The kidnapping of journalists — further evidence of collusion between Assad and al Qaeda?

It would appear that whoever is behind the kidnapping of journalists in Syria doesn’t welcome the press coverage they’ve been getting during the conflict. It’s reasonable to assume that there is some kind of underlying rationale. So given that ISIS is generally believed to be the prime culprit, one has to ask: how does this benefit the al Qaeda group?

After all, for members of al Qaeda in Syria or anywhere else there’s little if any friendly press coverage. Likewise, most of the coverage ISIS gets tends to inflate perceptions of the group’s power, so in a sense all coverage, however grizzly, can be seen to serve the group’s interests.

The overall impact of the spate of kidnappings has been to greatly diminish the number of foreign journalists willing to enter Syria and to amplify the international perception of rebel-controlled Syria as a lawless and hostile environment. Who benefits from both of these factors? The Assad regime. Yet if the regime was believed to have a direct role in the kidnappings, this would seriously undermine the PR campaign that it has been waging with increasing success on the international stage. Much better to outsource the task to a group that has no image to protect.

Press Freedom Now: Syria is currently the most dangerous country for journalists. In fact, all of us at Press Freedom Now have never seen anything like it and have never had so many colleagues go missing before.

For those of us who have worked in Syria, this conflict zone makes previous experiences covering conflict look a bit like walks in the park. At least 30 journalists have been kidnapped in Syria or disappeared since the start of the conflict in 2011.

Early in the Syrian Civil War it appeared that the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the kidnappings of journalists. In recent months however, as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) has risen in prominence in Syria, it has become clear that ISIS is responsible for most kidnappings of journalists.[Continue reading…]

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3 thoughts on “The kidnapping of journalists — further evidence of collusion between Assad and al Qaeda?

  1. Norman

    Depending on who one reads/believes, the C.I.A. created al Qaeda, still runs it, or perhaps has handed it off to Bandar-Bush, also, saying Assad is in cahoots with same (al Qaeda), then means he also is/was in cahoots with the C.I.A. Rather confusing here trying to figure out just who is on whose side. What a “Clusterfuck” the M.E. is today.

  2. Paul Woodward

    I think the frequently repeated claim that the CIA created al Qaeda is best described, as Peter Bergen puts it, as a “folk myth.” It gets perpetuated by people who fail to recognize that there is an unwitting and symbiotic relationship between the proponents and opponents of the exercise of American power: both sides have an exaggerated perception of its reach and capabilities. American Power is supposedly this almighty force which should provoke awe or terror. But when one examines the operations of this global force, what the evidence actually reveals is incompetence of huge magnitude. No doubt, no other country spends as much money in an effort to shape the world. Neither does any other country waste as much money in such an effort. Look at the CIA getting outwitted by al Qaeda in the Camp Chapman attack — the 2009 attack which was the most deadly one the agency had suffered in decades. And look at the NSA with its mass surveillance programs capable of finding needles in haystacks yet incapable of preventing the Boston bombings.

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