Why Anne Barnard Of The New York Times Is Just Plain Wrong On Syria

Syria Suffering

Editorial By Alan Curtis Montgomery @ World Human Rights

In a recent article, Mrs. Barnard a reporter at the New York Times, proved how intellectually dishonest or at least intellectually lazy some journalist can be.  Using words like; “a growing number of Syrians on both sides say”, “they say”, “they also contend”, “the critics say”, in an effort to disguise her own opinions and agenda she is obviously supporting in her article and using a very small sample size of those interviewed to make very far-reaching conclusions.  I said in a previous article I am going to be kinder in my criticism so I will leave it there with intellectual dishonesty and intellectual laziness.  I have seen this a lot in articles on a wide range of topics dealing with topics a reporter wants to take an activist position on.  That’s absolutely fine to do in editorials but articles in the professional press should be different.  They should report on the real facts on the ground using quantitative facts or at least have adequately researched the topic.  Not cherry picking your sources to get ones who support the position and ideology you support. I can right now go anywhere in the world and get a few people to say they agree with me on something no matter how outlandish it is.  Speaking to a few and trying to make broad-based conclusions is not right.

Some will say bloggers, including myself on some occasions have done similar things in their writing.  I say that is fine, we are activist and bloggers not professional reporters.  Professional reporters and journalist however should be held to a much higher standard.  We are writing about topics that interest us and we are often taking an activist position on.  We are ordinary people, okay maybe not so ordinary ;-) you have to be a bit crazy to spend so many hours being a blogger, but we are by and large not professionals.  We are for the most part citizens interested in sharing things with others that we care about and often take an activist position on.  I try to keep my writing to as high a standard as I can, but as an activist in issues about human rights and Syria I am very bias.  I admit this bias and I can promise every original article and editorial I write is going to reflect these biases.  If you want middle of the road, non-controversial, appeal to the masses articles and editorials this is not the place to go.  If I was working for the New York Times however my activist hat would have to come off when I was reporting on stories.  I could still be an activist and write editorials just not when I was doing professional reporting.

Warning

Credit: http://dev.null.org/blog/ found via Google Image Search

Getting back to the article I was speaking about as an example of what I was describing above; I feel Mrs. Barnard was not speaking for the majority of Syrians.  I know Syrians, I have spoken with some, none that I have come across but one supports President Bashar al-Assad.  I realize this is a very very small part of the Syrian population but they have told me about attitudes of other Syrians.  They made it clear Bashar is seen as an enemy to Syria and needs to be overthrown from power.  Activist sites I have visited related to Syria, many ran by Syrians themselves also make it clear where a lot of people stand.  I realize I am only focusing on one side of the coin and there are pro-Assad supporters.  However, how many activist sites have you seen that actually originate from Syria or created by Syrians living elsewhere that are pro-Assad.  I have found very few such sites and blogs I have come across while doing much research about Syria.  One of those was ran by the Syrian Government, another by SANA (“Syrian Arab News Agency”, Syrian state television), and finally one ran by Bashar and Asma al-Assad’s own Instagram account posting propaganda pictures trying to portray the sociopaths Bashar and Asma as decent and caring human beings.  Yes I said sociopaths you can not order the killing, torture, and rape of Syrians that has led to over 120,000 of mostly your own people being slaughtered, an appalling number of torture victims mostly men and young men though a number of women and young women have also been tortured, an equally appalling number of rape and other types of sexual violence victims mostly women and girls but as much as 20% of the cases are estimated to be committed against men and boys, you can not order people to do all these terrible things against men, women, and children and not be a sociopath.  You can not continue a relationship with such a person who does this and not be a sociopath.  You support Bashar al-Assad you are supporting a sadistic and ruthless sociopath who appears as a lamb but inward is a ravaging wolf.

