Sky’s Strange Moral Confusion

Dominic Waghorn

It’s difficult to know what to make of Dominic Waghorn, Sky News’ Middle East correspondent. On one hand he clearly recognizes the cynicism of Arab regimes that have little regard for the wellbeing of their own citizens.

We’ve commended him when he has acknowledged the double standards that mark the reporting on Israel compared to its neighbors or when an Arab regime, in this case Syria, purposely creates a media event by deliberately provoking Israel.

In his latest blog post, however, Waghorn writes:

If the numbers are accurate, Bashar al Assad’s regime is on the verge of killing more Arabs in the last three months than Israel did in the Gaza War.

Activists say around 1400 Syrians have been killed in the regime’s crackdown on protests.  We cannot know for sure and not all of them are thought to be protestors.  Soldiers and police are among the dead.

But it’s a significant number not least because the same number of Gazans were killed by Israel during Operation Cast Lead according to Palestinians, though that death toll is still the subject of intense debate.

Waghorn seems to have an unhealthy penchant for making direct comparisons between Arab armies and the IDF that indicates a strange moral confusion. The casualty figure Waghorn cites is where any similarity between the actions of the IDF and the Syrian army ends.

Any civilian casualties that occurred during Operation Cast Lead were certainly not a result of a deliberate Israeli policy. Indeed, the IDF made enormous efforts to avoid civilian deaths.

The Syrian army on the other hand is carrying out a systematic campaign against Syrian civilians in a deliberately brutal fashion.

In addition, the IDF was engaged in fighting armed Hamas terrorists embedded amongst the civilian infrastructure. As of this moment the Syrian army is not fighting an armed external enemy but its own unarmed and terrified civilian population, many of whom are fleeing for the Turkish border.

Does Dominic Waghorn really believe that there is any moral equivalence between Israel and Syria or is it all simply a numbers game?