Update 1, August 10:
I stumbled upon a comment I made on another blog back on September 1st, 2012, which included Humphrys’ interview with Hague, probably at the end of August. I see I was wrong about Humphrys being upset about actual attacks by Israel on Iran; his complaint was that Israel was thinking about attacking Iran:
Humphrys ranted at William Hague like a juvenile delinquent denied his father’s car keys over Hague’s inability to commit the UK to an attack on Syria’s Assad along with his inability to denounce Israel for considering an attack on Iran.
It’s hard to believe that 7 years have since elapsed.
… but a coiled spring stretched to breaking point and then unleashed.
The Syrian ‘Arab Spring’ began in January 2011. So it must have been sometime between then and July 2014 that John Humphrys interviewed William Hague, Foreign Secretary at the time, on the springy question. I listened to that interview on the World Service. Humphrys was getting really hot under the collar. He was trying to push Hague to commit to Britain going in to topple Bashar al-Assad. (That would be quite a long way down since Assad is such a beanpole.)
Hague was being distinctly uncooperative, though quite polite about it. In the very same interview, Humphrys pushed Hague to condemn Israel for its attacks against Iran. I forget which ones, but I recall that Hague was having none of that either. I was amazed that Humphrys could insist on an attack by one country on another and then almost in the same breath condemn it because different countries were being discussed. In hindsight, it wasn’t that surprising since the BBC will always side with Israel’s enemies.
But Assad himself is a bitter and implacable enemy of Israel, so why would the BBC be so keen on his downfall? Here are some possible reasons:
*The BBC saw the Arab Spring through its romantic, rose-tinted lens: it emerged like a gently unfolding bud in danger of being crushed by the boot of the state. The budding revolutionaries were engaged in a noble, just struggle against overwhelming odds and it was to Britain’s eternal shame that it would not assist them.
*BBC hacks were looking forward to strutting around in Arab-Spring T-shirts. Ideally the design would be an Arafat lookalike with the typical chequered dishcloth around his head and clutching a rifle with ‘Arab Spring’ prominent in Arabic so the hacks could say, “Look, I speak the language!” This would not work as the revolution was turning into a chaotic, violence-ridden failure with various factions slaughtering one another with extraordinary brutality, with the state at the top of the heap.
*The Syrian Spring was probably started by the Muslim Brotherhood. There is a long history of strife between them and the Assad clan. They slaughtered scores of army recruits and tried to assassinate Bashar’s father, Hafez. He responded by ordering the army to surround the town of Hama, where they were based, and kill everyone in the town. The BBC is very fond of the Muslim Brotherhood, supported them against Mubarak and has nothing but love and admiration for Hamas, an offshoot of the Brotherhood.
This impartial, most-trusted broadcaster will always filter its ‘news’ and ‘interviews’ through its prejudices.