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Is the Middle East Beginning a Self-Correction?

By Alastair Crooke | Strategic Culture Foundation | November 18, 2019

“Two years, three years, five years’ maximum from now, you will not recognize the same Middle East”, says the former Egyptian FM, Arab League Secretary General and Presidential Candidate, Amr Moussa, in an interview with Al-Monitor.

Mousa made some unexpected points, beyond warning of major change ahead (“the thing now is that the simple Arab man follows everything” – all the events). And in reference to the protests in Iraq, Moussa says that Iraq is in “a preparatory stage for them to choose their way as Iraqis — emphasizing that “the discord between Sunni and Shia is about to fade away.”

The present regional turbulence, he suggests, is [essentially] a reaction to the US playing the sectarian card – manipulating “the issues of sect and religion, et cetera, was not only a dangerous, but a sinister kind of policy”. He added however, “I don’t say that it will happen tomorrow, but [the discord between Sunnis and the Shi’a fading away], will certainly happen in the foreseeable future, which will reflect on Lebanon too.”

What we are witnessing in Iraq and Lebanon, he adds, “are these things correcting themselves. It will take time, but they will correct themselves. Iraq is a big country in the region, no less than Iran, no less than Turkey. Iraq is a country to reckon with. I don’t know whether this was the reason why it had to be destroyed. Could be. But there are forces in Iraq that are being rebuilt … Iraq will come back. And this phase – what we see today, perhaps this is the — what can I say? A preparatory stage?”

Of course, these comments – coming from a leading Establishment Sunni figure – will appear stunningly counter-intuitive to those living outside the region, where the MSM narrative – from Colombia to Gulf States – is that the current protests are sectarian, and directed predominantly at Hizbullah and Iran. Certainly there is a thread of iconoclasm to this global ‘Age of Anger’, targeting all leaderships, everywhere. In these tempestuous times, of course, the world reads into events what it hopes and expects to see. Moussa calls such sectarian ‘framing’ both dangerous and “sinister”.

But look rather, at the core issue on which practically all Lebanese demonstrators concur: It is that the cast-iron sectarian ‘cage’ (decreed initially by France, and subsequently ‘corrected’ by Saudi Arabia at Taif, to shift economic power into the hands of the Sunnis), is the root cause to the institutionalised, semi-hereditary corruption and mal-governance that has infected Lebanon.

Is this not precisely articulated in the demand for a ‘technocratic government’ – that is to say in the demand for the ousting of all these hereditary sectarian Zaim in a non-sectarian articulation of national interests. Of course, being Lebanon, one tribe will always be keener for one, rather than another, sectarian leader to be cast as villain to the piece. The reality is, however, that technocratic government exactly is a break from Taif – even if the next PM is nominally Sunni (but yet not partisan Sunni)?

And just for clarity’s sake: An end to the compartmentalised sectarian constitution is in Hizbullah’s interest. The Shi’i – the largest minority in Lebanon – were always given the smallest slice of the national cake, under the sectarian divide.

What is driving this sudden focus on ‘the flawed system’ in Lebanon – more plausibly – is simply, hard reality. Most Lebanese understand that they no longer possess a functional economy. Its erstwhile ‘business model’ is bust.

Lebanon used to have real exports – agricultural produce exported to Syria and Iraq, but that avenue was closed by the war in Syria. Lebanon’s (legal) exports today effectively are ‘zilch’, but it imports hugely (thanks to having an artificially high Lebanese pound). All this – i.e. the resulting trade, and government budget deficit – used to be balanced out by the large inward flow of dollars.

Inward remittances from the 8 – 9 million Lebanese living overseas was one key part – and dollar deposits arriving in Lebanon’s once ‘safe-haven’ banking system was the other. But that ‘business model’ effectively is bust. The remittances have been fading for years, and the Banking system has the US Treasury crawling all over it (looking for sanctionable Hizbullah accounts).

Which brings us back to that other key point made by Moussa, namely, that the Iraqi disturbances are, in his view, “a preparatory stage for them to choose their way as Iraqis … and that will reflect on Lebanon too”.

If the ‘model’ – either economically or politically – is systemically bust, then tinkering will not do. A new direction is required.

Look at it this way: Sayyed Nasrallah has noted in recent days that other alternatives for Lebanon to a US alignment are possible, but have not yet consolidated into a definitive alternative. That option, in essence, is to ‘look East’: to Russia and China.

