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11 January 2016


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Col: If this were driven by real humanitarian concerns, then the propaganda organs would be angling for the surrender of the city and the removal of the fighters as occurred in Homs.

This whole informational campaign is proof that Russia's intervention has profoundly tipped the war in the Secularists' favor.


There are between 300 and 600 terrorist in Madaya. The commanding group is Jabhat al-Nusra. There are some 23,000 civilians. The last ICRG convoy delivered food for some two month in mid October. The Syrian army delivered some additional 50 tons of food at the end of November. That last ICRG visit to Madaya was some 10 days ago when some wounded were eveacuated. No famine was reported by the ICRG. Another aid convoy arrived today.

According to civilian inhabitants (not the armed men the NYT uses as "witnesses") the militants have confiscated all delivered aid and sell it only to exorbitant prices to the inhabitants.

There are also sieges on other towns. Most notable Nubr and Kafraya where some 40,000 civilians on the government's side are under siege by Nusra and other groups. Unlike Madaya those towns also come under regular shelling by the "peaceful protesters" of the anti-Assad side.



The Indian ambassador to Syria 2009 to 2012 in an interview about the start of the crisis:

India's former ambassador to Syria on how the country has changed since 2009
It was evident that al-Qaeda in Iraq were in Syria since April 2011.
Al-Qaeda was there from the very first week, and if not the first week then from late 2011 when al-Qaeda banners appeared. It was these groups that provided the opposition with support from across the border. In Raqqa the fighters came from the north and it was clear that it was al-Qaeda.


First Tragedy, then Farce...

Abu Sinan

Spot on! The sectarian groundwork has been laid by the Saudis and other ultra-Salafiyah to the point where many Sunnis would believe that Assad and his forces are gassing all non-Shi'a ala Auschwitz if their leaders and media told them so. The reflex reaction amoungst most Sunni Muslims is a very visceral anti-Shi'a one.

Talking fact and sense to the majority of Sunnis who have been raised on this sectarian diet for the last few decades is like banging your head against the wall, they are just not interested.

This has its counter parts in the western media, government and related borgists, although for very different reasons.

Trey N

So what else is new? In 1914 the Western media was trumpeting "German soldiers are bayoneting Belgian babies!" In 1990 it was "Saddam's soldiers are murdering Kuwaiti babies!"

The lies and propaganda work wonderfully, because most sheeple are just too damn stupid and gullible to question the outrageous hoaxes. Even otherwise educated, intelligent people have been brainwashed into accepting whatever the mainstream media spews out as "the truth." After all, those in authority only have our best interests at heart; why would they lie to us? Only conspiracy nuts question the official story line!

Babak Makkinejad

Truth is the first casualty of War.


BM: But that was before social media and the ability of ordinary people to fact-check these claims. The media people underestimate how these type of information campaigns gut their credibility.

Most of us still believe in the Republic. We do not accept that the government or media should lie to us.

Abu Sinan

The Islamist uprising in Syria was planned long before 2011. It just happened in 2011 using the Arab Spring as cover and it was the same collection and Islamists and their groups as it was in Hama.

For as much as western media and the various Khaliji powers say, the revolution in Syria is not so much of a civil war as it is a proxy invasion of Syria by outside anti-Assad and pro ultra-Salafiyah powers.


The BBC had as its top story on the World site, a month or so ago, another 'The Syrian's are using chemical weapons' story so I read it but the whole thing was based on one unnamed US government source but nothing to back it up and no details of any specific event. How do the BBC have the gall to run a rumor started by an unnamed source and promote it to top global story? The mind boggles at how low western editorial standards have sunk and just how stupid and gullible we are, or at least they think we are.


Do not forget Ceaucescu's mass graves in Timisoara, or the Serbian extermination camps in Bosnia, all documented with gruesome photographic evidence (rows of aligned corpses, resp. emaciated people behind barbed wire) -- and which all proved to be media falsifications...

