Syrian Propaganda and Arab Uprisings
It has now become official. Propagandists of the Syrian regime (most of whom are Lebanese and are awarded hours of airtime on Syrian regime TV and its sister Dunya TV) have declared war on Arab uprisings – all Arab uprisings. Syrian regime propaganda now peddles the silly New York Times theory that Americans (Gene Sharp or Freedom House or some other outfit) plotted and orchestrated the Arab uprisings to benefit Israel.
Rafiq Nasrallah, a staunch Lebanese supporter of the Syrian regime and a known presence on Lebanon’s TV scene (he used to be Beirut bureau chief for UAE TV but was fired after the assassination of Rafiq Hariri for political reasons) even blatantly declared his preference for all Arab regimes.
Syrian regime propaganda now offers no sympathy for Arab uprisings. All are now treated with suspicion and hostility. The uprisings were of course cheered when they hit Egypt: here was Israel’s close ally and the chief opponent of Syria and Hezbollah in the Arab region. Syria and Hezbollah perhaps (arrogantly) assumed that the uprisings would stop at the gates of Syria and that it would only target the clients of the US. Bashar Assad gave an early interview to the Wall Street Journal in which he analyzed at length the reasons for his popularity. But once the uprisings reached Syria, the tone and rhetoric of the regime and its allies changed dramatically.
Pro-Syrian regime propaganda outlets (including Hezbollah media) now look at Arab uprisings with suspicion. Arab uprisings are now portrayed as part of a US/Israel plot to control the region. The scenarios that appear in such media wildly exaggerate the power of the US and even, unwittingly, conform to a long-standing Mossad aim to convince Arabs that they can’t change their lots, that Israel can shape the region in any way it wants and, that developments will only be allowed if they are consistent with Israeli interests.
Syrian regime propagandists have had a hard time: how to praise Arab uprisings while demonizing a popular uprising inside Syria? The NATO rule in Libya has convinced the Syrian regime that the US/Israel are managing all Arab uprisings. To be sure, some Arab opposition groups, including the Syrian National Council, have allowed themselves to serve outside agendas, but the underlying causes for the Syrian uprising are internal/domestic. But tyrannical regimes are incapable of admitting their own unpopularity.