It makes sense: At one level, an arrangement with Moscow might untie a number of ‘knots’: It could lead to a re-opening of trade, through Syria, into Iraq for Lebanon’s agricultural produce; it could lead to a return of Syrian refugees out from Lebanon, back to their homes; China could shoulder the Economic Development plan, at a fraction of its projected $20 billion cost – and, above all it could avoid the ‘poison pill’ of a wholesale privatisation of Lebanese state assets on which the French are insisting. In the longer term, Lebanon could participate in the trade and ‘energy corridor’ plans that Russia and China have in mind for the norther tier of the Middle East and Turkey. At least, this alternative seems to offer a real ‘vision’ for the future. Of course, America is threatening Lebanon with horrible consequences – for even thinking of ‘looking East’.

On the other hand, at a donors’ conference at Paris in April, donors pledged to give Lebanon $11bn in loans and grants – but only if it implements certain ‘reforms’. The conditions include a commitment to direct $7 bn towards privatising government assets and state property – as well as austerity measures such as raising taxes, cutting public sector wages and reducing social services.

Great! But how will this correct Lebanon’s broken ‘business model’? Answer: It would not. Devaluation of the Lebanese pound (almost inevitable, and implying big price rises) and further austerity will not either make Lebanon a financial safe-haven again, nor boost income from remittances. It is the classic misery recipe, and one which leaves Lebanon in the hands of external creditors.

Paris has taken on the role of advancing this austerity agenda by emphasising that only a cabinet acceptable to the creditors will do, to release crucial funds. It seems that France believes that it is sufficient to introduce reforms, impose the rule of law and build the institutions – in order to Gulliverise Hizbullah. This premise of US or Israeli acquiescence to this Gulliverisation plan – seems questionable.

The issue for Aoun must be the potential costs that the US might impose – extending even to the possible exclusion of Lebanese banks from the dollar clearing system (i.e. the infamous US Treasury neutron bomb). Washington is intent more on pushing Lebanon to the financial brink, as hostage to its (i.e. Israel’s) demand that Hizbullah be disarmed, and its missiles destroyed. It might misjudge, however, and send Lebanon over the brink into the abyss.

But President Aoun, or any new government, cannot disarm Hizbullah. Israel’s newly ambiguous strategic situation (post – Abqaiq), will likely hike the pressures on Lebanon to act against Hizbullah, through one means or another. Were Aoun or his government to try to mitigate the US pressures through acquiescence to the ‘reform’ package, would that be the end to it? Where would it all end, for Lebanon?

And it is a similar conundrum in Iraq: The economic situation though, is quite different. Iraq has one-fifth of the population of neighbouring Iran, but five times the daily oil sales. Yet the infrastructure of its cities, following the two wars, is still a picture of ruination and poverty. The wealth of Iraq is stolen, and sits in bank accounts abroad. In Iraq, it is primarily the political model that is bust, and needs to be re-cast.

Is this Moussa’s point – that Iraq presently is in the preparatory stage of choosing a new path ahead? He describes it as a self-correcting process leading out from the fissures of sectarianism. Conventional Washington thinking however, is that Iran seeks only a Shi’i hegemony for Iraq. But that is a misreading: Iran’s policy is much more nuanced. It is not some sectarian hegemony that is its objective, but the more limited aim to have the strategic edge across the region – in an amorphous, ambiguous, and not easily defined way – so that a fully sovereign Iraq becomes able to push-back against Israel and the US – deniably, and well short of all-out war.

This is the point: the end to sectarianism is an Iranian interest, and not sectarian hegemony.

November 18, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Twitter Surrenders to US Congress’ anti-Hezbollah Measures, Suspends Al-Manar’s Accounts

Al-Manar | November 2, 2019

Republican and Democrat US Congress members, have asked social media network Twitter to suspend all accounts affiliated with Hezbollah and Hamas, setting November 1rst as a deadline for the action.

The US Congress members rejected distinguishing between military and the political wings of the organizations they classify as terrorist, stressing that Twitter must not give them any chance to convey ‘hate’.

In this context, Al-Manar TV accounts on Twitter, including @AlmanarEnglish, were suspended without any prior notification.

The accounts which had around one million followers were characterized by objectivity and accuracy in conveying truth.

November 2, 2019 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , | 1 Comment

Trump Freezes Lebanon Military Aid After Israel Voiced Concerns

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 11/02/2019

Amid recent statements by both Iranian and Hezbollah leaders accusing the United States of hijacking the massive anti-corruption protests which have gridlocked Lebanon for over the past two weeks, the White House has made the dramatic and unexpected move of freezing US military aid to the Lebanese Army.

The money, part of a military aid package totaling $105 million, had been approved by Congress and the State Department, and requested by the Pentagon. Interestingly, proponents of the package argued that it would allow the Lebanese Army to grow more independent, making it less cooperative with Hezbollah.