Babak Makkinejad

From 2002:




And, nobody really ever found the mass graves that were to be proof of SH's dastardy. They found graves but they were mostly combat casualties. pl


In reply to Abu Sinan 11 January 2016 at 10:43 AM

I can't remember the exact date but I do remember reading while boning up on modern Syrian history that Assad père had to get a Fatwa saying that he (and Alawaites) were indeed muslims. At that time there was a constitutional requirement that the Syrian president be a muslim.

One of history's many little sharp ironical teeth.

I agree with you about the visceral sectarianism - rather sad and a change. I did some of my growing up first in Lebanon and then Irak when my dad was posted there. There was sectarianism but it wasn't the vicious sectarianism that there is now. That particular pot is being stirred by the Saudis primarily but also I very strongly suspect by a divide and rule strategy being followed by outside powers meddling in the region.

I doubt this is going to end well.




Social media is where a lot of fluff and exaggerated/fabricated claims come from. Technology made it vastly easier for nonsense to flood the informational channels, and nonsense multiplies a lot faster than the "facts." Most people don't have the means or the time to cut through all the multiplying nonsense to dig the "truth." I suspect that, on the net, the social media made it a lot easier for propaganda and conspiracy stories to spread than to counter it.

Abu Sinan

Thanks for the article Babak. In retrospect some of it seems to not have come to pass. In the years since 9/11 Arabs coming to the US on education scholarships have soared, especially from the Gulf. I dont know how current politics and financial considerations are going to impact this, but there are more Saudi students in the US than ever. Whereas pre-9/11 you had to be accepted to a full four year university to come from KSA on a student visa, KSA and other Khaliji states are now sending students over to community colleges just to learn English.

Separating Arab interests I suspect hasnt happened as the author claimed, more's the pity. If you look at how the US is supporting the failed mission in Yemen, I think if anything the Khaliji states, especially Saudi, are the tail that wags the dog. The growing ties between these states and Israel might actually cement this in the future. I wouldnt be surprised to see an open Israeli/GCC pact in the not too distant future.

What might halt all of this is the brash and impudent behavior of KSA and the GCC, which faces the threat of imminent implosion if they are not careful.

Babak Makkinejad

Saudi Arabia can get away with blue murder because the UK/US media, no matter what they might say, treat them leniently. In the UK, criticizing Saudi Arabia is pretty taboo.

And the government is tight-lipped and manages to scotch any attempt at criticizing them. And there is also the old shrug of the shoulders: "Ok, they chop people's hands and heads off. So what? That's what they do. It's normal out there." Somehow, it is accepted, whereas whatever Iran does is deemed outrageous.

I don't mean to be controversial for the sake of it, but in the British media, the same happens with China vs. Israel. If Israel does anything questionable in relation to the Palestinians the media has a go and Israel is portrayed as a Fascist State etc. But criticism of China in relation to Tibet and the Uighurs is muted at best, as if, "This is what you expect them to do anyway."

that Israel is held to higher standards than Saudi Arabia and China, and this may be a good thing. It is sad that Israel's public opinion and its current -- noxious -- government allow themselves to sink to forms of behavior that fall short of 'civilized' standards.

Iran tends to be held to higher standards than countries like Saudi Arabia or Algeria. In part, unconsciously perhaps, on the part of Western commentators and politicians, it is a vague notion that Iran should not sink to the level of ineptitude and violence that those Westerners expect from Arabs -- and not that they would ever express it like this, if you see what I mean.

I do think it plays a part. And then it becomes a stick to beat the Islamic Republic, because they are 'the bad guys' whereas Saudi Arabia are supposedly 'the good guys'.

The Saudis are remarkably good at maneuvering their way round. It is quite amazing what they get away with. Of course a lot of it is money. They put their money in British banks. They spend their money on American, French and British weapons systems.

