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« SYRIA PRESS REVIEW » #51

Foreign instructors leave, Al Qaeda arrives

The new Western discourse coincides with the withdrawal of many foreign instructors, as witnessed in the field, and with the statements of Ayman al-Zawahari (the Egyptian leader of Al-Qaeda since the official demise of Osama bin Laden) announcing the arrival of his fighters. In fact, Al-Qaeda is already on the ground inside Syria, where the Libyan Abdel Hakim Belhaj (the organization’s number-two man) has been seen supervising the "Free" Syrian Army. This charade is intended to cloak NATO’s strategy switch from a low intensity war to subcontracting terrorist actions as required.

The Arab League wants a United Nations peacekeeping force in Syria, without specifying between which factions they would be mediating and on what line of demarcation. Immediately rejected by Syria since encroaching on its sovereignty, the proposal provided Westerners with the awaited opportunity of harping on the impossibility of a military solution; a discourse in total contradiction with the one they held before the Russian and Chinese double veto of 4 February, when NATO was trying to assemble a coalition around Turkey and the GCC.

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• To enhance the romantic imagery of events, several newspapers resort to commissioning reports or articles by talented writers. Thus, Le Monde has enlisted Jonathan Littell who entered Syria illegally to join the rebels at Homs. Or La Vanguardia which publishes a piece by Tahar Ben Jaloun fantasizing, in the manner of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, on what might be going on in tyrant Al-Assad’s head.

Junge Welt surveys half a century of plots against Syria at the hands of the US and British secret services. The former East German communist youth daily is the only one in Europe to have sided with Syria against imperialism.

• The Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs, Uri Rosenthal, gave an interview to the Standard (Austria). He excludes the military option, but pleads in favor of supporting the opposition politically and financially. However, he voices concern over the difficulties faced by the opposition to remain united. Gulf News publishes an op-ed by British Foreign Minister William Hague, announcing that his administration has begun to collect witness accounts of crimes by the Syrian regime in view of a possible trial against Bashar al-Assad before the ICC.

ABC cautions that a civil war in Syria would put in jeopardy the Spanish Blue Helmets serving with the UN Peacekeeping Force in Lebanon.

• Richard Spencer of the Daily Telegraph, who saw the bodies of victims wearing handcuffs, does not believe they were killed by loyalists, but by the rebels. So he wonders whether the same ruthlessness is being exercised by both sides.

• Charlotte McDonald-Gibson of The Independent was taken aback when visiting a military hospital: All the wounded were convinced that the violence is perpetrated exclusively by the rebels.

• The National Post asked its readers what can be done for Syria. None of the published replies disputes the Atlanticist interpretation of events nor takes into account the Syrian perspective.

• Sami Mobayeb in Gulf News deplores that the draft of the new constitution is being submitted to the Syrian people only at this stage. In any case, he says, the new text does not change much, except to put an end to the political leadership of the Baath party. However, it is too late to avert the division of the country, he concludes.

• In response to the speech by King Abdullah, groups have "spontaneously" been created in Saudi Arabia to promote the boycott of Russian and Chinese products, reports the Saudi Gazette. The Jeddah Chamber of Commerce seized on the opportunity to inform the public of the poor quality of products from its Chinese competitor. However, canceling the oil contracts with the country’s leading client was not considered as an option.

• UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed went to Moscow to vouch for the UAE’s will to find a peaceful solution to the crisis, reports The Khaleej Times. He was not carrying a concrete proposal, hence his visit did not lead to anything concrete. It was mostly a way of showing that relations between the two countries are friendly notwithstanding the Wahhabi call for a boycott.

Headline of the day

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The Arab Times is a daily newspaper published in Kuwait, a state that has sold a third of its territory to the United States and hosts the largest contingent of GIs outside US borders.
The above headline was featured on its edition of February 13, 2012.

Photo of the day

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© Reuters

Each day we shall endeavor to present the press agency photo that was most widely disseminated worldwide.
Here, at a rally of about twenty people in Daria near Damascus, a small girl pleads for help against child-killing tyrant Al-Assad.
The sign is in English and the dead children are represented by a doll wrapped in a shroud. While the picture calls forth emotion, it also illustrates the virtual nature of the accusation: there is nothing to substantiate the charge that the regime would have killed 400 children. And, so, we are left with a doll exhibit.

Cartoons of the day

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© Gulf News

For Nino Jose Heredia the new constitution comes too late. It cannot bridge the gap created by the crisis, only patch up a hole in the wall.

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© The National

According to Shadi Ghanim, the Syrians are no longer safe anywhere from the government’s bombs.

Attached documents

 
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