Media,  Syria

AFP falls for Assad propaganda

By Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi

Recently the French news agency AFP reported that the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood (MB) claimed responsibility for the bomb attacks in Damascus on its website.

The only trouble is, that this claim was taken from a fake Ikhwan site (now deleted) cloned by Assad loyalists. The actual site for Syria’s MB is here. It is hilarious to see how outlets like AFP have now been altering their reports while trying to maintain an apparent stance of objectivity. The suspicion was clear anyway because of the language of the purported MB statement: “One of our victorious Sunni brigades…”. The Ikhwan, as Michael Weiss points out, would never use such language in a press statement.

It should now be clear that the bomb attacks in Damascus were staged by the Assad regime. The timing with the arrival of the Arab League delegation was more than just a coincidence, and once the claims of an al-Qa’ida strike seemed vacuous, the regime turned to pin the blame on the Syrian MB as part of its attempts to portray the opposition as primarily driven by a Sunni Islamist insurgency.

None of this is to say that Sunni Islamists are not prominent in the Syrian opposition, or that all the claims put out by the opposition are true. For example, members of the opposition have claimed that there is some “Alawite League of Coordinating Committees” in order to suggest there are emerging fractures in the Alawite community regarding support for the Assad regime. Yet as the intelligence group STRATFOR notes, this organization has turned out to be non-existent.

Nonetheless this story is testimony to how the mainstream media are just as capable of falling for the propaganda of a regime that cannot be morally equated with the opposition.

(Hat-tip: Wladimir Van Wilgenburg.)

Aymenn Jawad al-Tamimi is an intern at the Middle East Forum

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