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Long live the manipulation

Elections to the parliament have just taken place in Syria and the results are expected on Tuesday. For many large German media, however, this result is already certain: the “ruler” Bashar al-Assad will cement his power through “a Farce”. And this despite the fact that Assad was responsible for a “civil war” through repression, which he had “brutally crushed” together with Russia.

Criticism of the practical implementation of the elections and of the restrictive selection of candidates may be partially justified. But the question of why Syria is still in a terrible state of war and who started this war and kept it alive for nine years: these questions are avoided as far as possible – if not answered incorrectly. The same goes for the questions of why the Syrian economy is on the ground and what Western sanctions have to do with it. In addition, there is no comparison to nations in which a Western-backed regime Change has also been “elected” in or shortly after the war, such as Afghanistan, Iraq or Libya.

Please no questions about war, sanctions, Islamists

In order to avoid uncomfortable questions about the responsibility of the West and its allies (including many media outlets) for the war against the Syrian government, the story is once again radically shortened in the current election reports and thus unacceptably distorted. If one describes the consequences of war and misery as an obstacle to a fair election, one has to ask: Where do the Hunger and the ruins that shape everyday life for many Syrian citizens come from? If Assad as “ruler” is denied any political legitimacy, why do the major Western media no longer mention what political forces they have glorified as “Opposition” in the last nine years? Are these militant Islamist “rebels” more politically and morally justified to take power in Syria? Did these” rebels “hold elections in their” strongholds " that would have met the Standards now demanded? Can the restoration of Syria’s pre-war state (with Assad) not even be described as a Symbol of the failure of the illegal Regime Change attempt? These questions are by no means intended to acquit the current ballot of deficits, but they must be put in context.

But these questions are not asked in the major German media. Neither in private nor in public law. So reports the ZDF:

“War has been raging in Syria for more than nine years. ( … ) In the midst of this Chaos and a severe economic crisis, a new parliament is elected. ( … ) Critics speak of a Farce: above all with the help of Russia, Assad has expanded control over Syria again.”

How did the war come about? What do illegal Western sanctions have to do with the aforementioned economic crisis? Would ZDF have preferred the Islamist “rebels” to have kept their control over parts of Syria? There are no answers to this in the report. Instead, it is said: “for most candidates, the blame for war, misery and economic sanctions lies solely with foreign countries.“Does ZDF want to contradict this view?

Also in the ARD Tagesthemen (from 9:41) is radically shortened. After Assad’s inauguration, the hope “did not last long” that the country would “open up politically and economically or even make its way into democracy.” The war debt is also clearly assigned here, it lies with Assad:

“After the brief spring of Damascus, however, Assad Junior also ruled with an Iron Fist, took brutal action against political opponents – this was followed by the devastating civil war that has lasted for nine years.”

After all, a quoted Syrian citizen may mention Western sanctions in the report.

“Does Assad Take Valium?”

The “Frankfurter Rundschau” is working harder: the war is a “popular uprising”, Assad is a “dictator”, the government is a “Regime”, aid deliveries are used “as a means of pressure against their own population”. This is still being overshadowed, for example by the “Weser-Kurier”, which has thrown off all shackles of seriousness for its commentary:

“How can someone like him (Assad) sleep quietly at night without being plagued by the many dead compatriots, the children he poisons with chemical weapons, the cities he has destroyed by bombing? Maybe he takes Valium, who knows?”

In comparison, a recent report by “Deutschlandfunk” is almost bearable: although the history of the war against Syria is also heavily distorted there, at least Western sanctions are mentioned and militant Islamist “rebels” are no longer hailed as “Opposition”. Balanced reports Karin Leukefeld in the “Junge Welt”:

“Since 2011, Western commentators and Syrian opposition activists have described every ballot in the country as a Farce, which is only intended to give the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad a “Democratic coat of paint”, according to the dpa in a report of 8 May. In large parts of Syria, this is seen differently.”

“The West is guilty”

Once again, large German media are denying the real background to the war against Syria. It should be pointed out again that the saying “afterwards one is always wiser” does not apply in the case of Syria. It was already possible in 2013 to “be smarter” and also to clearly describe the Situation in a large German Medium, as the professor of criminal law Reinhard Merkel did at that time in the FAZ:

“What is the price of a democratic Revolution? In Syria, Europe and the United States are the arsonists of a catastrophe. There is no justification for this civil war. The West is guilty.”