News Brief — May 28, 2013
European Union foreign ministers have agreed to lift an arms embargo on ‘Syrian rebels’ opening the way for an escalation of the conflict that could lead to further outside intervention.
The move ups the ante following Russia’s announcement that it would begin supplying the “game-changing” S-300 air-defence system to Syria.
Although Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague said Britain had no immediate plans to do so, Britain and its Western allies have long been pushing to arm groups opposed to President Assad.
The fact that many in the ‘opposition groups’ are not even Syrian but a rag-tag army of outside extremists, some of whom have even been linked to al-Qaeda, obviously hasn’t deterred Hague.
The Foreign Secretary told the BBC that the UK will only supply arms “in carefully controlled circumstances, in company with other countries and with accordance with international law”.
Fine sounding words but simply a grandiose way of saying that Britain will arm extremists who have a record of committing atrocities against civilians.
For its part and almost on cue, the BBC followed up with reports of what it claimed was a “massacre” carried out by Syrian government forces in al-Bayda, in the west of the country in early May.
Although no independent corroboration was provided, the BBC quoted “eyewitnesses” who claimed hundreds of civilians died at the hands President Assad’s forces. It was, said a BBC news reader on the 6 pm news broadcast, possibly one of the “worst massacres” yet seen in the conflict.
If the timing of the report seemed a little suspicious, coming just as moves maybe underway to arm the Syrian opposition groups and when a reluctant British public needs to be assured of the necessity of doing so, then a look at the BBC’s record in reporting events in Syria confirms it. The Corporation has served as no more than a propaganda mouthpiece in a campaign to oust Syrian President Assad.
As far back as June 2012, BBC world news editor Jon Williams admitted that the coverage of the previous month’s Houla massacre in Syria by the world’s media and the BBC was a compendium of lies.
However, that didn’t stop the BBC using photos from the conflict in Iraq to illustrate stories about the alleged massacre.
Nor did it stop BBC correspondent Ian Pannell reporting on this latest alleged “massacre” in al-Bayda. In fact he’s an old hand at this sort of thing. For this is the very same Ian Pannell who rode in with Libyan fighters when the al-Qaeda linked militants first seized the Syrian city of Aleppo in July 2012.
Thereafter, Pannell portrayed the seizing of Aleppo as a “liberation”, carefully glossing over the atrocities that followed.
Of course the BBC has not been alone in providing this sort of skewed coverage. Virtually the entire Western news media has been doing the same. As former CNN correspondent Amber Lyon told Syria’s SANA news agency: “there is constant demonization of Syria, Iran and other countries on the US mainstream media.”
Nonetheless, the lifting of the arms embargo on Syria and new reports of an alleged massacre in Syria, coupled with Russia’s decision to supply Assad with the S-300 air defence system signals a potential escalation of the Syrian crisis. An escalation that could ultimately lead the West into direct confrontation with Assad’s two key supporters: Russia and Iran.”