The imagination of the White Western journo fluctuates between two contradictory fantasies: Hizbullah’s alleged armed fighters who are fighting alongside Assad’s forces and Hizbullah’s desire to abandon Assad. Of course, this isn’t irrational because the White Man is always rational even when his thoughts are the product of mere wish fulfillment This latest Telegraph story entitled “ Hizbollah debates dropping support for the regime of President Bashar al-Assad,” is the latest example of this phenomenon, replete with all the usual Orientalist tropes and banalities that have become de rigeur in mainstream media’s Hizbullah coverage. Examples below:
“Hizbollah’s reclusive leader Hassan Nasrallah, the undisputed head of Lebanon’s Shia Muslims, lives nearby in a heavily guarded apartment complex. Hizbollah’s own police force, in khaki fatigues, patrol the streets, which are noticeably more crowded and scruffier than in the centre of Beirut with its nightclubs and fashionable shops.
Of course no Hizbullah story would be complete without insertion of the “reclusive leader” cliché; as though his security precautions were the result of some neurosis or anti-social personality disorder as opposed to considerations related to his very survival. Also note the classist and racist portrayal of Dahyeh (the Southern Suburbs of Beirut) as being “scruffier” than fashionable Beirut. It seems western journalists have caught on to sectarian and racist stereotypes about the Shi’ites . Indeed, the Shiites of Lebanon apologize profusely to the Telegraph for not being swag enough for its bar-hopping journos who like to unwind with some gin and tonic at the end of a long hard day regurgitating what other western journos have said about Hizbullah while listening to their interpreter’s token Shiite friend rant about Hizbullah’s Syria policy.
Hizbollah - “the party of God” - needed help from neighbouring Syria to become the most powerful force in Lebanese politics, and it could always depend on the ruling family in Damascus during its wars with Israel.
Hizbullah did not need help from Syria to become “the most powerful force in Lebanese politics”. It needed help from Syria to become one of the most powerful military forces in the region to defend itself from Israeli aggression.
Now in Mr Assad’s time of need Lebanon’s Shias have mostly been loyal in return - providing logistical and moral support and even sending fighters into Syria’s civil war to kill his enemies.
Naturally, the Telegraph treats all unfounded stories reported by MSM as being fact. All knowledge is self-referential and acquires the status of truth because western media constitutes consensus reality not only for the western journalist but for the colonized native as well unfortunately. As with other fabricated stories, the myth of Hizbullah’s fighters in Syria has now entered the realm of common knowledge. How do we know Hizbullah’s deployed fighters in Syria? Because everyone says so that’s how. As a side note here, if Hizbullah is so torn up about defecting from Assad, why are they sending fighters to Syria to defend him?
Now, as doubts grow that Mr Assad will survive and Syria’s civil war begins to spread into Lebanon, The Sunday Telegraph has been told of secret arguments raging inside Hizbollah’s ranks about whether the time has come to stop backing Mr Assad.
No need to name the source of this absurd story here, it’s enough to allude to a silent referent, the ever so handy anonymous source. When covering Hizbullah or any anti-imperialist actor, sources and empirical evidence are not required because there is no room or need for professionalism or methodical research when you are dealing with terrorists who defy the US and Israel.
“The resistance”, as Hizbollah is called by its supporters, relied on Syrian and Iranian weapons and training to fight the Israelis.
Hizbullah’s resistance is in fact a proper noun that ought to be capitalized. Not only does Hizbullah and its supporters refer to its armed force as “the Resistance” or “Islamic Resistance” but all government policy statements refer to it too as “the Resistance” . It is its name, not a an adjective that supporters confer upon it as mainstream media does with the terrorist thugs, aka the FSA, whom western journos liberally call “the Syrian resistance” without quotations.
There were reports of fresh fighting in Syria on Saturday, with opposition activists claiming Syrian artillery bombarded cities, in breach of a truce meant to mark the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday.
Interesting how the Telegraph’s writers seem to live in a parallel universe where they are not privy to mainstream reports about how a number of rebel groups refused to commit to a cease fire from the outset and were the first to break it.
Now, insiders say, Hizbollah is engaged in a fierce debate behind closed doors over whether to follow suit. “There are different points of view, with some saying that we should push for a settlement within Syria and not bank on Assad staying,” said one Lebanese with connections to senior Hizbollah circles.
