[What follows is excerpted from an article headlined Doublespeak: Unpleasant Reckoning Looming for America’s Syrian Strategy by William R Stanley, Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the University of South Carolina, published today on the CounterPunch website:]
Social-political transformation emerged from the discontent of the masses, initially in Tunisia but soon spread throughout the region causing great excitement in the Arab-speaking world and elsewhere. (...)
From the outset, Syria seemed to be a special problem. Scores of disaffected citizenry rallied to the spirit of the Arab Spring; poorly thought out heavy handed responses by Damascus served only to inflame an increasingly combustible situation. (...)
Civil war in Libya let at least one genie out of the bottle. Tripolitania and Cyrenaica had long been competing centers of geopolitical power, coexisting and held together in a unitary state only with a strong ruler. The question needs to be asked. What had Colonel Muammar al-Qaddafi done to bring the Gods of Western-led and militarily fueled retribution to his land? He voluntarily gave up his nuclear ambitions, he paid the families of those killed in the Lockerbie Pan Am explosion (the question of responsibility for this air explosion has not been definitely resolved. Was al-Qaddafi falsely judged?) and, in part to ingratiate his regime with influential critics, had invited western technology back to Libya to reinvigorate the country’s oil infrastructure. Was Libya a test case for future regime change? Numerous Western leaders demanded political change when government forces sought to silence the Benghazi rebels in revolt. The American Central Intelligence Agency set up shop in Benghazi to coordinate distribution of weaponry furnished by Qatar and shipped by sea to Cyrenaica. This same CIA station later took lead responsibility in providing much of this weaponry to cadres of the Free Syrian Army by way of Turkey and Jordan. Libya also was a model of what can happen when journalists are given uninhibited access to a war zone. A French general admitted than many of them were intelligence operatives using I-phones and other portable devices to provide assessments of Government military formations and arms depots for coalition bombings. Damascus took note of this once Syria was embroiled in conflict. Unfortunately, denying the international press access to events on the ground gave the opposition free reign in getting their message out to the world while preventing the government perspective access to the same audience. Pictures sometimes are worth a thousand words.