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Who covers Assad?

Despite the ongoing Syrian crackdown, Western media are stuck with low the figure of 2,600 dead, which flies in the face of Assad’s military endeavors against the opposition, which greatly intensified in September after it became clear that Turkish threats of invasion were hollow. In particular, Assad’s forces went after army deserters, often gunning down their entire families. Judging by the fact that the draft fell almost to zero, the number of deserters runs in the tens of thousands.

Russia and Iran would love to hide the facts about Assad’s barbarity, but they have no control over Western media. The White House is the only party who influences their reporting, and Obama has a strong interest in playing nice with Assad: Washington depends on Damascus for a channel to Tehran and also to prevent terrorist infiltration into Iraq. For months, Obama hesitated to slap meaningful sanctions on Assad and to demand—as he demanded of Mubarak—that he leave the presidential palace.

As for the Syrian casualties, they are of lesser concern to Obama, and indeed pale in comparison with, for example, the 30,000 dead in the civil war the US started in Mexico as a cheaper alternative to properly guarding its borders against narco traffic.

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