Syrian authorities have arrested an Egyptian-American man and accused him of selling photos and videos of events in Syria and visiting Israel “in secret”. (my emphasis, Evan Hill @ AJE)It's not explained why a photographer or journalist "secretly visiting Israel" should cause alarm to Syrians, but his father has an idea why he was targeted:
“He looks very Egyptian, he has very green eyes, and so a lot of ignorant people will see him and think, ‘This is a typical Israeli,’” he said. “He fits perfectly with a plot about foreign agents.” (Evan Hill @ AJE)Its not like racism is some new phenomenon in the Middle East (nor is exploitation and false accusations of racism). What is interesting here is that the Syrian government is trying to use old conflicts and fears to turn marginal parts of their population against the protesters. We saw precisely the same dynamic in Egypt and Libya. They seem to forget just how important extant power structures are to this dynamic, however.