Who is ANNA?
January 19, 2014 3:10 PM   Subscribe

Warning: Graphic footage. Little is known about the origins of the Abkhazian Network News Agency, ANNA. What we do know is that the agency, nominally from the breakaway Georgian republic Abkhazia, has been covering the brutal Syrian Civil War while embedded with the SAA on its Youtube channel (be sure to enable English captions). Defiant and unapologetic about its pro-government position, the videos nevertheless provide a unique perspective on what is perhaps the most well-documented war in history. Brief sample: GoPros mounted on tanks, civilian traffic driving by tanks, near misses, and close quarters combat. Sometimes the other side is taking a video too. [via /r/CombatFootage and /r/syriancivilwar]

More combat footage from the opposition can be found on both sub-reddits.

Disclaimer: I don't mean to glorify war or take sides, even if my post might be doing it anyways. It's something that's out there and I hope is of at least some value to most audiences.
posted by mikepaco (19 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
I watched a bunch of the GoPro tank videos on a GoPro subreddit. I swear it took me a few minutes to figure out if it was real or a video game. It really is pretty surreal.
posted by nevercalm at 3:48 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


Little is known about the origins of the Abkhazian Network News Agency, ANNA.

Gosh, I wonder who could be behind a "news agency" named after a Russian-occupied part of Georgia and embedded with the Syrian army. Hmmm.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:54 PM on January 19 [16 favorites]


To balance things out, apparently Saudi Arabia is financing Chechen separatists.

I am frankly astonished at the fact that there's this whole "Great Game" dynamic playing itself out in the Middle East (with Saudi Arabia playing the part of Great Britain and Russia playing the part of Russia, naturally) but the USA is pissing about chasing goatherds with $100,000 missiles.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:06 PM on January 19 [5 favorites]


It's something that's out there and I hope is of at least some value to most audiences.

This made me think of the New Yorker's profile (short snippet from the Nov. 25, 2013 issue) of Eliot Higgins, who has been using YT footage to identify munitions being used in the war in Syria.
posted by MonkeyToes at 4:09 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


I don't the origins are all that murky, but their funding sources seem to be--I've gotten permission to use their footage in documentaries. (One's at Sundance as I type.) Moscow Times story on Marat Musin, allegedly the founder.
posted by Ideefixe at 4:14 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Man, the bombed out suburb from the tank video... :(
posted by KokuRyu at 4:14 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Technology truly cuts both ways. A go pro. On a tank.
posted by Annika Cicada at 7:37 PM on January 19


That is some really atrocious war porn.
posted by buzzman at 8:15 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


I'd like to think that greater availability of unfiltered war footage, of what it does to human beings, could bring an end to the glorification of wars -- if not the wars themselves.
posted by NiceKitty at 8:52 PM on January 19 [2 favorites]


I can't help but wonder how long it takes a country/region to recover from a war like this in this geopolitical climate.
posted by mikepaco at 9:07 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


Why do you think a recovery is given?
posted by converge at 10:16 PM on January 19


Excellent post, by the way.
posted by converge at 10:17 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]


I guess the alternative is too depressing.
posted by mikepaco at 10:58 PM on January 19


> I'd like to think that greater availability of unfiltered war footage, of what it does to human beings, could bring an end to the glorification of wars -- if not the wars themselves.

Sorry, no. You're looking at the new glorification of war, and potential soldiers doing some of the dehumanizing work themselves.
posted by tiaz at 12:21 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


KokuRyu: "Man, the bombed out suburb from the tank video... :("
I'm wondering who the hell is driving along that highway in civilian cars while a couple of tanks are duking it out with RPG-armed rebels right next to it.
posted by brokkr at 3:10 AM on January 20 [1 favorite]


> I'm wondering who the hell is driving along that highway in civilian cars while a couple of tanks are duking it out with RPG-armed rebels right next to it.

People tend to assume that life stops when there's a war. Yeah, no. Life goes on. You have to go to work, you have to go to school, you have to buy groceries. Sure it gets infinitely more difficult to do that, but you can't just hole yourself up until it's all over.

Hoping not to wander into the middle of a battle becomes the new normal. It's not like some war documentary where armies line up in a field and duke it out till one side wins, then it's all over.
posted by xqwzts at 3:53 AM on January 20 [3 favorites]


Here's a fairly up-to-date (but not comprehensive) look at where things stand in the peace process. The photo that accompanies the article is one of the most striking I've seen in quite a while.

Anyway, the prognosis for peace: it's complicated. Even without the UN's invitation of Iran, from what I gather opposition groups in Syria itself are not planning to attend and will be represented by overseas opposition groups (who may have little leverage over their comrades in-country).
posted by KokuRyu at 4:55 AM on January 20


Here's a fairly up-to-date (but not comprehensive) look at where things stand in the peace process.

The "peace process" of that article is actually intended to be a declaration of victory for the insurgents.
posted by fredludd at 10:27 AM on January 20


Thanks. I added some of this to my meta Syria civil war combat videos (self-link).
posted by stbalbach at 12:29 PM on January 20


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