You would think from reading Anne Barnard’s article in The New York Times that Bashar al-Assad is rapidly gaining in popularity and people in Syria are increasingly accepting the idea of him staying.  You would think that Bashar al-Assad is stronger today than ever.  This is the outward appearance to many but this is not the reality among the activist and pro-opposition in Syria, who make up a far bigger percentage than Assad’s supporters.  While it is true many Syrians are becoming increasingly reluctant to support the more militant and Islamist hardliners of the opposition, this does not mean they are falling back in love with Assad either.  Quite the contrary Assad is more hated and despised than ever by many Syrians on the street and most certainly among the activist community.  They see a man who gassed to death sleeping children and families, is burning Syria to the ground, ordering the murder, torture, and rape of their fellow Syrians and who is getting away with it without any consequences whatsoever.  This is very reflective of the attitude of the Syrian activist, activist sites, and ordinary Syrians I know.  They make clear the majority of Syrians are against Assad outside of Damascus and Assad’s power base in majority Alawite and Shite neighborhoods.  In heavily Sunni areas, pro-Assad supporters are rare. The Sunni population makes up about 3/4 of the Syrian population and outside of Damascus Sunni support for Assad is very low.  That is what is so telling these reporters often only go to Damascus or speak to people from there or other pro-Assad areas and act as if Syrians in Damascus or other pro Assad areas speak for the majority of Syria.   Syria has a population of roughly 22.5 million people, Damascus only has about 1.7 million residents.  Damascus is not even the biggest city in Syria, Aleppo is with over 2.1 million residents, 80% of who are Sunni.  The point is you can’t look at prevailing opinions of less than 1/10th of the population of Syria, in a single city, where a big over-representation of Assad’s supporters live as far as averages across Syria go or speak to a few Syrian refugees, and seek to draw any accurate conclusions Nationwide.  Neither can you speak to mostly Assad supporters and make broad claims about the majority of Syrians.  If nearly 3/4’s of Syria is Sunni and the majority of Sunnis are opposed to Assad and opposition forces against Assad are comprised of mostly Sunnis how can you think anything other than Assad is very unpopular in Syria.

Free Syria Girl

While the popularity of Assad is being debated the fact is Assad lost his chemical weapons but it wasn’t for the most part what is killing the Syrian people.  He hasn’t lost his tanks, air power, scud missiles, and automatic high-powered weaponry that is killing and maiming Syrian men, women, and children on a daily basis.  Most upsetting to these Syrians I know, he hasn’t lost his position of power and has not been held legally accountable for his war crimes and crimes against humanity.  They see a world that has once again forgot about them, now the threat of chemical weapons being used against Israel and allies in Turkey and Jordan has been taken off the table.  They don’t perceive, and I believe their perception is correct, the US Government and Western Europe governments along with opposition backers in the Middle East as being sympathetic to Syria, but merely looking after their Own National Interest.

I think there are people within the US government like US Ambassador To The UN Samantha Power, Secretary of State John Kerry, and President Barrack Obama that are sympathetic to the plight of the Syrian people, but the Department of Defense and leading Generals are looking at Syria in strictly a national security and strategic interest perspective.  Some will say that is the only proper thing for the DOD to consider.  However I do not agree with that philosophy, it is a selfish and short-sighted philosophy.  Just because what we consider our National Security Interest is not in danger and our strategic interest in the region is best served by not getting involved in Syria to help bring about Assad’s departure, does not mean we don’t have an ethical and moral obligation towards our fellow humanity suffering in the world.  It does not mean we should back off on our position Assad must go.  It does not mean we should take the threat of force against Assad off the table just because he is no longer using chemical weapons.  We should do much more to help the Syrian refugees, to speak out against Assad’s crimes and insist he leave, and make it well-known gross violations of human rights rather by government or opposition will not go unpunished.  We should in addition make it well-known to Assad that in spite of the UN agreement we still leave the possibility of force against him on the table if we feel it is necessary to defend human lives from genocide or protect our interest in the region.  We should not be doing what we are doing and giving into Assad and his regime, just because they have been cooperative on the Chemical Weapons Agreement.  He and his regime are still committing crimes against humanity, gross violations of international law, and atrocious war crimes.  We must never forget that fact.