According to Reuters the aid was frozen two days following Tuesday’s resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, who in a parting speech admitted he’d “reached a dead end” amid the protests which have reportedly involved one million people, or up to 25% of Lebanon’s total population, and further called on “all Lebanese to protect civil peace”.

The United States, said the report, has frequently voiced “concern over the growing role in the Beirut government of Hezbollah, the armed Shi’ite group backed by Iran and listed as a terrorist organization by the United States.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week called on Beirut to take steps for a new unified government which focused on rooting out endemic corruption.

Though no specific reason was given as to why the White House has targeted Lebanon for an aid freeze, Trump has lately signaled his disdain for the amount of foreign aid Washington hands out around the world, seemingly with no strings attached.

On Friday, an Israeli media report revealed that officials in Tel Aviv had lobbied the White House to condition any US Lebanese aid based on the country removing advanced arms in possession of Hezbollah — something it should be noted that Lebanon’s national forces are likely incapable of, given the Shia paramilitary organization is actually considered stronger.

The Foreign Ministry ordered Israeli diplomats “in all relevant countries,” including the US and European states, to emphasize the need to cease providing aid to Lebanon as long as the Iran-backed Hezbollah terror organization does not cease upgrading its military capabilities that could target Israel, the official added. Times of Israel

“In discreet talks with various capitals, we made it clear that any aid meant to guarantee the stability of Lebanon needs to be conditioned on Lebanon dealing with Hezbollah’s precision-guided missiles,” a senior official told The Times of Israel. “Anything short of that will be problematic, in our eyes.”

This could mark a big first step in Trump cutting of aid to ‘dysfunctional’ governments and/or governments made up of elements which are hostile to the United States, as is the case with the designated group Hezbollah.

November 2, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 4 Comments

Hezbollah’s Unchartered Frontier

By Ghassan Kadi | The Saker Blog | October 31, 2019

Following the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in June 1982, Lebanon looked like it had totally lost its independence and ability of self-determination. Later on, and with Israeli boots still on Lebanese ground, the Lebanese government was coerced to reach the 17th of May (1983) peace accord with Israel; and which was in reality tantamount to terms of surrender.

By then, the underground resistance, known back then as “The Lebanese Resistance”, was launched, and it was already causing much concern for the Israeli occupiers. As for the 17th of May accord, the then Lebanese President, Amin Gemayel, found himself between a rock and a hard place; supporters of the accord and those against. And even though back then the supporters were a political and military majority, Gemayel did not want to be remembered in the books of history as the President who surrendered to Israel, and refused to ratify the accord.

What happened afterwards is now history. The resistance gained momentum, and with all the might of the Israeli army and the large number of local Lebanese militia that collaborated with it, Israel had to leave Lebanon defeated in April 2000.

This epic victory couldn’t have happened without two men; President Hafez Assad and Hassan Nasrallah.

Hezbollah was a small organization back in 1982 and Nasrallah was not the founding leader. He became the leader after founding leader Abbas Al-Musawi was killed by Israel in 1992. Nasrallah has been the leader ever since, and has managed to evade many would-be assassination attempts and many disasters that would undermine the sovereignty and integrity of not only Lebanon, but also Syria.

This is not meant to be a historical narrative. The stops I shall make are meant to be those pertinent to the standing of Hezbollah and how it is perceived by the Lebanese community.

Hezbollah has had thus far three major victories. The first was the afore-mentioned victory over Israel in 2000 when the Israeli army was made to retreat from Lebanon unconditionally. Never before had Israel ever left occupied Arab land unconditionally. This is not to mention that southern Lebanon is rich in water, something Israel lacks and is in dire need for. The defeat was so humiliating that Israel had to save face, calling it a “tactical withdrawal”.

The second victory came in July 2006 when the Israeli incursion and massive bombing of Lebanon did not result in any Israeli gains and Israel again withdrew from Lebanon under heavy casualties; including marine casualties.

The third victory was in Syria where Hezbollah played a huge role in staving off the attack on its Syrian ally.

For any Lebanese or Arab to even attempt to take away from Hezbollah its achievements is tantamount to national treason; and I cannot make this statement more vehemently.

With the Arab World divided on lines based on foundations essentially that of capitulation and accepting the American/Israeli roadmap, and that of the opposite dipole of independent decision-making, it is not a surprise therefore that Hezbollah has been gaining momentum in the hearts and minds of Arabs of the so-called resistance axis.

In my previous article, I predicted that the current widely popular uprising in Lebanon can eventually be diverted by the enemies of Hezbollah in order to transform the anger against corruption into anger against the political ally of the government; ie Hezbollah. In a matter of a few days since, this prediction is taking form. There has been increasing criticism of Hezbollah for allegedly turning a blind eye to the burgeoning state of corruption in the government.

