And that’s how those “Hizbullah stronghold” folks do Valentine’ s <3
Thanks to imperialism and its proxies, the concepts of “terrorism” and “revolution” have become completely inane terms bereft of any meaning. When freedom- fighting resistance movements become terrorists and nihilistic terrorists became revolutionaries, is it really all that shocking that the Saudi regime feels it too is entitled to stretch the definition of terrorism to include such subversive activity as defying driving laws if you are a woman? It’s only a matter of time before these catchall concepts are sandwhiched between “cray-cray” and “YOLO” in Urban Dictionary.
Full story on Saudi’s new “counter-terrorism” laws here
If the “Hizbullah stronghold” concept wasn’t bad enough, after today’s Hermil bombing , we can now add “pro-Hizbullah region” (see Lebanon’s Daily Star today) and “Hizbullah town” (the BBC before they amended their headline) to refer to predominantly Shia areas in Lebanon targetted by suicide bombers. Aside from the usual blaming of the victims—the Shia must pay for their support for Hizbullah, the classist undertones of this ShiaVille discourse cannot be discounted. No matter how much national unity and cross-sectarian solidarity the Lebanese attempt to muster with their “we are all Dahyeh” slogans, the media’s classist and borderline racist coverage of attacks on the Dahyeh suburbs or the underdeveloped Shia periphery of Baalbek, only serve to ghettoize the Shia as the witting “thug-life” victims of Hizbullah’s turf wars. It also feeds into that whole Saatchi & Saatchi, neoliberal “I love life” crusade practiced by the “why does Hizbullah have to mess with dem Takfiris in Syria?” camp. This is no less than a revival of the language of internal colonialism when the Dahyeh was known as the “Shia slums of Beirut” and/or “the belt of misery”.
Without ignoring or belittling Saudi sponsorship of the Takfiri groups who are slaying Lebanese and Syrian civilians, let us not forget the culpability of Israel and the US in these crimes, including today’s Dahyeh bombing. Not only do we now know that the Obama adminstration has been reaching out to “engage” the Islamic Front in Syria, which contains Al-Qaeda affiliates like Ahrar Al Sham (a senior figure for the group, Abu Khaled al Suri, admitted as much recently), but even more significantly, Obama made this very telling statement to the New Yorker, which effectively distinguishes between a good and a bad al-Qaeda and normalizes the former as a just another benign [to the US at least] sectarian force, involved in petty power-struggles, the implication being, that the US can manipulate these good Takfiris to serve its strategic interests:
“I think there is a distinction between the capacity and reach of a bin Laden and a network that is actively planning major terrorist plots against the homeland versus jihadists who are engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian…And how we think about terrorism has to be defined and specific enough that it doesn’t lead us to think that any horrible actions that take place around the world that are motivated in part by an extremist Islamic ideology are a direct threat to us or something that we have to wade into…But how we approach those problems and the resources that we direct toward those problems is not going to be exactly the same as how we think about a transnational network of operatives who want to blow up the World Trade Center. We have to be able to distinguish between these problems analytically.”
One need only look to the crisis in Egypt to appreciate the Saudi role in today’s terrorist attacks on Tripoli and last week’s Dahyeh bombing. What many of us [myself included] mistook for a statist-driven attack on the loathsome Zionist-enabling, Salafi-tolerant, Muslim Brotherhood was clearly not an attempt to clamp down on its divisive and sectarian agenda or its interventionist ambitions in Syria, but rather, a Saudi-Zionist backed scheme to prop a military regime, whose overriding aim is to safeguard its “deep state” privileges and ruling caste interests, while risking civil war in the process. And herein lies the Saudi role: The same hand that kills fellow Sunnis in Egypt, on account of the threat they pose to the Wahhabi political establishment, mercilessly kills its own Sunni allies in Lebanon and Syria for the same purpose. Aside from the identities and political affiliation of the culprits behind the Dahyeh bombings, what further points to Saudi complicity, is the crudeness of their false flag ops—in Syria, a chemical-induced massacre of innocents right under the noses of UN chemical weapons’ observers, and in Tripoli— very symbolically—massacring Sunnis as they prayed in the most sacred of public spaces, thereby maximizing sectarian and religious sensitivities. And all those who, despite all of the above, are despicable, or blind, or opportunistic enough to blame Hizbullah for today’s heinous massacre in Tripoli, are partaking in this sectarian incitement and bear the same blood on their hands as the Bandari arch-terrorist himself.
