July 25, 2020



A BBC-Watch site accuses a BBC journalist of cribbing from one of my articles:

Yesterday I praised Paul Danahar for his realistic and reasoned analysis of the situation in Syria and compared it favourably against the efforts of Mark Mardell whose reports seem coloured by his admiration for Obama.

But I was looking at this which was published on the 3rd of May on ‘Jonathan Spyer’ (A well known blog that analyses the Middle East):

Is Assad Winning?

What is striking about it is just how similar it is to Danahar’s report…or rather how similar Danahar’s is to this one….as Danahar’s came out on the 9th. The similarity is even more striking when you compare Danahar’s radio report which is almost word for word, or idea for idea, the same….Danahar on 5Live Drive (18:36)

Facts on the ground of course are the same for everyone but how they interpret them is something else…especially for BBC journo’s who often have their own view of the world….could Danahar really have come up with this himself..or has he taken a ‘shortcut’ and borrowed a few thoughts on the Syrian situation?

Talk of ‘vacuums’ being filled, fragmented forces and command and control, Assad supported by Iran and Russia knowing he will survive because the West still refuses to take action and the picking off of a divided enemy one by one….and of course that possibly very telling concept, the ‘big idea’ of the piece…that if Assad hasn’t lost he has won:

Spyer: ‘So Assad isn’t winning, despite the new bullishness of his supporters. But right now, he isn’t losing either.’

Danahar: ‘Now, by hanging on this long, the regime in Damascus increasingly thinks that by not losing it is winning.’

Could just be coincidence…as I said, the facts are the same for everyone….but its a very close fit.

Posted first at Jonathan Spyer’s blog 

About Jonathan Spyer

Dr. Jonathan Spyer is a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs Center in Herzliya, Israel, and a fellow at the Middle East Forum. He is the author of The Transforming Fire: The Rise of the Israel-Islamist Conflict (Continuum, 2010) and a columnist at the Jerusalem Post newspaper. Spyer holds a PhD in International Relations from the London School of Economics and a Masters' Degree in Middle East Politics from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. His blog can be followed at: http://jonathanspyer.com/.