Nasrallah addressed the issue recently in a televised speech. His words however fell short of generating a sense of satisfaction in the protesters, even from many protagonists of the axis of resistance. Deep down inside, even many of the staunchest supporters of Hezbollah believe that it has seriously overlooked the consequences of its silence in regards to the three years of extreme corruption of the Aoun tenure.

Cartoons showing president Aoun on his presidential chair with Nasrallah as his shadow are circulating on social media. There are rallies in heartlands of Hezbollah, expressing utter dis-satisfaction with the government. A close friend of mine who wishes not to be named told me that “Nasrallah should understand that protecting the integrity of a country is not restricted to guarding its borders against invaders, but also guarding its economy and domestic wellbeing”. He added that ”… even though Nasrallah was exemplary in protecting Lebanon’s state borders from Israel, he allowed for the economic borders, the infra-structure borders and the public services borders of Lebanon to be breached and looted dry from within by his corrupt political allies”.

There are unconfirmed stories alleging that there are $800 Bn worth of looted money banked in Swiss accounts by corrupt Lebanese politicians. If true, this would constitute a massive figure by any standards, let alone that of a country of 4.5 million citizens. What seems to be certain is that the central bank (Banque Du Liban) has only $11-12 Bn out of the $120 Bn that local banks have deposited.

The domestic and international enemies of Hezbollah and the axis of resistance are already using everything in their armament to turn the anger of the Lebanese people against Hezbollah. They are digging up skeletons such as a video interview of Nasrallah back in 1982, long before he became Hezbollah chairman, and circulating it on social media, in which Nasrallah says that Hezbollah’s ideology is based on establishing a Muslim state in Lebanon, adjunct to Iran. And, even though Nasrallah has made many statements later on that emphasize the importance of plurality and unity of Lebanon, that dated video is the one stealing the show right now.

At this juncture, it must be stated that even most of the staunchest supporters of the axis of resistance do not want for Lebanon to become a religious state by any definition.

In more ways than one, Hezbollah, and Nasrallah in particular, have taken on board too many agendas to juggle; that of an anti-Israel resistance spearhead, a political power in Lebanon, and according to many, a Shiite religious agenda, or at least a commitment to empower the minority Shiite sector of Lebanon.

The truth of the matter is that any two of the above three are incompatible with each other, let alone all three, and for as long as Hezbollah seemingly clings to all of them, it is creating the Achilles Heel that can lead to its own undoing.

Unlike the IRA, Hezbollah does not have a separate political wing. And unlike Gerry Adams who represented Sinn Fein, Nasrallah represents both, the military as well as the political side of Hezbollah; and also the religious. He therefore has put himself in a situation in which he cannot distance himself from any actions and/or decisions that can or may backfire.

Politics is a dirty quagmire, and Lebanese politics in particular is dirtier than most, if not the dirtiest. If Hezbollah wanted to remain above it and with the sole objective to protect Lebanon’s southern borders, being involved in politics was not essential for its survival.

By entering the world of politics, Hezbollah had to play by the rules of the Lebanese ruling Mafia. And even though Nasrallah said on many occasions that the military might of Hezbollah will only be used against Israel, in reality it isn’t and wasn’t. To begin with, there is a haunting and daunting feeling within Lebanon that Hezbollah will forcefully crush any potential move to disarm it. Secondly, when the political opposition threatened to control the streets in May 2007, Hezbollah made a pre-emptive move. This was not a wise decision, even though it was followed by an almost immediate surrender of its positions to the Lebanese Army. In the minds of many Lebanese, this remains till now, a dark point in the history of Hezbollah; one that is replayed and replayed to remind people of how determined Hezbollah can be if challenged. As mentioned in the previous article, after this event, Hezbollah irreversibly lost a huge chunk of its Sunni support base.

It can be argued that the amazing military victories Hezbollah scored made it complacent, even perhaps too self-assured. But this again has been another unwise move. Unless a popular resistance force does all it can to maintain its popularity and grass-roots support, it can easily fall into a state of rot, leading to its own demise.

Hezbollah has many lethal domestic and international enemies that failed to defeat it militarily, and now they are trying different ways to crack its spine.

Leading up to this, Hezbollah managed to establish an iron-curtain in regard to its modus operandi. Nasrallah is rarely seen in public, and when he appears in public, his appearance is never pre-announced. All security measures are always taken to guarantee his safety, and even the “army” units themselves are invisible, even during war; and this was what drove the invading Israelis up the wall fighting an “invisible enemy”.

