Wikileaks is back with 2 million new emails, coming from various prominent public and private sector Syrian figures dating back over the last six years.
The country has been in such a state of nigh-on perpetual conflict that recently, a UN peacekeeping chief has affirmed that they consider it to be a country in civil war. President al-Assad is desperately trying to keep his grip on the population through a mixture of brute force and media control. As in many of the other revolutions in the so-called “Arab Spring” of the last two years, the internet has played an important part in helping to organize the protestors and spread information about what the Syrian government is really doing.
For example, The Syrian Revolution 2011 Facebook page currently has over 525 thousand followers and is a rapidly updating archive of the various war crimes committed by the Syrian government against its people. Without this, much of the information about what’s happening in the country wouldn’t be available to the Syrian people.
This recent release of information by Wikileaks should give more of an insight into the workings of the Syrian government and its allies, which is believed to include a number of Western companies. For the people on the ground in Syria, provision of much needed immediate relief is unlikely; but it’s a step in the right direction as it helps to uncover both the way the Syrian government works and how they work with those who are meant to be opposed to their practices.
As Wikileaks founder Julian Assange put it, "The material is embarrassing to Syria, but it is also embarrassing to Syria’s opponents. It helps us not merely to criticise one group or another, but to understand their interests, actions and thoughts. It is only through understanding this conflict that we can hope to resolve it." Assange is currently in the UK awaiting trial in Sweden on allegations of committing sexual offences against 2 women. He claims that these allegations have been only made due to political pressure resulting from his work with Wikileaks.
Whether this is true or not is a matter for the courts, but it has to be acknowledged that the effect the information Wikileaks has released in the past has been severely damaging to the governments it relates to, and I personally hope that will be the case here.