While every major news organization in the world was covering the fact that the United Nation’s Human Rights Council, passed a resolution on Friday, initiated by the United States that condemns the murderous crackdown on protesters by the Syrian government, Fox News chose instead to broadcast a “News Alert” midday that focused on a little known document dated March 29th, 2011 called the “Draft country programme document for Syria (2012-2016)” drafted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and of the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF).
As Fox accurately (cringe) points out, the document describes how the UN might be offering Syria nearly $38 million dollars in aid. However, they gave the strong impression that the UN was ready to dole this money out today and that the UN’s member nations will be ineffective in applying any sanctions because any global body similar to the UN is inherently flawed.
Additionally, James Carafano of the Heritage Foundation goes as far as to call the supposed desire of the UN to dish out $38 million to Syria a war crime. Nevertheless, there are three major reasons why Fox blew this out of proportion:
- This aid is for the years 2012-2016. Syria already receives aid from the UN as stipulated by their first “Draft country programme document for the Syrian Arab Republic (2007-2011)” drafted in April of 2006. This would be the continuation of that program and although the UNDP is meeting to discuss it in June, the new draft would not take effect until 2012.
- European Union member countriesmet on Friday to discuss the real possibility of sanctions against Syria. And although they were held back by Cypress in issuing an asset freeze or travel ban on top officials, according to the Wall Street Journal, “the diplomats said they expected work to start Monday on the logistics of an arms embargo and on how to apply an asset freeze and travel ban.One diplomat told Newswires he would be surprised if restrictive measures were not in place by May 23, the next time they are scheduled to meet. He said there was similar caution when the Libya sanctions were being discussed, but it was quickly dealt with.”Additionally according to Radio Free Europe:
… negotiations on an EU-Syria association agreement could be frozen, and existing cooperation would be put under “review,” which means EU aid to the country — totaling some $64 million a year — could be suspended.
These sanctions would be significant considering that the EU is Syria’s main trade partner accounting for some 23 percent of Syria’s trade and representing 5.4 billion euros (over $8 billion) in 2009.
- President Obama, on Friday, signed an executive order which imposes sanctions against three top Syrian officials (Mahir Assad, brother of Syria’s President Bashar Assad; Atif Najib, a cousin of the president, and Ali Mamluk, director of Syria’s General Intelligence Directorate, the civilian intelligence service), Syria’s General Intelligence Directorate, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, which is already subject to U.S. sanctions.Why Iran’s Revolutionary Guard? The White House believes that Tehran is providing material support to Assad’s regime through the Revolutionary Guard and therefore assisting them with Syria’s brutal crackdown on protesters.These new measures instituted by the Obama Administration supplement sanctions imposed on Syria under former President George W. Bush for Syria’s alleged ties to terrorism.
What was Fox News Carafano’s take on the Obama Administration’s handling of Syria? “This administration came in with a fantasy that they could seduce Syria away from Iran and, you know, again they were trying to treat a thug and a dictator like a normal human being and this is what you get when you try to do that.”
Guess that news flash about the sanctions just whizzed right by them.
The depraved attacks on protesters in Syria are beyond contempt. Syria’s regime has killed more than 500 people during the protests. Nevertheless, it appears that with or without the UN, Syria just might be facing some tough sanctions from the US and the EU.
So why did Fox News focus on some obscure document from the UNDP that actually came out in March and not even mention any of the most recent activity by the US, the UN and the EU? Because it’s Fox News. ‘Nuff, said.
- Diplomats seek ways to stop Syria crackdown (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- President Obama Orders More Sanctions Against Syrian Leaders (blogs.abcnews.com)
- Syrian protesters defy Assad government; over 50 killed (syrianetf.wordpress.com)