Yet with all of those precautions, Hezbollah entered the domain of Lebanese politics from the most vulnerable vantage point.

At this juncture again, with the Lebanese Government facing a most uncertain future, and likely to end up in chaos, perhaps even anarchy, or at the most hopeful scenario, holding thieving politicians accountable and having their loot confiscated, Hezbollah needs to have a second take at its political venture in Lebanon and decide to go totally underground. If it doesn’t, it may find itself facing a battle it is not prepared to fight; one that it can easily lose.

Two weeks into the uprising, and apart from the resignation of PM Hariri, there are no signs of any relenting on President Aoun’s side. The street protests are escalating despite purported thuggish attempts to stifle them. This uprising is in fact Lebanon’s revolution of the silent majority, the majority that did not partake in the 1975-1989 civil war and all conflicts thereafter. Its ranks seem to have already been penetrated by various domestic, regional and international parties with vested interests as some claim. There are many rumours floating around; rumours of the Lebanese American Embassy recruiting people with little or no experience and no clear job qualifications, rumours of Soros investing $600 m in the uprising, rumours of $150 as a daily stipend for every demonstrator, and the truth is that no one knows if any of such rumours or others are accurate.

There are even rumours and photos circulating on social media of alleged Hezbollah members bashing and terrorizing peaceful demonstrators. Whatever the facts, such images are causing untold damage to the stand, popularity and integrity of Hezbollah.

There is a legitimate reason for the Lebanese to rise up against their government, and irrespective of the final outcome, the silent majority has finally spoken, and Hezbollah must find its way to regain its support base if it wants to survive this ordeal.

And to survive it, the leadership of Hezbollah ought to go back to the rationale behind its own raison d’être as a resistance force. Popular resistance is one of people against an oppressor. Currently, the majority of Lebanese people see their politicians as their oppressors. They are not currently looking beyond their southern borders, nor looking at the potential danger of Israeli aggression. They are worried about survival. They are demanding an end to the thieving of politicians and the restoration of services like water, electricity and fuel. They want their dignity and financial security back, and alarmingly they are increasingly seeing Hezbollah as a part of their problem; not the solution.

In Lebanon, sectarian measures are always used to gauge political opinion, and in this respect, Hezbollah has reached wide popularity among all Muslims with nearly all Shiites and perhaps up to 70-80% of Sunnis supporting it especially after the outcomes of the July 2006 war with Israel. At that time, perhaps at least 50% of Lebanese Christians supported it too. After the events of May 2007, the Shiite support remained unwavering, but the Sunni support slumped to something like 50% with some decrease in popularity among Christian Lebanese. The recent corruption of the Aoun government coupled with the street uprising has enhanced the percentage of the anti-Hezbollah sentiment among Sunnis and Christians, and for the first time ever, street action has shown anger against Hezbollah even in Shiite areas. All up, and based on an educated guess only, from a national support based of at least 65-70% back in 2006, the tally has seemingly now dropped to 40-45%. This is a serious development and Hezbollah leadership ought to be aware of it.

In hindsight, Hezbollah should not have taken any political role in Lebanon. Rather, it should have stayed totally as an underground movement and force. After all, the political cover did not give it any “protection”. It was its own military might that guaranteed its survival on the ground in Lebanon. Perhaps it is time for Hezbollah to retrace its past steps, be humble enough to accept that it has made mistakes, put the euphoria of military victories aside for a moment and learn from the serious political mistakes it has committed.

This is an unchartered frontier for Hezbollah; a battle that it might not have either trained or prepared itself for. It may turn out to be its ultimate challenge.

October 31, 2019 Posted by | Corruption, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 2 Comments

Nasrallah Says Suspicious Sides Exploited Popular Protests, Urges Supporters to Leave Streets

By Marwa Haidar| Al-Manar | October 25, 2019

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah urged the resistance supporters on Friday to leave the streets, noting that a dangerous scheme aimed at targeting Lebanon on the political level has being prepared.

In a televised address to the Lebanese people on the latest local developments, Sayyed Nasrallah said that Hezbollah at first hailed the popular protests but noted that such rallies have turned out to be politically exploited by foreign powers and suspicious sides inside Lebanon.

His eminence listed the achievements of the nation-wide protests which started on October 17, noting that its major achievements were the package or reforms and 2020 budget which was with no taxes.

As he stressed that Hezbollah doesn’t accept toppling the presidency, Sayyed Nasrallah noted that the resistance party also doesn’t back the government resignation.

In this context, Hezbollah S.G. pointed to a call by President Michel Aoun to meet protests representatives.

Sayyed Nasrallah vowed, meanwhile, that the package of reforms announced by Prime Minister Saad Hariri will be implemented on its due dates, stressing that Hezbollah won’t allow delay in this regard.