Bashar-al-Assad

While Mrs. Barnard and some in the West may be softening their stance on Assad and his supporters are still backing him, the majority of Syria is not.  I see Bashar al-Assad pulling the wool over everyone’s eyes and doing a masterful worldwide P.R. campaign, nothing more.  I do not see a repentant man who is softening his heart, turning against his evil ways, and trying to make amends for his unspeakable crimes.  Rather I see a master manipulator, a ruthless and sadistic sociopath hiding in sheep’s clothing, and a man desperately trying to hang onto power so much so he is willing to give into the West and lose his entire chemical weapons stockpile to do so.  He saw the writing on the wall, he knew Obama and the West could soon order his imminent destruction, he knew the gig was up.  He did what he had to do to survive, it is what he has done from the beginning.  He realized the chemical weapons launch to demoralize the opposition backfired in a terrible way for him.  He will burn Syria to the ground, order the murder, torture, and rape of as many of the Syrian men, women, and children he has to in order to stay in power.  Whats over 120,000 people murdered, the brutalizing of thousands of men and young men in prison, the savagery of rape being committed against thousands of women and children to him.  They mean nothing to him, they are his enemy, and the enemy must be destroyed.  This is how he sees all Syrians who are opposed to him, being worthless and not fit to be treated with dignity or even fit to live.  His actions make clear that is what he thinks; actions speak louder than words.

I dare Assad to look a Syrian wife of a murdered husband in the eye, a Syrian child in the eye after taking their mother from them, a Syrian young man in the eye who was brutalized in prison, a Syrian young woman in the eye brutally gang raped by the Syrian Arab Army.  I dare him to go into the hospitals and see the heartbreaking wounds of his victims and talk to them to learn of the unseen wounds in their hearts.  I dare him to go and speak with the opposition and negotiate.  Bashar al-Assad does not begin to know the harm he has caused.  He does not know of the children who cry themselves to sleep at night, the mothers who can barely make it through the day without having a nervous breakdown, the father’s grief of not being able to provide and care for his family instead fighting on a ruthless and hard battleground.  He does not know and even if he did he appears not to have much of an ability to even care.  No man who cared could stand to live with himself after what he ordered his regime to do.  No man who cared could continually order the things he had ordered done.  No man who cared could not do anything less than step down and seek mercy before his judges and the people.  No Bashar you can not do those things your heart is too hard and your mind too deranged.  Instead you will fight to the bitter end, and make no mistake there will be a bitter end.  As they say in Syria, soon Inshallah.

A.C.M.

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Syria’s Chemical Weapons May Be Transported By Denmark

(AP Photo/Shaam News Network)

(AP Photo/Shaam News Network)

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Denmark is willing to help take chemical weapons out of Syria by sea and provide bodyguards for a key U.N. official there, the government said Friday.

The United Nations has unofficially asked whether Denmark could contribute ships to transport the weapons from Syria for destruction, said Defense Minister Nikolai Wammen. He said it is too early to put a number of how many Danish ships and personnel would be involved.

Foreign Aid Minister Christian Friis Bach added that there are no plans for the weapons to be destroyed in Denmark.

Denmark also would also offer a “smaller number” of ground troops who will act as bodyguards for Dutch Middle East expert Sigrid Kaag, the leader of the team charged with destroying Syria’s chemical weapons, Wammen said.

Both ministers spoke Friday after a meeting of Parliament’s all-party Foreign Policy Committee. Wammen said the governing coalition received support there but a formal vote in the Danish Parliament is expected.

via Syria’s Chemical Weapons May Be Transported By Denmark.

