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Sham narrative
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi (R) holds a joint press conference with his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem in Tehran on July 29, 2012. Muallem arrived in Tehran for unscheduled talks with Iranian officials, state media reported, as Syrian troops battle rebels in Syria's second city of Aleppo in an offensive that world powers fear could result in heavy civilian casualties and spark a humanitarian disaster. AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi (R) holds a joint press conference with his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem in Tehran on July 29, 2012. Muallem arrived in Tehran for unscheduled talks with Iranian officials, state media reported, as Syrian troops battle rebels in Syria's second city of Aleppo in an offensive that world powers fear could result in heavy civilian casualties and spark a humanitarian disaster. AFP PHOTO/ATTA KENARE
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Throughout the country’s conflict, at no point have Syrian officials given up the narrative, despite all blatant evidence to the contrary, that the uprising in the country is a foreign conspiracy.

In the latest incident, Syria’s Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem stood alongside Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi and blamed the U.S. and Israel for the protests and deaths.

This narrative is a blatant insult to the hundreds of thousands who have protested, fought and died in their struggle for freedom in every city and town across the country.

Most of those people do not know of life outside of their villages. The only contact they have beyond that is with a regime that shows them nothing but disdain for their lives and their desires.

The opposition has given no indication that it intends to treat Israel as anything but an enemy. Meanwhile, the regime that accuses Syrian citizens of being Israeli agents is the same regime that has maintained relative peace on its borders with Israel for 40 years, and has courted the West.

This fact makes the government’s tactic even more of an insult to the ordinary men and women who are risking their lives in order to secure freedom for themselves and for their children.

But that is not to say that the regime is succeeding in fooling anyone. The history of Syria’s relations with Israel are plain to see, as is the regime’s role in violently crushing this uprising.

These blatant lies are the tactics of a bygone era. This is the new millennium.

It is a time of global interconnectedness, when people can challenge and be challenged at the touch of a button, and where the truth is not something that can be controlled from above. The tools of half a century ago will not work.

The whole world, including the regime’s allies – though some may say so only in private – knows that this regime is finished.

It has killed its people, destroyed its country and left a legacy from which it will take decades to recover. It may be an outcome Israel does not mourn, but the truth, plain for all to see, is that the Syrian regime has done this to its own people.

No matter how these leaders try to sugarcoat this catastrophe, it is not going away. What they are attempting to do is to calm their foreign allies, in the face of the truth.

Despite what the regime says, the momentum of the opposition to the government is plain to see. Consider that months ago they declared the conflict would be over “soon,” and compare that to the gains made by the opposition over the past year.

The only thing the regime is achieving by continuing to peddle such lies is to further abuse the people it has oppressed. It is an insult added to the untold injuries it has already inflicted.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 30, 2012, on page 7.
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