Achievements of Popular Protests

Noting that Lebanon is witnessing critical events, Sayyed Nasrallah reminded of Hezbollah’s stance at the start of the popular protests.

“We have stressed that Hezbollah respects the popular protests,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, noting that the resistance party didn’t want to take part in the protests in order for these rallies to be far from political affiliations.

“What happened was very good, especially in the first days of the protests, and must be preserved,” his eminence said, noting that he had warned against the politicization of the rallies.

Sayyed Nasrallah then listed the achievements fulfilled by the popular movements which swept across different areas in Lebanon.

“One of the protests’ achievements is announcing a budget with no taxes, something that is  very important.”

He hailed the package of reforms announced by Premier Saad Hariri as “unprecedented,” noting that it was dismissed and misunderstood by many “in a suspicious way”.

Sayyed Nasrallah in this context, vowed that the reforms package will be implemented on its due dates, and that Hezbollah will not allow the delay in this regard.

Talking further about the achievements, Sayyed Nasrallah said the “popular protests indicate that people have regained self-confidence and hope of achieving the change.”

He said that the nation-wide protests “paved the way for political parties to be serious in countering corruption,” noting that the package of reforms is the first step towards countering corruption.

Vacuum and Chaos

Sayyed Nasrallah said that President Michel Aoun had called for dialogue with protest representatives, noting that the remarks of the president were distorted.

As he said that Hezbollah and his allies are open to dialogue with protesters, Sayyed Nasralah stressed that any solution to the current crisis should avoid political vacuum.

In this context, Sayyed Nasrallah called on protesters to choose their representatives.

“O’ protesters choose a leadership that can talk on your behalf. If you can’t do so, then let the people in the protest venues choose representatives in order to hold talks with President Aoun.”

“Any solution should be away from vacuum in political institutions and authority, for such vacuum, in light of hard economic, livelihood and financial condition, would lead to chaos and collapse.”

“We don’t accept toppling of presidency, as we don’t back the government resignation,” Sayyed Nasrallah said.

Commenting on calls for early parliamentary elections, Sayyed Nasrallah said that such step is complicated; stressing that reaching a deal on elections law by political parties in Lebanon is something difficult.

“They say that Hezbollah had contributed to political vacuum before the election of President Aoun,” Sayyed Nasrallah said, referring to remarks by officials belonging to some political parties in Lebanon.

“It’s not right that we took the country to the vacuum. Yes we disrupted the presidential elections, but the government and parliament were working. The roads weren’t blocked as well as the universities and schools were not shut.”

Blocking Roads

Hezbollah S.G. said that blocking roads is one of the civilian forms to protest. However he pointed to the duration of these moves, noting that after nine days, they cause harm for people and hamper their lives.

He also condemned offensive acts staged by protesters who belong to some political parties.

The checkpoints established in the roads by political parties’ supporters who ask the people for their IDs remind of the civil war, Sayyed Nasrallah said.

“I call on protesters to open the roads. Stay in the protest venues but open the roads for people to go to their work, universities and schools.”

Meanwhile, Sayyed Nasrallah denied as baseless, rumors that there are calls to the Lebanese Army to clash with protesters.

Suspicious Sides

Sayyed Nasrallah reiterated Hezbollah’s stance which voiced support to the protests at the first days.

“In the first days we didn’t consider the protests suspicious. We didn’t believe that there is a conspiracy behind such moves.” Sayyed Nasrallah said.

But the scene has changed now, Sayyed Nasralah said, noting that “what started spontaneously has been largely exploited by political parties.”

“Some protests have been financed by embassies and suspicious sides,” his eminence affirmed, adding: “social and livelihood demands have been diverted to target resistance.”

“Several sides are exploiting popular protests to settle their account with Hezbollah and implement foreign agendas.”

“Lebanon has entered dangerous phase, there are prospects that our country will be politically targeted by international, regional powers,” his eminence warned.

“We have information that an anti-resistance scheme is being prepared for Lebanon.”

Sayyed Nasrallah also responded to those who say that Hezbollah ‘is not in the camp of Imam Hussein(PBUH)’ because of his reservations on the protests in the last few days.

“Unlike the current protests, Imam Hussein’s revolution had a clear and sincere leadership,” Sayyed Nasrallah said.

“In the first days of protests we didn’t prevent people to take part in protests. Last Saturday I urged Hezbollah members (not supporters) to refrain from participating since their participation affects the social identity of the rallies,” his eminence said.

“Today, and based on new givens and suspicions I call upon the resistance crowds to leave the streets and the protest venues,” Sayyed Nasrallah concluded.