Syrian regime threatens to pull out of peace talks if demands are not met – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Reuters: Bassam Khabieh

Syrian children search bomb site in Damascus The crisis in Syria has displaced about 6.5 million people from their homes. Reuters: Bassam Khabieh

A proposed round of Syrian peace talks slated for later this month appears to be on the verge of collapse, with both major parties saying they will not participate without major concessions from the other side.

The Syrian regime says it will pull out of attending because it will not endorse a meeting aimed at deposing president Bashar al-Assad.

“We will not go to Geneva to hand over power as desired by (Saudi Arabia foreign minister Prince Saud) al-Faisal and certain opponents abroad,” Syria’s information minister Omran al-Zohbi said.

“President Bashar al-Assad will remain head of state.”

Washington, Moscow and the United Nations are trying to fix a date for the so-called Geneva II talks, to bring all sides together to discuss a political solution to the conflict.

Syria’s opposition has refused to attend unless Assad’s resignation is on the table, while rebel groups have warned that participants would be considered traitors.

The Syrian information minister’s comments came after US secretary of state John Kerry met his Saudi counterpart Prince Saud in Riyadh to smooth over differences on Syria.

The top US diplomat was hastily dispatched to Riyadh to patch things up after rare complaints over Washington’s policies on both Syria and Iran.

Saudi Arabia expressed anger after US president Barack Obama stepped back after threatening a punitive strike against Syria over August’s chemical weapons attack near Damascus.

While Mr Kerry reiterated that Washington opposes military intervention to end the bloodshed in Syria, Prince Saud said negotiations “shouldn’t just go on indefinitely”.

US ties with Saudi Arabia ‘enduring’ despite Syria differences: Kerry

Mr Kerry insisted that US ties with Saudi Arabia are “strategic and enduring”, even as the two countries aired their differences.

“Our relationship is strategic, it is enduring and it covers a wide range of issues,” Mr Kerry said.

Mr Kerry insisted “there is no difference in our mutually agreed upon goal in Syria” at a joint news conference with Prince Saud.

But Prince Saud, while stressing the strength of ties with the US, slammed the “international community’s failure to stop the war against the Syrian people”.

He said while the US and Saudi agreed that…

Read More Syrian regime threatens to pull out of peace talks if demands are not met – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

Child Soldiers

Syria: The Last Few Weeks

Some important events have happened in Syria over the last few weeks.  These stories will help you catch up if you have not been keeping up on the events on the ground in Syria.  I have been very busy over the last couple of weeks which is why I have not been posting.  Murphy’s Law has been alive and well in my life recently, and I have really come to resent Captain Edward Murphy and his terrible law ;-).  I plan in the future to publish every day of the work week and will try to publish on the weekends I can find the time.  I hope I did not lose many loyal readers, and for my long absence I apologize.  Without you all I would merely be archiving my writings and important news stories written by others.  I will be sure to keep you informed in the future about human right events and issues no matter how crazy things get in my personal life.  In other words I will be sure to make the time to post regardless of how busy my schedule is.

Extremist Rebels, Failed Peace Talks, Chemical Weapons Destruction, Child Soldiers, Polio: The Reality In Syria Today

http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/10/20/20989447-al-qaeda-linked-extremists-cause-new-syria-refugee-crisis?lite

http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/10/27/21194191-main-syrian-rebel-groups-declare-opposition-to-geneva-peace-talks?lite

http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/10/31/21261204-syria-destroys-all-chemical-production-equipment-weapons-watchdog-says?lite&ocid=msnhp&pos=2

http://photoblog.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/10/29/21237734-in-fathers-absence-syrian-boy-takes-up-arms?lite

http://www.npr.org/2013/11/02/242499169/polio-reappears-in-war-torn-syria

Syrian Dictator Bashar Al-Assad Jokes He ‘Should Have Won The Nobel Peace Prize’

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has quipped that he should have been the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has quipped that he should have been the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize

In what may be the most bad-taste joke ever made, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has quipped that he should have been the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Assad made his comments during an interview with pro-regime Lebanese newspaper Al Akhbar, shortly after the accolade went to the global chemical weapons watchdog charged with disarming his country.

Experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) are working to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile after a sarin gas strike in the suburbs of Damascus in August killed more than 1,400 people.

UN weapons inspectors have been unable to definitively attribute blame for the attack, though it is widely believed to have been carried out on Assad’s orders.

In the interview with Al Akhbar, Assad insists he has no regrets in giving up chemical weapons, claiming the progress in countering the effectiveness of them has rendered their effect largely psychological.

Furthermore, he credits Syria’s missile arsenal with making such strides that the need for chemical weapons is eliminated.

Pointing to the fact the manufacture of conventional weapons, long aimed at countering Syria’s old enemy Israel, is now aimed at internal enemies – Assad quipped: “The prize should have been mine.”

SEE ALSO: Syrian President’s Wife Uses Instagram To Show You She’s All About The Charity Work

Assad’s comments come as…

Read More Syrian Dictator Bashar Al-Assad Jokes He ‘Should Have Won The Nobel Peace Prize’.

The arrogance of this narcissistic sociopathic liar knows no bounds.  He laughs as he is ordering the slaughtering of his own people, the man makes me furious.  It is the Syrian people Bashar who will get the last laugh!!!

BBC News – Syria chemical weapons: OPCW plea for short ceasefires

OPCW director general Ahmet Uzumcu:

OPCW director general Ahmet Uzumcu: “Challenging times await this organisation”

The head of the body tasked with destroying Syria’s chemical weapons says fighting is preventing access to sites through some rebel-held areas.

Ahmet Uzumcu, of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, called for local, short-term ceasefires to allow experts to work.

Syria officially joined the Chemical Weapons Convention on Monday.

Meanwhile, three of the six Red Cross workers who were kidnapped on Sunday have been freed, the ICRC has said.

A Syrian Red Crescent volunteer who was with them has also been released, the group added. All those freed are reported to be unharmed.

The seven workers were seized near the town of Saraqeb in Idlib province, where they were delivering aid and assessing health facilities. It is not clear who carried out the kidnapping.

‘Syrian officials co-operating’

The OPCW and the UN have had a team of 60 experts and support staff in Syria since 1 October. They are based in Damascus and have been carrying regular visits to facilities.

In his first interview since the OPCW won the Nobel Peace Prize last week, Mr Uzumcu told the BBC’s Today programme that Syrian officials had been co-operating and facilitating the experts’ work.

He said they had been taken wherever they wanted to go, and that they had already reached five out of at least 20 facilities capable of producing chemical weapons.

However, Mr Uzumcu said, routes to some of the sites went through opposition-held territory and this prevented access.

“They change hands from one day to another, which is why we appeal to all sides in Syria to support this mission, to be co-operative and not render this mission more difficult. It’s already challenging,” he said.

He said he had called for truces because “in the previous, UN-led mission to investigate allegations of use [of chemical weapons] there were…

Read More and Video BBC News – Syria chemical weapons: OPCW plea for short ceasefires.

UN Green Light to Destroy Syria’s Chemical Weapons – ABC News

UN Green Light to Destroy Syria’s Chemical Weapons

UNITED NATIONS October 11, 2013 (AP)

U.N. diplomats say the Security Council has agreed to proposals by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons by the target of mid-2014.

France’s U.N. Ambassador Gerard Araud and Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said after closed consultations late Thursday that the 15 council members decided to authorize the plan proposed by Ban in a letter — not a resolution.

In an 11-page letter to the council on Monday, Ban recommended that a joint mission be established by the U.N. and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, with a total staff of approximately 100, to carry out what he described as a dangerous and unprecedented operation.

Azerbaijan’s U.N. Ambassador Agshin Mehdiyev, the current council president, said he would draft a letter to the secretary-general soon.

via UN Green Light to Destroy Syria’s Chemical Weapons – ABC News.