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Is Fars News falsifying news to boost Iranian morales?

According to a commentary piece published by Fars News today,[1] quoting “international analysts”, Syrian president Bashar al-Assad will remain in power for the time being. However, the piece is based entirely on one article in Arabic by someone called Lamis Farhat, published by a Lebanese website called Panorama Al-Sharq Al-Awsat.[2] The claims in the article are based on a quote from one unnamed “American diplomat”, as well as some alleged American intelligence reports and officials quoted in the Wall Street Journal. These are not exactly “international analysts”, as Fars News misleadingly says in the title.

The main argument in the original article, and therefore the Fars News report, is that “there is no clear chance of Assad’s overturn… This possibility seems hard to materialize in light of the lack of a unified and organised opposition, even if the US invested huge amounts of money in trying to organize it.”

Fars News adds that “consecutive victories” by the Syrian military in the past few months, and “America’s fear” of its aid falling into the hands of extremists, in addition to “uncertainty” about changes in the power balance in Syria, have changed the US administration’s position on the war in Syria.

The original article quotes the American diplomat saying: “So far it seems that Bashar al-Assad , [Hezbollah Lebanon’s leader Hasan] Nasrallah and [Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem] Suleimani have won this war.” The Fars News piece replaces the word “Suleimani” with “Syrian supporters”!!

Putting aside this shameful falsification of ‘news’, the US administration’s position regarding Bashar al-Assad seems, in fact, to be exactly the opposite. A Lebanese magazine recently published [3] a detailed account of a recent closed meeting between the Syrian opposition and the former US ambassador to Damascus, Robert Stephen Ford, who is considered to be the main person in the US administration dealing with the Syria file. Ford reportedly conveyed to the Syrian opposition the US’s “four no’s”, which are: No US military intervention; No UN Security Council resolution; No advanced weapons to the opposition; and No to al-Assad remaining in power, neither during any transition period nor later.


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