October 25, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

The Lebanese Fall – Hezbollah’s Latest Challenge

By Ghassan Kadi | The Saker Blog | October 22, 2019

Hezbollah is facing a new challenge, and this time it is not a military one, but rather political.

Perhaps few countries need peaceful “popular revolutions” more than Lebanon does. In my simplistic way of thinking, Lebanon should actually be on the top of the list; followed by the USA.

Corruption in Lebanon is endemic. Its politicians are in reality the heirs of dynasties with self-given “birthrights”. Lebanon is ruled, owned, and manipulated by a few families and bloodlines that virtually own everything and have control on whatever happens in the country. This excludes the very few new comers such as the Hariri dynasty, Hezbollah, and the incumbent President Aoun, among others that one can count on the fingers of one hand.

Before President Aoun was finally elected, Lebanon had a presidential vacuum and had no head of state for 29 long months. It took all that time for the feuding Mafias to finally come to an agreement that guaranteed their positions and vested interests before they were convinced that Aoun was the right choice.

Aoun does not come from any of the political-feudal lineages. As a former Army Chief, and despite his history as a former enemy of Syria in the 1980’s who turned into a supporter twenty years later and eventually became a political partner of Hezbollah, he was finally endorsed even by his Christian Maronite arch-rival, Samir Geagea, the head of the rightwing “Lebanese Forces” as a conciliatory president. This was what finally gave him the numbers to be elected and ended the presidency vacuum crisis.

Aoun was perhaps the first Lebanese president to be elected by consent of many rivals and former political and strategic enemies. After all, he had the backing of Hezbollah and the approval of Geagea. He had all that was needed to embark on a journey of reform.

And “Reform and Change” was the motto of his political party.

As a former enemy of Syria, he took voluntary exile in France in 1984 and started his movement of alleged reform. As he returned to Lebanon in 1999, in the years leading up to his election, his rhetoric was that of holding politicians accountable for corruption.

In 2008 Aoun visited Syria, his former enemy, and was greeted by President Assad like a head of state. He had a huge reform agenda, but whether he was genuine or not, by the time he was elected as President in 2016, he was already in his eighties and suffering ill health.

As a president and if anything at all, he followed the footsteps of those he was meant to hold accountable by endorsing his son-in-law Gibran Bassil to become a Member of Parliament and a Minister. But this is not all, he acted in a manner as if he has passed on the presidency and the running of Lebanon to Bassil.

This would have gone well had Bassil been “clean”, but he soon proved to be corruptible as hell. Bassil is now perhaps the most hated Lebanese politician. He is believed to have amassed billions of dollars of corruption funds. The current Lebanese uprising in the streets of Lebanon and the world are aimed at many Lebanese politicians; but mainly Bassil.

What is pertinent is that the political backdrop that eventuated in guaranteeing Bassil’s position has originally come from Hezbollah who has secured the presidency of his father-in-law; President Aoun.

In hindsight, Hezbollah has made a bad gamble on Aoun, and this is forgivable perhaps, but what is unforgivable was turning a blind eye to thus far three years of unimaginable corruption of the Aoun tenure.

Admittedly, the Lebanese Cabinet, headed by Saad Hariri, an opponent of Hezbollah, is an all-inclusive cabinet. Politically, strategically and militarily protected by Hezbollah in a manner that represents all political parties of Lebanon, the ambient Lebanese cabinet has Nasrallah as its patron. Right or wrong, this is the general understanding in the streets of Lebanon now.

For the sake of giving itself a constitutional cover and parliamentary majority, Hezbollah’s gamble on Aoun is failing. Aoun is losing ground and for Hezbollah to continue to support him would be an act of political suicide.

Currently, everything about what looks like a “Lebanese Revolution” looks legitimate and worthy of support. Thus far, the protestors have been peaceful and civilized. Lebanon is a country rich in many ways; well-educated human resources, agriculture, water, tourism venues, untapped oil/gas, you name it. People are angry because their government has not yet been able to build up enough infrastructure after the 1975-1989 Civil War that destroyed much of it. The country is reeling from growing unemployment, the high cost of living and a lack of basic local services like water, power and garbage management. Add to this the factor of low income, it becomes understandable that the Lebanese are sick and tired of having to put up with a seemingly endless legacy of government incompetence and rising taxes.

So once again, Lebanon needs a peaceful popular revolution that can provide reform; not more destruction, and the current uprising, which hasn’t been given a name yet, will inevitably, for better or for worse, yield some outcomes.

