BBC News framing of Iranian activity in Syria continues

As documented here at the time, earlier this month the BBC chose to ignore the release of information concerning Hizballah operations in the Syrian Golan Heights.

BBC ignores revelation of Hizballah’s Golan network

Not only have BBC audiences been given very little factual information about the efforts of Iran and its proxies to establish a foothold in south-west Syria in recent years but the BBC has on repeated occasions even steered them towards the view that Iran’s military build-up in Syria is primarily a claim touted by Israel.

That framing was again promoted by the BBC’s US State Department correspondent Barabara Plett Usher in several recent reports concerning US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights.

In an article titled “Trump: Time to recognise Golan Heights as Israeli territory” that appeared on the BBC News website on March 21st, readers saw superfluous scare quotes attached to the phrase military entrenchment.

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – who has warned about the “military entrenchment” of his country’s arch-enemy Iran in Syria and has ordered air strikes in an attempt to thwart it…”

Subsequent analysis from Plett Usher suggested to readers that the subject of the Iranian build-up of force in Syria is not only open to debate but a tactic used by Israel to advance its interests. [emphasis in bold added]

“Israel has gained traction in the White House and parts of Congress by arguing that Iran is using Syria as a base from which to target Israel, with the Golan Heights as the front line.”

The same ‘analysis’ from Plett Usher appeared in a report published on March 22nd under the title “Golan Heights: Syria condemns Donald Trump’s remarks”.

“Israel has gained traction in the White House and parts of Congress by arguing that Iran is using Syria as a base from which to target Israel, with the Golan Heights as the front line.”

In an article titled “Trumplomacy on Golan Heights: What it all means” which first appeared on March 22nd and was then posted in the ‘features’ section of the BBC News website’s ‘Middle East’ page on March 25th as well as promoted in a report titled “Golan Heights: Trump signs order recognising occupied area as Israeli” published on the same day, Plett Usher wrote:

 “…Mr Trump said he made the decision for strategic and security reasons, by which he means Iran.

His administration is convinced Iran is using Syria as a base to target Israel, and the Golan Heights are the front line.”

In the March 22nd edition of BBC Radio 4’s ‘Midnight News’ (from 12:17 here) listeners heard Plett Usher claim that:

“Mr Netanyahu had stepped up lobbying for such a move since Mr Trump took office. He’s gained traction by arguing that Iran is using Syria as a base from which to target Israel and the Golan Heights is the front line.”

The week before she produced those reports Barbara Plett Usher had been at a press briefing given by the US Secretary of State and had asked a question concerning the Golan Heights.

“MR PALLADINO: Let’s go to BBC, Barbara.

QUESTION: […] And then secondly, if I could on Golan, the human rights ambassador said on Wednesday that removing the word “occupation” or “occupied” from the Golan and the West Bank was not a policy change, but we know that Israel is afraid of Iran and Hizballah threatening Israel from the Syrian side of the Golan, so in your view, does that strengthen the Israeli case for annexing the occupied bit?

SECRETARY POMPEO: So I don’t have anything to add about the change in language that we used. It was characterized properly. There is a real risk. The proxies that are in the region, in southern Syria and in the vicinity of the Golan Heights, are presenting risk to the Israelis, and we’ve made clear the Israelis have a right to defend themselves.”

Not only did Plett Usher herself sound significantly less sceptical about “Iran and Hizballah threatening Israel from the Syrian side of the Golan” in that question but she got a very clear answer from the US Secretary of State.

Nevertheless, in her reports to BBC audiences Plett Usher’s framing includes promotion of the notion that there is room for doubt with regard to the actions and intentions of Iran and its proxies in Syria.

Related Articles:

Iranian military activity in southern Syria under-reported by BBC

BBC inconsistency on Iran’s Syria build-up continues

What do BBC audiences know about the background to tensions in northern Israel?

BBC News cuts out the infiltration part of Syrian drone infiltration incident

BBC Radio 4 manages to report on Iran without the usual distractions


24 comments on “BBC News framing of Iranian activity in Syria continues

  1. Neither Iran nor Hizballah can threaten Israel.
    Neither have the military capability for a start It is an entirely absurd proposition
    Indeed no country can. Israel has over 200 nukes!!
    Whilst the Golan Heights were militarily important in years gone by in these days of satellites it is much less so.

    • There is a population that lives in the Golan Heights that is well within katyusha range. Furthermore, Syria used the Golan’s elevation advantage to attack the Galilee and its population in 1967. Not that it matters, right?