Western imperialism always likes to characterize the political behaviour of members of the Resistance Axis as being detached from reality, delusional, irrational etc. But I cannot think of a more irrational and ultimately self-destructive national security strategy than one which brands a popular grass-roots resistance movement, which is firmly rooted in an entire COMMUNITY, as a “terrorist organization”, despite having [UNIFIL] troops stationed in its midst ; a strategy which in based on the long-standing illusion that Hizbullah is a political party with an extra-legal military wing, as opposed to a quintessentially military movement with a political wing; a strategy which only chose to yield to US-Israeli pressure to designate Hizbullah’s resistance as a terrorist designation, when it scored military successes against al-Qaeda affiliated arch-terrorist groups in Syria; a strategy which has lifted the arms embargo on al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria, who represent a very real threat to EU homeland security, in order to defeat resistance forces who are merely a threat to EU [neo-colonial] interests in our region ; a strategy which has opened EU member states to the charge that as State Sponsors of Terrorism in Syria and Israel, being labelled as “terrorist” by them, is nothing less than a badge of honour. Long live our “terrorist” Resistance!
My take on the EU’s blacklisting of Hizbullah’s “military wing” as terrorist organization in Nour Samaha’s AJE piece “Hezbollah: The EU’s new ‘terrorists’” :
“This is 100 percent related to Hezbollah’s role in Syria, the fall of Qusayr, and the defeat of the Syrian rebels,” Amal Saad-Ghorayeb….“The West understands the Syrian regime is not going to fall, and so this has pushed the EU to come out with this decision,” she said. “This is a PR war where they’re trying to brand Hezbollah as terrorists, and equate them to groups like al-Qaeda.”
Hezbollah is seen as an important resistance movement by many Shias and others belonging to different sects in Lebanon, and European efforts to scare supporters away from the group will be futile, according to Saad-Ghorayeb.
“Hezbollah is a community, it’s a people based on a grassroots movement,” she said. “You can’t destroy this.”
“While there is the concern that any Shia who now supports Hezbollah either based in Europe or traveling to Europe will have to think twice, I don’t think this will push people away from Hezbollah,” she said. “Rather it will anger the Shia community.”
Both Sayigh and Saad-Ghorayeb agreed that logistically speaking differentiating Hezbollah’s military wing from other aspects of the organisation may be a cause for concern.
“The military wing is very clandestine,” said Saad-Ghorayeb, “no intelligence agency knows the names of the fighters to freeze their assets and deny them visas, so does this mean they’ll start penalising the families of martyrs or their relatives?”
When one compares the statements made by Hizbullah officials and its allies in government on today’s terrorist attack in Dahyeh, with those made by their political rivals in the March 14 camp, my fears of sectarian civil war are assuaged (even if my fear of terrorist bombings has increased). Despite widespread outrage among Dahyeh’s Shia residents, not a single official has blamed Assir or Jabhit al-Nusra or any other Sunni takfiri group for the bombing— a bombing, which could easily have been a massacre had the two explosions been spaced apart as originally planned. Officials have either pointed fingers at Israel or have refused to speculate on the identity of the culprits before the investigation into the bombing reaches its conclusion. Contrast this with March 14’s knee jerk reaction to every single bombing in Lebanon since 2005, where fingers were immediately pointed at the Assad government or Hizbullah. Such accusations were not only made in the absence of any hard evidence, but oftentimes, in the absence of any logical rationale or reasonable motive for their alleged involvement. And herein lies the reason for this difference between the two camps: while the resistance camp sees sectarian tensions as an obstacle to its regional liberationist project, the Saudi-Qatari-imperialist backed M14 movement without a cause, has no other project but sectarian agitation.
Both the designation of the US citizen, Ghassan Hitto as “interim Prime Minister” by the SNC, and Aron Lund’s myth-shattering report “The Free Syrian Army Doesn’t Exist”, make it increasingly clear that the Syrian opposition (and by Syrian opposition I mean the FSA and the Syrian National Coalition) today is little more than a PR stunt engineered by the US & allies and sustained by corporate media and a slick social media campaign. As detailed by Lund’s study, the FSA is nothing but a branding operation which refers to the uprising in general, or more specifically, to the non-Islamist rebel groups. Elsewhere, Lund asserts that “virtually all of the major armed groups have by now declared that they want an Islamic state,” suggesting that most of the rebels belong to Salafi and Salafi jihadi groups. In other words, the notion of a secular armed opposition is a media creation.
Add to the myth of the FSA , Hitto’s appointment as PM of Nothing Really, and one begins to understand just how much more of a psycho-ops than a pysch- ops campaign we are dealing with, which aims to remold reality in the crudest attempt at wish fulfillment and mass-delusion. Not even language has escaped the new psycho-ops, as concepts like legitimacy have now been re-conceptualized to mean whatever- the- US-recognizes, such as when it arbitrarily decides that the SNC is “the sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people”. So over and above the concepts of “popular legitimacy” and “constitutional legitimacy”, we now have the oxymoronic notion of “external legitimacy” which can seemingly exist without either of the other two types.