Aha, the infamous “Lebanese with connections to senior Hizbollah circles”, alternatively referred to as a “source close to Hizbullah.” I have said this before: no Hizbullah insider would ever admit to a break in Hizbullah’s ranks to anyone, let alone to a western journalist, assuming the story were indeed true. The so –called “source close to Hizbullah” is almost invariably a Shiite source closed to Hizbullah, that’s right, closed because he/she sees Hizbullah as an enemy. Netanyahu cheerleader, Lokman Slim is typically described as a source close to Hizbullah in mainstream media stories so we should always assume it is either him or someone like him, straight out of the CIA’s list of Shiite informants.
Some Hizbollah members, including clerics, fear that their support for Mr Assad is dragging them into a dangerous fight with Sunni Arabs - the other side of Islam’s main sectarian divide - in Syria and Lebanon, he said.
The future of Hizbollah and the Shia is directly related to the future of Syria. If Bashar is to be sacrificed, let’s sacrifice him and not Syria.”
Actually no. Hizbullah and its supporters don’t see Assad as dragging them into a conflict with the Sunnis. They see March 14, the Future Movement, and their Qatari and Saudi backers as trying to drag them into a civil war with the Sunnis. It is not Assad who is sowing sectarian strife in Lebanon, but his enemies who go on a killing and shooting rampage, every time a Sunni figure is killed in Lebanon.
And Hizbullah will never sacrifice Assad unless he were to sell out at the 11th hour to the US and Israel. If Assad is supported because he backs the resistance in Lebanon and Palestine and represents the Arab lynchpin of the resistance axis, then abandoning him is surely synonymous with a defection from the resistance axis on Hizbullah’s part as it was when Hamas switched sides.
Disagreement is said to be strongest between civilian Hizbollah members, who are more likely to favour cutting links with Damascus, and its powerful military wing, trained and indoctrinated by Iran and still fiercely loyal to the Syrian regime.
“I have heard that the division is deep between the Lebanese branch of Hizbollah and the military. Hassan Nasrallah decided to cancel the convention,” said the source. “He was worried he would not be able to come up with a final resolution.”
The source of this silly quote is “a Shia politician from an important political family”; in other words, one of the feudal landowning Shiite scions who collaborate with MEPI’s “moderate” [read, anti-Hizbullah] Shi’ite project. Needless to say, the value of such a source’s analysis is zero.
As for the internal dissent, I have never believed that Hizbullah is a monolithic organization. But any divisions within the movement are over tactics, not over strategy. With an issue as strategic as defending the Assad government against the Empire and its lackeys, and defending the territorial integrity and social make-up of Syria, there can be no difference of opinion because the issue is existential for Hizbullah. Existential because without Syria the resistance would be much weaker, Israel empowered, Palestine further away from being liberated and the region in the firm grip of the Empire.
Mr Nasrallah pledged his loyalty to the Damascus regime in public several times at the beginning of the crisis, but has shown much less enthusiasm about doing so recently.
“Nasrallah is anxious,” said one observer of the South Beirut political scene. “At every crossroads he watches closely what is happening.”
Erm, hello. Hizbullah is losing support precisely because there has been no diminution in enthusiasm for Assad. Every single speech Nasrallah has made since May 2011 has mentioned the Syrian crisis and the party’s support for Assad. In fact, the movement and Nasrallah specifically, has become increasingly outspoken in its support for the Syrian government as the conflict has raged on and as the true agenda of the opposition and its backers has became manifestly clear.
When Hamas abandoned its support for Syria, under pressure from Palestinians appalled by the regime’s slaughter….
Actually that it isn’t why Hamas abandoned Assad. It abandoned Assad for reasons now widely reported in MSM and by policy wonks: because it wanted to benefit from the Muslim Brotherhood’s ascendance and from Qatari funding, among other reasons completely unrelated to the killing which has been perpetrated equally, if not more, by the rebels with whom Hamas has now sided.
There is growing unease even among Hizbollah’s grass-roots supporters in its political heartlands of South Beirut, and speculation that it will lose out politically as well.
“My mother has always voted for Hizbollah, but she has seen the television pictures of dead children in Syria and she is horrified,” said one Hizbollah supporter. “Of course she is behind the resistance. But for the first time in her life I think she may not vote for them in the next election.”
And of course, the anecdotal evidence submitted by the token Shi’ite whose family has turned against Hizbullah. I mean even when opinion polls consistently show upwards of 90% of Shiites supporting Hizbullah since 2005, the exception must necessarily disprove the rule according to Western media logic. Selective observation is the bane of every single Hizbullah story that is published in the mainstream press so its no surprise it is employed repeatedly in this piece of journalistic garbage.