  2. BBC so-called “journalists” (I describe them as “paid Arabists”) are programmed to analyse every item of news, every politician’s word, to find a way to twist facts so that they denigrate Israel. I do not understand why Israel allows this to continue.

  3. There is nothing absurd about the threat of 200,000 missiles pointed at you, that is unless you are thousands of miles away i.e. out of their range. Nuclear deterrents would hardly be used within an area that is in close proximity to yourself, that would be suicidal so no deterrent at all. Some people are stupid enough to think Israel imagines threats because they listen to the BBC Arabic News and world service broadcasts, but the tunnels dug through solid rock into Israel, were not for drainage purposes and yes there are even videos from the inside of them available on-line. The constructive collusion between Islamist extremists in all ME countries poses a threat to the entire Western world not just Israel, another fact which the BBC conveniently chooses to completely ignore, why? well because they are part of that collusion and it is the reason they support mass immigration of so called refugees into Europe, the proverbial trojan horse. demand a public enquiry into the BBC bias

    • Hizbullah could be neuralised by a simple orthodox bombing of the area they are in contr ol of IF they are a threat.
      It has never happened.
      as I said no country can threaten Israel because of their military might.
      Any person who thinks otherwise is a fool.
      A country takes action when threatened.
      you people should be wary. goebbels went mad because he started to believe his own propaganda. The other similarity the people who believed him were not very intelligent

      • The only fool is yourself, thankfully you are not a strategy adviser for Israel, carpet bombing an area controlled above ground by UNIFIL troops, who are under the thumb of Arab nations, in order to attempt to destroy the Iranian launch and attack complexes and troop build up below ground would be called an act of aggression by every country in the world. Israel is not aggressively destructive but it is vociferous in the defense of it’s own borders so has to be on occasions defensively destructive. Even so according to the idiotic corrupt UN and the world’s media, Israel is too aggressive in defense of it’s border, yet not one person in the whole world can suggest what it is supposed to do, apart from, of course, the antisemites of the world who suggest that Israel should just turn the other cheek and allow itself to be eradicated. Never again……, vote for a public enquiry into the BBC bias

        • When you and the rest understand what the word threat means then comment.Until then do talk on a subject you clearly have no understanding of.

          Just to enlighten you any country can take action when they are threatened.

          • Oh and you are the expert on threats are you, haha “when we understand what threat means”, you the intellectual know all military advisor just confirmed that he is an idiot of the highest order. Since the 70s and the beginning of the Islamist takeover in Iran when the chants of death to Israel and death to America began, Israel and the USA have according to you had a valid reason to attack Iran. Yes any country can take action when threatened, but only a country with common sense and integrity will bide its time and choose it’s moment. On the other hand Arabs have no patience and must be really frustrated having previously failed in their multiple attempts to annihilate Israel and kill Jews. Sucks to be you

          • The fact that Iran funds Islamic Jihad and Hamas to the tune of $100 million per year should give you a clue, the fact that the $100 million is only a tenth of the amount it funds Hezbollah should tell the average person why Iran is a threat to Israel. The fact that Hezbollah are entrenched along the southern border of Lebanon and Syria threatens Israel aiming 200,000short range missiles at Israel. Iran continues to develop ballistic weapons capable of reaching Israel is also a bit of a clue, the fact that Iran ordered last Monday’s rocket attack against the wishes of Hamas is also indicative of the threat Iran is to Israel you are either not the brightest button in the box or just a troll.

          • you had comprehension before ans still do.

            English is obviously your seconf language.
            go away and learn what the word threat means and then come back.

          • So suddenly you are now a language expert as well haha, English is my first language but obviously not yours. If Iranian troops on the border of Israel in both Syria and Lebanon you do not consider as a threat to Israel then I suggest you seek urgent medical help

          • It isn’t. you have always had comprehension problems. It has shown up in spades here.
            Their troops are much poorer and have inferior weapons than the IDF.
            Only an imbecile would consider Iranian troops would invade Israel. They are hardpressed attempting to prop up the Assad regime.

          • In that case explain to me why in Lebanon they dug 5 tunnels through solid rock into Israeli territory,?????? No you cannot, you really are such an idiot, you seem incapable of joining up the dots

          • they do not have the numbers to invade let alone the weapons.

            An army doe not advance through tunnels. Duh

          • No but a snatch squad does, yes that is what terrorist do you dork, terrorists are a threat, what sort of education did you have, or was it pure indoctrination?

          • Not a threat to Israel and it isn’t the Iranian army.
            Deary me it is back to ESL lessons for you

            I will give you a hint.
            an invading army is a threat.

            If you think the Iranian army is capable of invading Israel you are very very silly.

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