Al Jazeera is generally looked upon with suspicion in the West because of its criticism of the Zionist regime in Israel. Based in the Muslim nation of Qatar, the media outlet expresses the solidarity with fellow Muslims in Palestine that one can generally find throughout the Middle East.
However, their network has been a source of blatant propaganda regarding the Syria conflict. Often parroting the same line of Assad "killing his own people," and quick to point out any civilian casualties taking place in an area, instead of analyzing just who the rebels are, where they are from, and just what they are doing in Syria.
It is obvious that the Sunni-led Arab League has been instrumental in fomenting the rise of radical Islam during this two-year long Arab Spring. In Libya and Syria, radical Sunni forces have stood up against moderate governments who, while they had progress to make as far as inclusion of the full political spectrum, were not leaning towards the fundamentalist variety of lifestyle and policy.
Early on in the conflict, Assad had to make reforms to these groups, even lifting the ban on the full body-covering niqab, as an appeal to the Islamists.
That particular piece was mentioned by Al Jazeera, but let me direct your attention to a recent article, which sums up the propagandist line used by the station, and by most Western media outlets in general.
The article is entitled "Syria army launches intense bombing of Homs," and right from the get-go, the sub-header is "Civilian deaths reported as air strikes and shelling . . . ", well, you know the rest.
The article follows up with reports of the deaths of a woman and two children, without naming them, and states that this information came from the oft-cited Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which passed on the casualty reports to the AFP news agency.
It then goes on to detail the "barbaric shelling," as described by one unnamed person who recorded video. The video states that Homs is an important city to retake because of its proximity to Lebanon, and then uses the strange language that the regime is trying to eliminate what "IT describes as terrorists."
(Yes, the narrator even emphasizes the it.)
This statement is used to make us question the validity of the terror threat there. The video does not show the Syrian rebels, only carefully placed images of injured children and the most decrepit but still standing buildings, which were damaged in the fighting.
Al Jazeera refuses to let us see the real rebels that are living and fighting in Homs, but does implant interviews with them in another section of the site. I will dedicate future posts to the station's documentaries on Syria, but it should be noted that they assume it's alright to mention the rebels (or terrorists) in one report, but NOT to mention them when the focus of the article is meant to exaggerate civilian casualties.
The most curious piece of this article in question, Syria army launches intense bombing of Homs, is the way it ends. Another unnamed "spokesman" for the Assad government states, "What's important is to cleanse those neighborhoods of Homs that are in the hands of armed terrorists."
One may think I'm nitpicking, but it's very important to scrutinize the language used here, which is "cleanse". What does that make one think of in a situation like this?
The article, by the unnamed speaker, who has been translated by another unnamed source, is specifically designed to make us register ethnic cleansing in our brains by using that word cleanse.
And what else is related to ethnic cleansing? Yes, genocide.
And both these terms have been used by the aforementioned Arab League when referring to the Syrian conflict. But of course, these are totally uninterested parties who are simply casual observers, correct?
Wrong again, Tony!
These are the very heads of state from those Arab league countries who have dogs in the fight in Syria, two of which are Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.
I'm not even going to repeat myself again to show that those two countries are INSTRUMENTAL in starting, training, and funding the mostly foreign Syrian rebels. If you need examples for state collusion by Lebanon and Saudi Arabia just go into Google and search "Lebanon funding Syrian rebels" or "Saudi Arabia funding Syrian rebels," put the popcorn on, and enjoy reading about all the international manipulation.
To end this post, I'll provide the link to a video of what the Syrian rebels in Homs do, which is what they've always been doing, executing defenseless people in public. Yes, we can criticize the government for civilian casualties. It is a failure and is irresponsible. But don't do it and ignore the crimes that have been committed by the other side. If you do, then you're just part of the propaganda machine.
Part two of 'Debunking Al Jazeera' will scrutinize the station's documentary programs, and I will follow the deconstruction of the Syria coverage with articles focusing on the "humanitarian groups," Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and Human Rights Watch.