Incidentally, the author of this story interviewed me for over 20 minutes on Friday by phone. Naturally I was not quoted because my analysis did not fit his narrative. He did seem impressed by my accent however asking me in a surprised tone at the end of the interview “how come you have a British accent?” Well you know how it is, it’s always disconcerting for the White Man when the rebellious native shatters his imagery by speaking his language and saying [not so directly] : The day Hizbullah drops Assad is the day Hizbullah stops being a resistance movement and becomes a moderate Arab actor.
So al-Mustaqbal (Harir’s Future Movement) are playing the “Oh no we di’int , oh yes we did” game. After years of denying they were armed, the commander of their militia has now admitted to the existence of a militia—“the Mustaqbal Supporters”— which fought Hizbullah in the May 2008 clashes and its latest incarnation, the “Awfaj al Mustaqbal” (Mustaqbal Regiments) . According to their military chief, retired Lebanese army colonel, Amid Hammoud, former Prime Minister and head of the Future Movement, Saad al-Hariri, had asked him to submit a proposal to improve the performance of his militia after its humiliating defeat in 2008.
In his first media interview, Hammoud admitted to Akhbar (the Arabic version) that he is arming “the Sunni sect to confront Hizbullah,” which he accuses of destabilizing the country with assassinations and bombings. He acknowledges that his movement and the Syrian “revolutionaries” are on the same battlefront against Hizbullah.
Although Hammoud is quite equivocal and self-contradictory in the rest of the interview he admits the following (which I have translated and paraphrased):
1) Although Sunni fighters in Tripoli are not “his”, he wields influence over them and provides them with funding with which they purchase arms.
2) Although he doesn’t deploy his men to Syria to fight alongside the FSA, he strongly supports the Syrian “revolutionaries” and helps Syrian fighters escape, receive shelter, medical treatment etc. He also admits to giving funds to Syrians, “even if it is for the purpose of purchasing weapons”. And although he doesn’t distribute weapons, he directs them to arms dealers from whom they can purchase them. He admits that “tens” of Syrians came to him for assistance in smuggling weapons into Syria by sea. While denying he has gone to Syria, he says he would consider it in the future since he sees himself as “an inextricable part of the Syrian revolution”. While claiming he went to Libya to congratulate the “revolutionaries” there, rather than to procure weapons for the FSA, he insinuates that he would not hesitate to do so if need so required.
3) Regarding the recent clashes in Beirut, Hammoud argues that he doesn’t have “armed fighters as such” but has “youths” deployed there. Although he distributed weapons in the 2008 clashes, he claims he did not do so again.
4) Hammoud blames Israel for Wissam Hassan’s assassination but paradoxically also holds Hizbullah responsible for his killing because Hizbullah’s security apparatus cannot be separated from the Syrian regime’s, and because it has been “infiltrated internationally [by the CIA] and by Israel.
So there you have it, a sometimes explicit and other times veiled acknowledgment of Hariri’s complicity in the Syrian conflict and in the recent attack on the Lebanese army and security forces. This is the same political force that the West lauds for its “state building” project, and its noble pursuit of justice, freedom and democracy, against authoritarianism and terror. This is the same movement which western mainstream media refuses to associate with the recent clashes, the terrorizing of civilians at checkpoints and general instability, preferring instead, to attribute the violence to unknown “Sunni gunmen” rather than to Hariri’s sectarian militia.
A case in point is this New York Times piece which not only uses the “masked Sunni gunmen” euphemism, but attempts to misrepresent the clashes in Beirut which occured between the army and the Hariri militia, among other Sunni militias, as sectarian clashes between Sunnis and Shi’ites which the army tried to end, by claiming:
“Gun battles broke out in Tariq Jdeideh, a neighborhood where Sunni and Shiite militiamen clash regularly, in the early hours of Monday.”
The double-standards of mainstream media’s coverage of Lebanon has reached a new low. If Shi’ites unaffiliated with Hizbullah had been involved in the clashes, western journalists would not have hesitated to refer to them as “Hizbullah militiamen”, even if they had belonged to the AMAL movement or some other force. And if those Shiites had been attacking the army and the ISF, as well the Hariri militia, the media narrative would have excluded any mention of the latter and the violence would have been described solely as an attack on the “Lebanese state.”
What is lost in all this, is that contrary to its more “democratic” counter-part, Hizbullah, has never been involved in any attacks or clashes with Lebanese state institutions; only with March 14 militias in May 2008. And it was the Lebanese Army, serving under a March 14 government at the time, which attempted to disarm these militias. In effect, it is not Hizbullah’s resistance, which cooperates with the Lebanese Army, that is undermining the state’s monopoly on the use of force, but March 14’s sectarian militias.