Assad, Buddhism and an alien spaceship

Brian Whitaker writes: The Assad regime issued an emphatic denial this morning that it is planning to invite the Dalai Lama for an official visit to Syria.

On the face of it, the idea of Assad hobnobbing with the Tibetan Buddhist leader is preposterous – not least because it would infuriate the Chinese government which up to now has been one of the Syrian regime’s key supporters in the diplomatic arena. For that reason, the story sounds like disinformation cooked up by Assad’s opponents – which is certainly how the official news agency is presenting it. It quotes a foreign ministry spokesman as saying:

“These reports are baseless. The timing and content indicate that the purpose of these reports is damaging the Syrian-Chinese relations … Syria highly appreciates the Chinese stance and undoubtedly supports the One-China policy.”

It will be interesting, though, to see what steps the authorities take to track down and punish the source of this baseless story – since the source appears to be none other than President Assad himself. [Continue reading…]

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