Just to put things in perspective: The Syrian government is not up against some fantasy Syrian “opposition” but against foreign- backed Salafis, Jihadis and al-Qaeda inspired groups who are not merely Islamists but vehemently sectarian Islamists whose modus operandi includes terrorist bombings and executions. And there is no actual Syrian executive other than President Bashar al-Assad. And no amount of psych-ops or psycho-ops will change either of these facts.
The old colonial powers stage a comeback: the UK and France, whose sovereignty doesn’t rely on the approval of other nations, according to its FM (in contradistinction to anti-imperialist nations’ like Syria whose sovereignty can only be determined by western powers it seems) are in a huge rush to arm Salafi Takfiri and Wahhabi terrorists and just plain old sectarian executioners. You see, even if they end up in these “wrong hands” as Hague admitted recently, its well worth the “balance of risks”. This balance is so lopsided, that these same groups which the respected British charity, Save the Children, has accused of using children as human shields, soldiers and informers, are now lauded as “resistance fighters” by Hague and Fabius. Apparently the only way to stem the bloodshed and defuse the regional sectarian war that Hague brazenly warned of last week, is to arm sectarian child killers, executioners and terrorists. Way to go leaders of the “civilized” liberal western democratic world! Abu Qatada is surely beaming at you with pride.
Full report here
'The bombing, blamed on “terrorists” by both the regime and its opponents…The attack was “carried out by armed terrorist groups linked to Al-Qaeda that receive financial and logistic help from abroad,” the foreign ministry said, using government terminology for rebels.'
You read that people? According to AFP, the Syrian Foreign Ministry is clearly using biased terminology when it describes the nihilistic violence which claimed 60 innocent lives today as “terrorism.” This type of “terminology” is strictly reserved for the Syrian “regime” which is so detached from reality that it is misreading and mislabeling as terrorism, the freedom-seeking struggle of “rebels”— a term which AFP suggests is a far more accurate term to describe the perpetrators of this bloodbath. Clearly, the Syrian government’s definition of terrorism represents a significant departure from the prevailing legal and linguistic consensus on the term which defines it as “the unlawful use of violence or threat of violence to instill fear and coerce governments or societies…. motivated by religious, political, or other ideological beliefs and committed in the pursuit of goals that are usually political.” After all, the US Defense Department’s definition cited here only refers to violence that harms US interests. All other acts which fit neatly into this definition are liberation struggles led by rebels not terrorists. And so long as the religion they are motivated by is House Islamism, it’s all good.
Addendum* : AP also made this disgusting attempt to sanitize today’s terrorism as guerrilla warfare : "But the recent bombings and mortar attacks suggest that instead of trying a major assault, rebel fighters are resorting to guerrilla tactics to loosen Assad’s grip on the heavily fortified capital." See “rebels” are “resorting” [i.e. being forced to] adopt “guerrilla tactics”, with all the positive liberationist connotations such a term conveys.
I was going to deconstruct this delusional rant , point by point but then realised that as Borzou’s post below indicates, it would be in vain as he is clearly impervious to logical reasoning or empirical evidence. How dare this native informant masquerading as a respectable journalist (who interviewed me numerous times in the past btw) lecture us on journalistic ethics? How dare he judge what constitutes extremism on behalf of Syrians who are being raped and executed solely on account of their sectarian affiliation? How dare this colonized House Iranian claim we “make cursory mention of the regime’s brutality”’ because we “won’t have any credibility if you don’t”? How dare he say this when he is the one absolving the barbaric groups that make up the FSA from their heinous war crimes. How dare he think we give a damn about appearing credible to the white man, as if corporate media represents the zero point of neutrality; as if Borzou and his ilk are the measure of objectivity and methodological rigor. We acknowledge the regime’s excesses because unlike MSM and its information warriors like Borzou, we can be objective even when we aren’t neutral, not because we seek recognition from the mainstream media spin machine. This post below is nothing but a cheap shot at colonizing reality, or reality enforcement administered by imperialist lackeys like Borzou who have lost all credibility as an independent journalist in the eyes that count: OUR eyes.
This is my guide for Syria analysts and journalists who want to defend Bashar Assad while continuing to retain their credibility in the West.
1. Keep mentioning Jubhat al Nasra and other Islamic jihadi groups without mentioning that the vast majority of armed groups are not nearly as extreme, are mostly locally based folks defending their towns and villages.
2. When referring to the armed opposition keep using the magic word: AL QAEDA
3. Make cursory mention of the regime’s brutality (you won’t have any credibility if you don’t) but avoid resurrecting the roots of the conflict in peaceful opposition to Bashar’s dictatorship. Avoid mention of wanton use of air power against civilians in bread lines and in their homes.
4. Keep talking about NATO, the Gulf countries and Western support for opposition; that will boost Bashar’s anti-imperialist creds among the campus leftists.
