Personal and academic blog. Explores the borderlands between rhetoric, politics and intelligence.


The Syrian connection

Another day of embassy-burnings - this time in Beirut.

I just wonder how this incident is connected to the one in Damascus yesterday. I am no great expert on Lebanese-Syrian connections, but it seems strange to me that there would be a demonstration of several thousand people and it not having anything to do with the internal problems of the two countries.

I have written on the Syrian intelligence services and I am now trying to figure out how this could fit in with the picture. There is an interesting thing to note here, namely that it seems that the police has been far more active stopping the Beirut riots, hinting a division between "the streets" and government - a division that seemed absent in the pictures from Damascus, where policemen in green cover-alls watched the spectacle up close. I wonder if the Syrian Mukhabarat is able to conjure up a crowd like that.

Furthermore it really puts my thinking on propaganda into perspective. I am of the conviction that propaganda is a social phenomenon, not a communication-one as such. But these last days have been a powerful demonstration of how demagogues are able to rally a mass and give it a direction.


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