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The Baathist propaganda machine has produced over the past 5 months absolute gems in misinformation, fabrication & manipulation. The lies are constructed in a way so brazen, so insulting to the public’s intelligence and so deviously “mind-fucking”, they really put Goebbel’s work to shame.

I guess my point is that I’m interested in the pro-Assad television channels and the state-run news agency SANA for academic reasons. I follow these misinformation outlets to gauge the level of denial and desperation of a regime in the throes of death. I also turn to them sometimes for comic relief. They outclass Fox News in the quality of “entertainment” provided but, evidently, if one’s IQ surpasses that of a napkin then he/she runs the risk of the occasional brain stroke!

While browsing through SANA’s website, I came across this little nugget of info: http://www.sana.sy/eng/21/2011/08/08/362672.htm

It’s a press release dated August 8, one day after Saudi’s harsh condemnation of the regime – it was peppered with the words “reform” but it can still be considered harsh given the context. The title said: “President al-Assad: Syria Set on Continuing Reforms with Sure Steps” Mmmm… intriguing! As you read on, you will find that the Lebanese Foreign Minister met with Assad and they discussed ways of reinforcing their countries’ relations blah blah blah, that the Lebanese FM rejected any foreign intervention in Syria blah blah, and that Syria’s security and Lebanon’s are interlinked blah bl… Waaait a second! That reads like a barely-veiled threat to me, especially when you consider the timing and Syria’s historic involvement in Lebanese politics (this includes significant trouble-stirring that Google & Wikipedia will be very happy to inform you on). Basically, Assad is sending a not-so-subtle signal that he’ll play the Lebanon card if he’s pushed into a corner.

That’s why nobody dares to cross this regime. It has a whole deck of cards to play and these could destabilize an already volatile region and deliver serious upsets to many governments. Indeed, Assad has the Hezbollah card to scare Lebanese politicians and the Lebanon card to scare the rest of the region. He also has the Shia card to undermine the predominantly-Sunni Gulf monarchies, the PKK card to mess up Turkey’s strained relationship with its Kurds, the Israel card to blackmail the US and the West and the Iraqi militia card to sabotage the US withdrawal plans of a cash-strapped Obama.

As New York Times’ columnist Thomas L. Friedman once said: “Libya implodes. Syria explodes.” This statement is spot on but it is worth mentioning that Assad and his late father – curse his soul – have been waving these cards in the international community’s face every time they get put in a corner. I say it’s time to call their bluff!

 

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