5. Focus on faults of incompetent and disorganized Syrian opposition abroad instead of networks of activists and homegrown civil society already establishing governance inside.
6. Frame Russia as an honest broker trying to peacefully resolve conflict instead of a shrewd chess player that doesn’t give a damn about Syrian civilians and murdered tens of thousands of Chechens in an attempt to put down a rebellion in the 1990s.
7. Keep warning about consequences of Syria state’s collapse: sectarian war, refugees in Europe, rise of an Islamist state.
8. Keep raising rare instances of rebel misconduct and faked videos and frame them as emblematic of the overall opposition.
9. Make the opposition look intransigent; they’re the ones who won’t agree to a peaceful settlement, not the president who did no reforms for 10 years and dispatched shabiha to murder peaceful protesters when they spoke out.
10. Pray to God (even if you are an athiest) that the rebels don’t get to Damascus, open up the files and find out what you did for the regime, the details of conversations on how you got your visas and your access to officials.
It is a term used in all the history books, all the academic studies, all past media reports, all the policy papers published by think tanks, all the public pronouncements by western officials; it is the term “Syria” that was always used to denote its government, the Assad leadership. If before this conflict “Syria” and its government were synonymous, there is all the more reason for it to remain so now because our struggle isn’t in defense of this government, it is in defense of Syria.
The opposition never has and never will be referred to as Syria, because the culture that celebrates hate, torture and execution and flaunts these crimes with pride, will never take root among the overwhelming majority of Syrian people and therefore can never become Syria. That is the difference.
Despite the many flaws and crimes committed by this government, this is not a battle between a regime and a homegrown opposition movement; it is a battle between Syria and Syria’s enemies. And we must naturalize this term: Syria killed 15 terrorists today; a car bomb targeted Syria today; Syria denounces Arab and western intervention; Syria needs our support.
Just a reminder [to the left which scoffs at anti-imperialists], that imperialism isn’t only our enemy because it undermines our dignity and independence, but because it is the BIGGEST KILLER. Imperialism is terrorism as Glenn Greenwald’s report below illustrates:
"The US government has long maintained, reasonably enough, that a defining tactic of terrorism is to launch a follow-up attack aimed at those who go to the scene of the original attack to rescue the wounded and remove the dead. Morally, such methods have also been widely condemned by the west as a hallmark of savagery. Yet, as was demonstrated yet again this weekend in Pakistan, this has become one of the favorite tactics of the very same US government…
In February, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism documented that “the CIA’s drone campaign in Pakistan has killed dozens of civilians who had gone to help rescue victims or were attending funerals.” Specifically: “at least 50 civilians were killed in follow-up strikes when they had gone to help victims.”
Not only does that tactic intimidate rescuers from helping the wounded and removing the dead, but it also ensures that journalists will be unwilling to go to the scene of a drone attack out of fear of a follow-up attack.”
Full story here
Forget Farid Zakaria’s plagiarism, now you have this NYT fool who fabricates quotes. Here he quotes Seyyid Hassan Nasrallah as saying that a European blacklist would “destroy Hezbollah. The sources of our funding will dry up and the sources of moral political and material support will be destroyed.”
I have read and/or listened to almost every single speech Nasrallah has made and not once has he said any such thing. If anything he has only ever dismissed terrorist labelling. for example on August 14 2007 he said ““First, they concentrated on the charge of terrorism -and they had worked on it for many years. It could have an effect in some parts of the Western world, but it no longer has an effect among the peoples of our Arab and Muslim world or among our people in Lebanon. The charge of terrorism— for which they harnessed all the media and the means of incitement and their diplomatic efforts —has begun to break down, even in Europe and in many parts of the world.”
And then on May 25, 2011 he said “But I would like to tell you that when America and Israel attack us, and when the presidents of the biggest two countries of occupation, killing, and terrorism attack us, we feel proud and honoured.”
The quote doesn’t even make sense: why would Iran, Hizbullah’s biggest donor, cut off funding to Hizbullah if the movement was classified as terrorist? Iran has been sanctioned to death anyway so it can continue “supporting terror” as before, and it could continue funding Hizbullah under the table as it has done for decades without any hard evidence that would incriminate it. Moreover, if Hizbullah were branded as terrorist how would that diminish support for the resistance movement? Since when do western designations determine anti-Zionist Arabs’ political support? If anything, western approval of Arab political actors usually detracts from their popular support. I defy the liar who lazily fabricated this quote and/or the NYT to provide evidence such as a video link or Arabic transcription of the alleged speech from a reliable source.
So desperate is the United States to bring Hizbullah to its knees that its mainstream media branch of government (and yes it is a branch and not an autonomous civil society actor, just like think tanks aren’t) now has to invent quotes which depict the movement as being cowered by western bullying. Let them dream on.