in the west, and like many Syrians in the diaspora we look at the events with despair and anguish and try to understand why the foreign media seeks to distort what is really happening. We get our news directly from the country from friends and relatives and when we question the published events, we do not do it to support the regime, but the Syrian people. The Syrian people who are the true victims of this conspiracy. While the media focuses on the events in one small section of the population, they ignore the large portion who want a change but refuse to have it done for them from outside.
    I am surprised at your incinuation that anyone presenting a different point of view on the events in Syria than the one adopted by the western media that you continuously question in all your other blogs is an Assadnick, then you are as blind and morally bankrupt as those distorting events.
    If you believe Syria’s future should be in the hands of islamists and radicals, and if you believe Syria is not being targeted by Western and GCC countries trying to weaken it because of its alliances then you really need to take time out and read other blogs in this part of the world.

  2. blowback

    I am not a shill for the Assad regime but neither am I a neo-colonialist! I feel of the two most probable outcomes, a Salafist regime that is a front for the Gulf despots and US/UK/French interests or the current Assad regime, that the latter is marginally preferable. It seems to me that Qatar/Saudi Arabia/US/UK/France have precluded what would be in the best interests of the Syrian people, a negotiated move from the despotic regime of the Assads (no worse than those in the Gulf) to a real democracy by their insistence that Assad leave immediately and the support they are providing to the insurgents who most likely include elements from various branches of al Qaeda and Salafists from Libya.

    Perhaps you can explain to me how a conference described as being organized by “the Friends of Syria” that actually excludes the internal opposition can be regarded as in anyway legitimate .

    As the British presenter claims, the film is incredible but not in the way he means.

  3. Osama

    So anyone who does not accept the narrative set forth by the US/NATO/GCC is a “shill for Assad.

    I think it is safe to say that there is no real support from anybody who is from the region for the Assad regime, but see’s the conflict in what it will mean to them and their future.

    First of all, any endeavor supported by the GCC is suspect from the get go especially one claiming to support democratic reform or revolution. Second of all, the US has no credibility in this area in any case in that it timidly approached the “Arab Spring” when they were surprised that their Quislings were being challenged by popular revolts. Then only went with the flow when they far-too-late realized that they have lost all credibility in the region (especially after the “democracy” they have created in Iraq and Afghanistan).

    Whats going on here is a grand bargain where the GCC have somehow convinced the US that they can control the Muslim Brotherhood through massive injections of cash in support of their election campaigns in their respective countries in return for commitments to deal with Iran. Most interesting is the response of Hamas, which currently seems to be of two minds on how to navigate through these treacherous waters. Hamas has not come out in favor of either side, as they have been put under massive pressure from both Iran and the GCC to at least not support the other side (also no doubt that other MB organizations from throughout the middle east). The Saudi/GCC effort has been single-mindedly focused on under-cutting Iran at every turn and has seen every thing since Iraqs invasion as a steady stream of Iranian victories (Shia coming to power in Iraq, Hezbullah victory in 2006, Hamas election victory also in 2006, US floundering in Afghanistan). What has been called “the rise of the Shia crescent” by Kings and commentators. The US and it’s European allies are having what must be a “creative chaos redux” They have been convinced by their arab allies that the Arab Spring can be directed/managed in a safe way and that by “allowing” the MB or like-minded organizations/political parties to take over in much of the ME. The use of Alqaeda/Salafist cadres in the service of this effort only reinforces my belief in this scenario as they are clearly the same people involved in the daily killing in Iraq and they get their support from the GCC (which is following the same policy to destablize any allies or potential allies of Iran.

    Equally interesting are the positions of China and Russia, which have similar concerns and are not willing to allow Syria to fall for wider geopolitical reasons. I think they would both like to see Iran less combative and focussing purely on economic matters, but nevertheless recognize that the fall of Syria would be a strategic victory for the US and create a potential unbroken ring of steel sealing Russia and China behind it and forcing them to pay the “gatekeeper” for access to markets. Russia see’s it with the massive expansion of the EU and or Nato to create buffer states and where they drew the line at that time with Georgia and the Ukraine. And with China looking nervously at the US efforts to counter its growing military capability. This is perfect opportunity to push the US focus further afield and to force the US to engage in other areas of the world.

    Back to Syria… it may be that the protestors have a right to ask for change, but the moment they started shooting – it becomes a rebellion and that last time I checked, all governments of all nations have resorted to violence in the face of an armed insurrection – after all what was the American Civil war if not an armed insurrection and how many people were killed by the US government to bring the rebellious states back into the Union, how many American’s were “killed by their own government” in that conflict?

    Hundreds of thousands were killed in Rawada in a declared genocide, what did the west do? hundreds of thousands were killed in Bosnia and what did the west do? hundreds of thousands were killed in Chechnya, and what did the west do? these are only a few examples – sometimes they did their own killing – like in Iraq and Afghanistan – where they themselves bombed and starved and massacred! so please spare us the self righteous attitude because you don’t have a leg to stand on.

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