Syria: Iran’s Soft Flanking Underbelly?

News Commentary – April 27, 2011

The ongoing unrest in Syria offers an opportunity for the West to open a new front in its “soft war” against Iran. It is for this reason that corporate media coverage of the situation needs to be approached with some caution.

The Assad regime is obviously in trouble. In the wake of the so-called “Arab spring” its 40-year long reign has been challenged by genuine protests at home. However, the lack of direct media access in Syria has allowed for the intervention of exiled activists who have helped shape the media’s coverage of events .

Consequently suggestions by Syrian officials that the Western media has been complicit in stoking unrest may contain an element of truth.

If only because Syria offers Western intelligence a soft flanking underbelly from which to undermine Iran, much of what we are being told should be treated with scepticism.

For Western powers “regime change” in Iran is still the ultimate goal. They tried in the aftermath of Iran’s election with accusations of vote fraud but that ultimately came to nothing.

Subsequent efforts by covert Western agencies to foment unrest also came to nought while Iran has grown stronger and better prepared for direct military confrontation.

All of which must make attempts to undermine Iran through the soft flanking underbelly of its closest Arab ally seem more appealing to Iran’s Western foes.

In contrast to earlier uprisings in Egypt and Morocco, activists, often based in the West have relayed events in Syria. Making them and their reports all the more vulnerable to covert manipulation by Western intelligence.

In the words of Camille Otrakji, a Damascus-born political blogger who lives in Montreal reports from Syria may not be all they seem.

“I call it deception, he says. “It’s like putting something on the wrapping of a product which has nothing to do with what’s inside. This is all being manipulated.”

Protests in Syria have been accompanied by diplomatic pressure from the West and commentary by unamed witnesses quoted by CNN graphically recount a brutal crackdown. But how much of this is fact and how much the result of disengenuos manipulation remains open to question?

Meanwhile claims by the U.S. that Iran is actively supporting Syria’s “abhorrent deplorable” crackdown on peaceful protests is only the latest accusation in the ongoing propaganda war.