Blog archive: Syria

  • 19th February 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    What on earth is going on at Newsweek? An article posted on its website earlier this month wrongly claimed that James Mattis, the US defense secretary, had said there is no evidence of the Assad regime using the nerve agent sarin against its people. The claim attributed to Mattis was...
  • 9th February 2018
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    At a news conference last week US defence secretary James Mattis was asked about reports of recent chemical attacks in Syria using chlorine. "Is this something you're seeing that's been weaponised?" a reporter asked. "It has," Mattis replied, adding that the deadly...
  • 25th September 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    American journalist Seymour Hersh – author of several error-strewn articles about chemical attacks in Syria – has accepted a controversial award for "truth-telling" even though the previously-announced presentation ceremony was cancelled. Hersh received the award at a "festive dinner" on...
  • 21st September 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A ceremony where American journalist Seymour Hersh was due to be presented with an award for an error-strewn article about a chemical attack in Syria has been cancelled. [See update here] Three weeks ago Hersh was named as this year's winner of the Sam Adams Award "for integrity and...
  • 7th September 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Seymour Hersh, the American journalist who wrote an error-strewn article about the chemical attack on Khan Sheikhoun in Syria, is this year's winner of an annual prize for truth-telling. He is due to be presented with the Sam Adams Award for Integrity on September 22 during a...
  • 6th September 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    In 2012, as armed conflict raged in Syria, the Assad regime gave assurances it would never use chemical weapons against its own people, "no matter what the internal developments in this crisis are". Speaking at a news conference, foreign ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi insisted the country...
  • 5th September 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    A public relations firm which became notorious for assisting dodgy regimes – including several in the Middle East – has finally got its comeuppance. London-based Bell Pottinger has been expelled from the PRCA (the trade body for "respectable" PR firms) for bringing the industry into...
  • 31st August 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Writing about conflicts in the Middle East for the New York Times yesterday, columnist Thomas Friedman talked of "the power that is lost to a society like Syria or Iraq that needs an iron fist to make its many into one, and when that fist is removed, how the society fractures into small shards"....
  • 28th August 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    Russia has "just finished dismantling Syria's chemical arsenal" according to a headline on the "alternative" website Voltaire Network. The story says Russian forces have destroyed two chemical weapons sites belonging to the Syrian army which "had been occupied by jihadists".  A...
  • 17th August 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    At a news conference in Damascus yesterday, Syria's deputy foreign minister accused the US and Britain of supplying rebel fighters with chemical weapons. The claim has excited Russian media – especially Sputnik News which has published multiple stories on the topic. Sputnik wonders if...
  • 17th July 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    The banned nerve agent sarin has been used repeatedly in the Syrian conflict, as laboratory tests have confirmed. There are disputes, though, about who has been using it. Syrian rebels, along with western governments, blame the Assad regime while the regime, supported by Russia and Iran, blames the...
  • 7th July 2017
    By
    Brian Whitaker
    It is now beyond dispute that banned chemicals have been used in the Syrian conflict. Aside from a few conspiracy theorists, all sides – including the Russian and Syrian governments – accept this as fact, though they disagree about who is responsible. We have reached this point because of...

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