According to the French daily Le Monde, in Syria rape has become the weapon of "Bashar al-Assad’s secret war" against the revolutionaries. At least, this is what is advanced in a long article by Annick Cojean (photo) [1].

The journalist insinuates that the revolution, after a peaceful start, turned violent in reaction to the mass rapes perpetrated by the military regime. She relies on the statements made by a Syrian refugee in Jordan following her imprisonment: "We were raped every day to the cries of ’We, the Alawites, are going to crush you’."

This testimony dredges up the classic Western propaganda theory of an Alawite dictatorship, when the Assad administration is essentially Ba’athist. Alawites constitute a small religious minority, who identify with Shia Islam and believe that religion is a matter of personal faith, not of rites. While Assad is an Alawite, the vast majority of his cabinet members and army officers are not. So, there is nothing to justify classifying the Syrian regime as "Alawite", unless the author has adopted the Wahhabi version of Islam. President al-Assad is also Chairman of the Baath Party, a secular, socialist and pan-Arab political party whose ideology is explicitly inspired by the French and Russian Revolutions.

Uttering the simple sentence "We Alawites will crush you", as reported by Ms. Cojean, would be enough to lead to the dismissal of any public official or soldier.

At the beginning of the NATO operation in Syria, many newspapers had similarly reported that the Syrian Arab Army coerced prisoners into recanting their faith and worshiping portraits of President al-Assad. This accusation has fizzled out.

Ms. Cojean’s allegation rings all the more grotesque to those who are familiar with Syria and are aware that the Baath Party has always been at the forefront of the advancement of women, thus opposing not only the Muslim Brotherhood (which control the Syrian National Coalition) but also many other Sunni organizations.

Annick Cojean is famed for using the cause of women to disseminate U.S. propaganda. Member of the French-American Foundation [2], she was published after the lynching of Muammar el-Qaddafi, a book accusing him of having had many children kidnapped to be raped [3]. And since no one before this book, including during the NATO war against Libya, had ever dared to level such accusations against the Libyan leader, she pretended that everyone had known for a long time but kept quiet for fear of reprisals. In other words, Muammar el-Qaddafi was a dictator because he could rape children, and the public did not know because he was a dictator who could punish witnesses.

Annick Cojean is president of the Albert Londres Prize, the highest French journalism award.

[1"Syrie : le viol, arme de destruction
", by Annick Cojean, Le Monde, 4 March 2014.

[2"Un relais des États-Unis en France : la French American Foundation", by Pierre Hillard, Réseau Voltaire, 19 April 2007.

[3Les Proies : dans le harem de Kadhafi, Éditions Grasset & Fasquelle, 2012.