In Syria and Iraq, two large Sunni Arab urban centers –East Aleppo in Syria and Mosul in Iraq– are being besieged by pro-government forces strongly supported by foreign airpower.
In East Aleppo, some 250,000 civilians and 8,000 insurgents are under attack by the Syrian Army and supported by the Russian and Syrian air forces. The bombing of East Aleppo has rightly caused worldwide revulsion and condemnation.
But look at how differently the international media is treating a similar situation in Mosul, where one million people and an estimated 5,000 Isis fighters are being encircled by the Iraqi army with massive support from a US-led air campaign. In the case of Mosul, unlike Aleppo, the defenders are to blame for endangering civilians by using them as human shields and preventing them leaving. In East Aleppo, there are no human shields –though the UN says that half the civilian population wants to depart– but simply innocent victims of Russian savagery.
Destruction in Aleppo by Russian air strikes is compared to the destruction of Grozny in Chechnya sixteen years ago, but, curiously, no analogy is made with Ramadi, a city of 350,000 on the Euphrates in Iraq, that was 80 per cent destroyed by US-led air strikes in 2015.
The extreme bias shown in foreign media coverage of similar events in Iraq and Syria will be a rewarding subject for PhD students looking at the uses and abuses of propaganda down the ages.
[Patrick Cockburn, CounterPunch]