Gulf Arab Press Condemns Alleged ‘Bloody’ Chemical Weapons attack in Syria (OSC)

The USG Open Source Center translates or paraphrases comment in the Gulf Arab press on the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian Baathist regime. Note that these governmental establishments are Sunni, Wahhabi or Ibadi and often have a hostile attitude to Shiite Islam and Iran, and generally support the rebellion against the regime, which is dominated at the higher ranks by Alawite Shiites, and which is allied with Iran.

Gulf Press Condemns Reported ‘Bloody’ Chemical Weapons Attacks in Syria
OSC Summary
Monday, August 26, 2013
Document Type: OSC Summary

On 23 and 24 August, Gulf newspapers and websites were observed to carry reactions to the reported chemical weapons attacks allegedly launched on 21 August by the Syrian regime forces on Eastern al-Ghutah and Western al-Ghutah in Rif Dimashq.

The following is a roundup of some of the commentaries and reports condemning the “bloody” attacks and calling on the international community to take necessary procedures against Al-Asad regime.

Muscat [Oman] Al-Watan Online in Arabic — Website of independent, pro-government, longest-established daily . . . — on 24 August carries a commentary denouncing the reported chemical weapons attack in Syria. The writer says the warring parties in Syria claim to defend the Syrians, whereas they are only “trading in death and extremism,” waging war against each other, and spreading chaos and havoc countrywide. The commentator writes: “Some, if they can, would emerge as victors onboard the military tanks of the occupation and colonialism. They will then enter into cities, as if they were the rulers of a destroyed land and will sit on the thrones of death to commit even more killings, destruction, and death.” The writer adds: “Meanwhile, all people from both sides would be shouting out they are right.”

The commentator stresses that those who claim to defend the people might themselves have committed some violence and injustice, ignoring the slogans of “peacefulness” launched at the beginning of the unrest. According to the commentator, the “bloody” scene of Al-Ghutah massacre shows that the defenseless civilians who paid the price of the revolution with their lives seem to be unjustly caught between “those who want to liberate them and those who want to protect them.”

Doha [Qatar] Al-Sharq Online in Arabic — Website of leading, large-circulation independent daily with close ties to the ruling family; focuses on domestic affairs . . .– on 24 August carries a commentary saying that “political sense has become entirely absent in the Arab world and the political developments are illogical and absurd.” It says “there is no longer anything surprising in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, or elsewhere, neither in the formation of new alliances nor the dissolution of others,” adding that “revolutions and counter-revolutions (persist), countries are coming apart, and people are getting burned by their army and soldiers.”

The commentary says the “disaster” is that some people do not believe “massacres” have been committed in Egypt and Syria, and some have a “dead conscience” and say that “what is being said about the massacres is fabricated in the media to incite against a certain regime and to steal the free will of the people.” Or, it adds, “They say that these people deserve what is happening to them because they are terrorist groups that inhibit the transition of the Arab world, and they further say that the state has to put them down and that the people entrusted the army with this. It is the first time we hear that a people entrust their army with killing a part of them or eradicating this category with no mercy.” The commentary says that “most of the Arab media outlets no longer have a conscience; they became part of the weapons used to kill the enemy and eradicate him.”

Manama [Bahrain] Al-Watan Online in Arabic — Website of pro-government daily, harshly critical of Bahraini opposition, featuring articles by prominent Bahraini commentators/ — on 23 August carries a report saying that “the National Unity Gathering condemned the “ugly, inhuman massacre” committed by the regime of Bashar al-Asad, tyrant of Syria.” The report says the gathering noted that not condemning the Al-Asad regime on the part of the Bahraini political parties means that they approve its massacres.”

The National Unity Gathering called on the international community, the UNSC, and the Arab League to “assume their full responsibility in taking decisive and immediate steps in order to face this criminal regime along with its followers and supporters in Iran and Iraq and the Lebanese Hizballah gang.” In its statement, the Gathering noted that “the crimes of the bygone and overthrown regime are one of the scenarios of the sectarian Safavi scheme.”

Manama [Bahrain] Akhbar al-Khalij Online in Arabic — Website of independent, pro-government daily . . .– on 24 August carries an “exclusive” report saying that MP Abd-al-Rahman Bou-Majid, chairman of Bahraini Parliamentary Council for Foreign Affairs, Defense, and National Security, “denounced the massacre committed by the Syrian regime’s forces,” and described it as “a cowardly, unprecedented, horrible act.” He condemned “the use of excessive violence by the regime of Bashar al-Asad against his own people, whether this violence was through regular weapons or chemical ones.” The report cites Bou-Majid as noting that “this is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated, calling on the international community to assume its responsibility regarding the Syrian crisis.”

The report also cites independent MP Abd-al-Hakim Bin-Ibrahim al-Shamari, human rights committee chairman, as saying that what is happening in Syria is “an ugly massacre that can be committed only by people characterized with barbarity and hidden hatred against Islam and Muslims.” Al-Shamari expressed to Akhbar al-Khalij his condemnation of “the passive Arab stance regarding the oppressed Syrian people.” He urged the Gulf people and governments to assist the Syrian people with money, moral support, and political support in international forums. He insisted on “the necessity of taking rigorous and dissuasive procedures against the criminal Syrian regime, as he says, through cutting all the diplomatic and political contacts with this regime, and by standing together in the international forums to intervene in order to overthrow this oppressive regime.” The report concludes by quoting Al-Shamari as saying that “what is happening in Syria is the threat that knocks on the doors of the Gulf and threatens the stability and wealth of the Gulf countries.”

3 Responses

  1. What is really interesting is that the Syrian government does not deny the existence of a chemical attack – but suggests that it was a “false flag” operation carried out by the rebels to discredit the Baathist government.

    On a separate note, the massacre at Hama in the 1980s in which thousands were massacred by the Assad regime in response to a Muslim Brotherhood uprising went virtually unnoticed in the Western media at that time yet it seems that nowadays any suggestion of a war crime or crime against humanity occurring in Syria results in intensive international press coverage.

    Also, with respect to the recent atrocities in Syria, the Arab states have suddenly “found religion” and have publicly condemned the Syrian Baathists for these chemical weapons incidents. Why not criticize the Assad regime in the past? Was it because it was not then politically expedient to do so? Just “fan the flames” and hope the outrage invites the Americans to initiate some cruise missile attacks on the Syrian Baathists.

    • “False flag” operations are usually sophisticated projects that are conducted by a government’s military or intelligence services. Such as “Operation Northwoods”.

      In the case at issue, the Baathists are contending that:

      (A)rebels possessed poisonous Sarin gas;

      (B)had the capability to deliver it in an effective manner;and

      (C)create a credible perception that the government was responsible for the attack.

      Most observers do not believe a false flag operation occurred here.

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