I’m on the record as not being a fan of Julian Assange or WikiLeaks. However, we are learning some useful things from his disclosures. For instance, a State Department cable from August 2006 reveals the duplicitous role that the Syrian government played during the infamous Danish cartoon riots of that year. Remember them? Worldwide riots erupted on the famed Islamic street, which by the evidence includes much of Europe now, in response to a Danish newspaper publishing cartoons depicting Mohammad in various unflattering ways. Here’s a movie that I produced at the time to show how the riots started, who started them, and why.
The cartoon riots were a trick, perpetrated by unscrupulous imams and their backers, for the purpose of intimidating the West into adapting Islamist codes of speech policing, and for the purpose of generating fear and loathing of the West up and down that fabled Islamic street. It all worked quite well, thanks in no small part to the Western media’s cowardly behavior throughout.
Now, to the incriminating doc concerning Syria. At the time of the riots, it was fairly obvious that various and sundry despots around the Middle East were using the Danish cartoon controversy for their own ends. Syria’s hands were bloody, as they tend to be in any crisis. In this WikiLeaked doc, “SARG” refers to the Syrian government:
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx one of the most influential Sunni religious figures in Damascus, provided PolChief February 6 with his assessment of SARG involvement in the run-up to the violent February 4 demonstrations (and its reaction in their aftermath). He noted that PM Naji al-Otri several days before the demonstrations instructed the Grand Mufti Sheikh Hassoun to issue a strongly worded directive to the imams delivering Friday sermons in the mosques of Damascus, without setting any ceilings on the type of language to be used. Hasson complied with the order.
“No ceiling” on the rhetoric is as it sounds — the prime minister of Syria, Muhammad Naji al-Otari of the ruling Ba’ath Party, unleashed the top mufti to jump ugly on the cartoons, and the mufti did his part. With joy, no doubt. And riots, predictably, ensued, with a little help from the mufti’s friend:
(C) xxxxxxx noted that one of the key organizers of the march was Ammar Sahloul, a wealthy businessman (money trader) with close ties both to the regime and to the Grand Mufti. xxxxxxxx suspects him of being an agent for the SARG. He said that Sahloul had been one of the people involved in sending out text messages a few days before the demonstrations, inviting people to come.
How very Soros — it was an astroturf riot bought and paid for by a rich, connected man who is close to power.