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Al Jazeera's Nir Rosen: Assad’s man in Baba Amr?

by Fadi Mqayed

Nir Rosen: Assad’s man in Baba Amr

March 18, 2012

The leaked emails showing the Assad family’s private correspondence continue to trickle down on The Guardian, al-Arabiya, and CNN, with more and more being published every day, giving us a rare insight into the preoccupations, interests and worries of the higher echelons of the Assad regime.While much of mainstream press concentrated more on the voyeuristic angle of the published material, a number of correspondences, which are directly related to the Syrian uprising are more informative and may shed some light on some of the unanswered questions we came across after a year of popular revolt against the Assad regime.A number of these noteworthy correspondences are highlighted in the al-Arabiya article "Security & economic plans of Assad in the leaked email cache" – most interesting are a number of messages sent directly to Assad by his advisor Hadeel al-Ali as well as another by an individual named "Khaled al-Ahmad."

In the first message, sent to Assad on 13/11/2011, we see Hadeel al-Ali introducing renowned international journalist Nir Rosen to Assad, having apparently met him about "a month ago" from the time of writing. She gives Assad a summary of Rosen’s background, highlighting the fact that he’s "mentioning the armed groups" and "trying to represent the Alawites in a good way". Apparently, Rosen has also "got his cover" from "Khaled and his people" and has been itching to meet Assad personally for quite a while.

Indeed, it does seem that Rosen’s writings about Syria carry a strange theme which seems to fit the above description – I remember reading his two-part series on the Alawite community in Syria some 5 months ago and questioning some of the notions put forward by it. From the beginning, Rosen’s articles have always offered a skewed image of the Syrian uprising – he paints an image of an enlightened, educated and liberal Alawite elite fighting against an uneducated, oppressive and ignorant Sunni radicals instead of the prevalent image of a popular uprising, and attempts to portray it as a conflict between equal sides. Also, bearing in mind that Syria is a repressive police state, it raises the question – how was Rosen as a journalist, able to travel freely between "loyalist" and "opposition" villages and communities without raising any suspicion or drawing the ire of the security forces?

This question may be answered by examining another message sent from "Khaled al-Ahmad" to Assad [5], where Nir Rosen reappears in a more interesting and sinister context – in this message, Khaled tells Assad that "Nir Rosen was able to get into Baba Amr" and "he has told me that many western media delegations have entered the area by crossing the Lebanese borders illegally, one of them was a French and a German media delegation."

From this correspondence, it seems evident that Nir Rosen has informed on western journalists in Homs to his Syrian intelligence handler, Khaled al-Ahmad. Then again, perhaps this was his mission from the start? In the end, Nir Rosen wasn’t just a journalist when it came to Syria. He was also Assad’s man in Baba Amr.

Fadi Mqayed is a Syrian activist living in Germany who writes on Twitter as @DSyrer. He wrote this piece for Al-Ayyam.


:: Article nr. 86618 sent on 18-mar-2012 23:15 ECT


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