20 March 2012

Syrian TV Says Soccer Team is Acting Out Smuggling Routes to Inform Rebels

And not just any soccer team, but Barcelona, one of the best teams on the planet.

Syria’s state-run television channel has made the astonishing claim that the Barcelona soccer team is assisting a group of rebel fighters by delivering coded messages via its tactical formations.

The Middle Eastern country continues to be stricken with internal strife, as forces backing President Bashar al-Assad combat several rebel groups hoping to overthrow the government. Yet the long struggle seems to have caused widespread paranoia, even on the officially sanctioned news networks.

Al-Dunya TV aired a bizarre feature Sunday outlining how Barcelona transmitted details of effective smuggling routes that could be used to distribute arms to dissident fighters. The program repeated charges originally made in December. According to the TV reporter, the Barca side’s positioning on the field allegedly was deliberately set up to recreate a giant map, with players representing smugglers and the ball depicting a cache of arms.

A run from Andres Iniesta is said to portray the first part of the route, while the end of the move, where superstar World Footballer of the Year Lionel Messi passes the ball, indicates the successful handover of the shipment, according to Al-Dunya.

The station used a segment on its nightly news bulletin to launch into a detailed description of how Barca had decided to add covert operations and international espionage to its dazzling array of talents.

Messi, Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Sergio Busquets are supposedly all in on the plot, which would surely have needed the approval – if not the masterminding genius – of coach Pep Guardiola.

It is estimated that more than 9,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed since the start of an uprising against President al-Assad last year, as part of the Arab Spring revolutions in the Middle East.

Even in the unthinkable eventuality that it was receiving assistance from the reigning European club champion, Syria’s biggest rebel group – the Free Syrian Army – is still hopelessly outgunned by the government forces.

The European Union imposed an arms embargo on Syria last year, but the widely acclaimed Stockholm International Peace Research Institute revealed foreign arms supplies to the country had increased fivefold in the past five years, with the majority of them provided by Russia.

By: Brant

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