They buy real estate in London. It is a client state, as it were, or UK guys are their clients. It'll be interesting to see what happens if their power and influence wane with the collapse in the price of oil. They're going to be left with a lot of sand and a few camels, and they won't be able to foot the bill for the air-conditioning.


I Agree , this blog is a proof on how things have changed, specially ever since 2003, IMO the western MSM has a lot harder job, and spends more, to dilute and or divert the information, they now have a real job fighting against this new grass route collective information sources.


thanks pl.. i agree especially with your last line.. more propaganda bs and optic manipulations..


I had a donation and action request for this 'humanitarian catastrophe' in my inbox today. To the extent these folks call for donations for the poor people of Madaya we're talking about fraud.


I expressed skepticism in the recent blog-entry that rightfully ridiculed the notion that the unicorns could rise again from the sea about the number of 40.000 people exclusively located in Madaya as per our "news agencies", a number which the UN has put forward last week:


Compare this with the UN-report on the coordinated deliveries of aid not just to this place, but to neighbouring Zabadani and the two places in Idlib, Al-Fu'ah and Khefraya (which is named "Kafriya" in its wiki-entry):


"19 October 2015 – A joint United Nations, International Red Cross (ICRC) and Syrian Arab Red Crescent operation delivered on Sunday essential medical and humanitarian supplies to 30,000 people in the Fouah and Kefrayah in Idlib governorate and Zabadani and Madaya in the Rural Damascus governorate, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

“Yesterday’s mission was critical as it allowed humanitarian actors to reach thousands of people in these besieged and hard to reach locations with the needed assistance,” said OCHA in a press release.

The number of people reached is expected to rise to 40,000 in the next 48 hours. The joint operation was made possible by the framework of the Zabadani/Fouah and Kefrayah ceasefire agreement, which was reached in Istanbul in September, with the facilitation of the Office of the UN Special Envoy for Syria."

Is it at all plausible to assume that, within the space of mere months, Madaya's population, a besieged town's that is, would rise to 40.000?
Ultimately, given the war-time conditions, exact counts of who and how many there are in a given place amidst combat operations is understandably difficult.


The BBC is the same organization that wouldn't allow an appeal for financial assistance for Palestinians injured in Gaza during Cast Lead. The BBC claimed that to allow the appeal would "compromise the station's impartiality".

Amazing, no? Not only was that the first time (to my knowledge) the BBC disallowed an appeal to help victims of a war, they did so on the false basis of their own impartiality - which is so far from the truth as to be entirely risible.

But then, this is the organization that reported on the "failure" of World Trade building Seven 23 minutes before it fell (or was "pulled", as the then owner called it). http://www.wtc7.net/bbc.html

The ideological and financial consolidation of the major press is a very bad thing – and reflects the intentions of an ever more powerful media elite (the owners and key spokespersons) who actively collaborate to support their ambitions.



The sieges will keep occurring as Russia and its allies move forward encircling Sunni villages and towns. Starvation conserves manpower. Iraq has already been ethnic cleansed which the western media avoided mentioning. Now it is Syria’s turn but since it involves Russia it is publicized. The question is how long will it take to cut the rebel’s supply corridor to Turkey. In Iraq the USA paid off the Sunni tribes for a resemblance of peace until they left. Then the Sunnis revolted over Shiite domination. If 200 to 500 true believers stay back to defend each Sunni town, the cleansing could take a while. The question is how to force a peace settlement. There are power blocks in the West who want the Sunni Shiite Holy War to go on forever to make more money, destabilize Russia and to protect Israel.

I doubt Turkey can stand by for long as Sunni and Turkman villages are starved to death right next door. A Turkish invasion widens the world war. This is the summer of 1914, all over again, in very slow motion. The opposing sides have nuclear weapons now.



You missed the point that the civilians in Madaya were not starving. pl


Doctors without Borders is reporting the opposite -




Take your choice MSF or the ICRC. I prefer the ICRC. pl

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