Responses at reddit.com to an article about Syria demonstrate that Americans have massive misconceptions about the war in Syria.
Their main falsehoods will be quoted here (from that reddit string), and then the relevant solidly established facts will be cited and linked to (so that you can check these facts for yourself):
The article about the matter (which I wrote, and to which reddit’s readers were supposedly responding) was titled «Twice in One Day, Ban Ki-moon Condemned Obama’s Actions on Syria», and it quoted the statements from U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemning U.S. President Barack Obama’s — and «many Western countries» — their repeated statements that Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad must be removed from office and replaced with a leader whom those foreign leaders approve.
Mr. Ban Ki-moon said (among other things) that, «The future of Assad must be determined by the Syrian people», rather than by foreign leaders.
A reddit reader wrote the following brief comment to that: «They [presumably referring to «the Syrian people», not to the foreign leaders] clearly don’t want Assad. In case he’s [and no indication was given as to whom «he» was supposed to be] forgotten, that’s where the whole civil war started».
The actual fact is that when America’s ally the Qatari regime, which funds al-Nusra (al-Qaeda in Syria), hired a polling firm in 2012 to survey Syrians, the finding was that 55% of Syrians wanted Assad to remain as President. Then, as I reported on 18 September 2015, «Polls Show Syrians Overwhelmingly Blame U.S. for ISIS», and those polls were from a British firm that has ties to Gallup. Whatever that reddit reader (or anyone else) might think of Assad, all polling of the Syrian people shows that most Syrians are terrified of the jihadist groups who are trying to replace him (of which ISIS is merely one), fighting to take over the Syrian government; and also show that Syrians overwhelmingly blame as the cause of the war, the U.S. and its allies — which are the Sauds who own Saudi Arabia, and the Thanis who own Qatar, and the Islamicist leader of Turkey, Erdogan.
Only a small minority of Syrians blame Assad, who is a secular leader who has always been committed to separation of church-and-state (a rarity in a Muslim-majority country). Even most of Syria’s Sunnis want Assad to remain leading the country because the alternative has already shown itself in Libya; and, before that, in Iraq. If you were Syrian, would you want that alternative? The American public might be obtuse to (or deceived about) the realities that the Syrian people face, but Syrians are not. To them, this is a matter of life or death; and, now, mostly of death.
The next reader-comment was, «It boggles my mind how anyone can say that the Syrian population actually supports Assad. When foreign nations say that Assad has to go as part of the healing process in Syria, they are speaking for the Syrian people.» His «they» was referring to Barack Obama, and to Islamicist Saudi King Salman, and to Islamicist Qatari Emir Thani, and to Turkey’s Islamicist President Erdogan. The U.S. leader, Obama, hopes to eliminate an ally of Vladimir Putin, whom Obama hates. (He doesn’t say he does, but he really does.) The other three (Saud, Thani, and Erdogan) are Sunni supporters of jihadist organizations, such as ISIS and Muslim Brotherhood, who are fighting to remove and replace Assad. That reader at reddit was so naive as to call those piranhas «the healing process in Syria», who «are speaking for the Syrian people.» Not according to the polls, they aren’t.
The next reader-comment was, «You know the divide in Syria is almost entirely on ethnic lines between the sunnis and minorities?» That too is false. Table 3 in the most recent poll, July 2015, that was mentioned and linked-to in my «Polls Show Syrians Overwhelmingly Blame U.S. for ISIS», asked respondents’ approval/disapproval rating of each one of the three main groups fighting to remove Assad, including «Free Syrian Army» (the group that Obama says the U.S. wants to take over Syria); and each one of the three groups was overwhelmingly disapproved. Obama’s Free Syrian Army was rejected by 63%, approved by 35%. Al Nusra (Al Qaeda in Syria) was rejected by 63%, approved by 35% — exactly the same percentages as FSA. ISIS (Islamic State) was rejected by 76% and approved by 21%. Each one of those three organizations is Sunni; none is Shiite, which Assad nominally is. Most Syrians, even Sunni ones, are terrified of jihadists (all of whom are Sunnis; jihad simply isn’t a feature of Shiite Islam). Syria's women don’t want to be executed if they get raped. Syria’s men don’t want to be forced to attend mosque. Syria is the most secular, the least sectarian, nation in the Middle East. Most Syrians want it to remain so. Obama, Saud, Thani, and Erdogan don’t. They want it to become a Sunni Islamic state. That’s not their lying rhetoric; it’s their reality.
That most-recent poll, taken by ORB International, which is the British member of WIN/Gallup International, didn’t ask respondents whether they’re Sunni (the majority of Syrians) or Shiite (the minority). However, such high disapproval-rates for each one of those Sunni fighting forces that are trying to topple the Assad government indicate strongly one thing: many Syrian Sunnis support Assad despite his being nominally Shiite. His support isn’t merely Shiite. (But, of course, Ban ki-Moon’s point stands regardless: whomever the Syrian people want to be their leader should be their leader.)
Another major reason why Americans think that Assad is a terrible person is that they’ve been deceived to think that Assad — and not the leaders of U.S., Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey — was behind the August 2013 sarin gas attack that Obama arranged to be the reason for him to bomb Assad’s forces. (Such a thing is called a «false-flag attack» in the intelligence communities. Another of Obama’s false flags was his February 2014 coup in Ukraine, pretended to be a ‘democratic revolution.’)
The American people believe in fakes. So do the peoples of many countries. Unfortunately, America’s fakes run the most powerful nation on Earth. Perhaps that’s the reason why (as I reported earlier) «A Gallup International poll of 65 countries, issued on 30 December 2013, found that:
‘The US was the overwhelming choice (24% of respondents) for the country that represents the greatest threat to peace in the world today. This was followed by Pakistan (8%), China (6%), North Korea, Israel and Iran (5%). Respondents in Russia (54%), China (49%) and Bosnia (49%) were the most fearful of the US as a threat.’»
After all, the U.S. is no longer a democracy. A deceived public is what’s to be expected in a dictatorship. George Orwell wrote all about it in his prophetic novel1984, but today’s America is a more sophisticated version of that.
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.