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The Russian Misinformation Campaign on Houla Massacre

The Russian Misinformation Campaign on Houla Massacre

It is clear that Russian-Syrian media have launched their own campaign of misinformation to cast doubts on the Houla massacre to clear Bashar al-Assad from any responsibility. Russia and Assad are using the fact that the Syrian Government continues to deny free access to media; in doing so, the independent media would find it difficult to confirm any news item, leaving the door open to all possibilities. Russia needs any pretext to justify its position after blocking all UNSC resolutions to condemn Assad. Therefore, since March 27th,Russia Today has been continuously casting doubts on who committed the crime and pointing to opposition to have been the murderous side who killed pro-Assad people[1].

The Assad regime and its Russian ally are also taking advantage of the fact that Westerners generally do not know Arabic language, leaving them open to manipulation. Thus they managed to get the story through the media until it reached Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ).[2] on June 6th. The FAZ report echoes almost entirely the narration of Russia Today.[3] However, the FAZreport, which the National Review cited and translated into English, was more detailed.[4] The translation of the National Review reads “Those killed were almost exclusively from families belonging to Houla’s Alawi and Shia minorities… Members of the Shomaliya, an Alawi family, were also killed, as was the family of a Sunni member of the Syrian parliament who is regarded as a collaborator.”The translation of the National Review reads “Those killed were almost exclusively from families belonging to Houla’s Alawi and Shia minorities… Members of the Shomaliya, an Alawi family, were also killed, as was the family of a Sunni member of the Syrian parliament who is regarded as a collaborator.”

Amongst the dead in the Houla massacre there is no family called Shomaliy, asreported in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ). Shomaliya, in fact, is the name of another village outside Houla region. Houla consists of four villages: Taldo, Kafarlaha, Taldahab, al Tiba al Gharbiya; the massacre actually took place in Taldo. The massacre actually took place in Taldo. Going through the list of the victims will reveal to us also that there is no person from al-Mishaleb family, the family of the Syrian MP[5].

The report says that the most of the victims are converters to Shiaa Islam. While it is impossible to ensure this, we can still find some clues otherwise. Most of the victims are under 10 years which means that they have not been introduced to a first religion to be able to convert to another one. Moreover, there is a historic conflict between Shiaa and Sunni Islam, and this conflict is linked to some historic figures. Therefore, it is impossible to find a Shiaa person named after one of the most hated figures in their religion like victim no.27 whose name is Umar Mahmoud al-Kurdi. The name Umar goes backed to one of the most hated figures in Shiaa Islam, Umar bin al-Khatab. This applies also to the names of other victims, whose names are theologically Sunni specific: victim no. 90 Mo’aweh al-Said, and victim no. 59 Aysha Abd al-Khaleq Abd al-Razzaq. [6]

Attempting to manipulate the audience is a policy followed by the Syrian regime. On December 7th 2011, the ABC aired the interview Barbara Walters conducted with Bashar al-Assad. In that interview Bashar admitted committing some mistakes and said they were fixing them. Later on, the presidential e-mails were leaked and an interesting e-mail emerged as sent from Bashar al-Assad press aide Sheherazad Jaafari to al-Assad advising Assad what to say in the interview, “Don’t talk reform,” Jaafari wrote in one e-mail. “American’s (sic) won’t care, or understand that. … American psyche can be easily manipulated when they hear that there are ‘mistakes’ done and now we are ‘fixing it.’”[7]

The repercussions of Houla massacre were not expected; therefore, the Assad and his allies are trying to obscure the facts to utilize it casting the responsibility of their own massacres on the victims. They are also undermining the credibility of the revolutionary media; thereby obscuring further massacres to come.

By: Noor al-Deen al-Dimashqi, Damascus Tribune
_________________
References

[1] http://www.rt.com/news/damascus-refutes-accusations-houla-massacre-339/

[2] http://www.faz.net/aktuell/politik/neue-erkenntnisse-zu-getoeteten-von-hula-abermals-massaker-in-syrien-11776496.html

[3] http://www.rt.com/news/damascus-refutes-accusations-houla-massacre-339/

[4] http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/302261/report-rebels-responsible-houla-massacre-john-rosenthal

[5] http://dchrs.org/english/print.php?id=560&path=dchrs.org/english/news.php?id=560&idC=16

[6] ibid

[7] http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/06/us/syria-barbara-walters/index.html

3 comments on “The Russian Misinformation Campaign on Houla Massacre

  1. A number of the Christian Pro-Assad mouthpieces who have made various claims, including claims repeated in the FAZ article, have now been criticised by the Catholic Church. I’ve done a write up about it here
    http://brown-moses.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/holy-see-and-senior-catholic-church.html

    I’ve also put together a breakdown of another two pieces of anti-FSA propaganda put out by Russia Today
    http://brown-moses.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/russia-today-and-their-anti-fsa.html

  2. […] Army members, composed mainly from Sunnis, and the victims are Alawites. Being a flimsy allegation, it was refuted in this article. However, it is still unknown how these media will cast the blame on the FSA when Annan has […]

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