What seems probable is that President Aoun will be forced into retirement at the very least. And, this may only be the prelude to further developments. However, what we are seeing now in Lebanon is not necessarily a “Lebanese Spring”. The seasonal aspect of it does not necessarily mean that it is a “Lebanese Fall” either. It is a Lebanese test; and most specifically a defining moment for Hezbollah.

Thus far, Hezbollah has been “faultless” in as far as deterring Israel, protecting its own ground base and providing enough popular support to guarantee its popularity.

And the support of, and well regard for Hezbollah did not only come from the Shiite sector of the Lebanese community. After all, Hezbollah represented resistance, and this ideological arm has no sectarian boundaries. But what Hezbollah seems to have failed to realize is that it cannot bank on ideology alone, all the while turning a blind eye on corruption.

It has to be said as it is. Hezbollah is becoming increasingly perceived in Lebanon as having a role in protecting its corrupt government. This situation is inviting the “Soros connected” forces to take control of the “Lebanese Revolution”.

But as events in Lebanon are changing on daily basis, we must look back at the Arab Spring and what came out of it.

There is a revolution in Lebanon and I support it. People on the streets are genuine and have legitimate demands. But this revolution is headless and has fingerprints of meddlers already. After all, as we see virtually millions of Lebanese flags appearing all over the world, including some that are 300 and 400 meters long, we ought to ask where did they come from and who paid for them? And, who is giving the greenlight for mainstream media coverage to this all?

After the Israeli war with Hezbollah in July 2006, Shiite Muslim Hezbollah had a huge popularity in Lebanon even in the Muslim Sunni as well as Christian regions. This changed soon after Hezbollah made the decision to control the streets of Beirut in May 2007. Ever since, Hezbollah lost a fair chunk of its popularity outside the Shiite sect.

Nasrallah must make his position clear in regard to the street protests and his stand on the ugly corruption that is bringing Lebanon to its knees. He had to urgently respond to the street rallies during the 2005 so-called “Cedar Revolution”, where protestors wanted Syrian troops out of Lebanon, and the counter pro-Hezbollah protestors demanded the opposite. The schism back then brought Lebanon close to civil war again. A repeat of such a scenario now is potentially more dangerous and inflammatory than back then.

Hezbollah rose victorious, both politically and militarily, and with victory in Syria, the position of Hezbollah in Lebanon has never been stronger. Hence a wise and appropriate response to the current crisis is paramount.

The situation occurring presently is quite different to the events of 2005. It is no longer ideological. People are literally unemployed, angry and hungry. They blame the corrupt government, and are pointing the finger at Hezbollah for its silence.

Hunger and popular anger do not stop at sectarian boundaries.

Nasrallah has been making the right decisions thus far, but he cannot afford to be complacent. Each and every camel has a straw that can break its back, and Aoun is not the one for Nasrallah to count on for political survival; quite the contrary in fact.

Even within the ranks of heartland pro-Hezbollah territory, there is an element of opposition to the Aoun administration and its political and economic bankruptcy.

The success of Hezbollah as a liberating force in Lebanon may well have reached a crossroad now. How the protests and the issues voiced are dealt with, will define the future of Hezbollah. It can cause it great damage or, if quickly respond to with sympathy and solutions to the issues raised by the groundswell of angry and fed-up protesters, Hezbollah can maintain the grassroots support they enjoyed. It is time for Hezbollah to revisit the viability of its political alliances.

The progress of the popular uprising thus far, sounds too good to be true. However the substantial support this uprising is receiving, both domestically and internationally is ominous. International support can only be based on political interests aimed at reducing the stronghold of Hezbollah and to weaken the position of the axis of resistance.

Without a figure head, without a clear agenda, the Lebanese uprising is likely to end up like the Egyptian uprising back in 2011. The street anger will be employed by the meddlers in order to serve their own agendas, and the suffering of the people will not be reduced. This is my fear.

October 22, 2019 Posted by | Corruption | , | Leave a comment

Hezbollah Firmly Denies Involvement in Beirut Downtown Motorcade

Al-Manar | October 22, 2019

Hezbollah stressed on Monday it has no relation with the motorcade which threatened protests in Beirut Downtown and was thwarted by Lebanese Army.

In a statement, Hezbollah’s Media Relations Office firmly denied involvement in the motorcade.

“The Media Relation would like to affirm that Hezbollah definitely has no relation with the motorcade which went about Beirut Downtown tonight,” the statement released late Monday said.

Lebanese media reported that a motorcade including alleged supporters of Hezbollah and Amal movement attempted to attack protesters in Beirut Downtown, with the Lebanese Army confronting them and saving the protesters.

A video showing the motorcade went viral on social media, with pro-resistance activists stressing that such moves are suspicious and aim at tarnishing Hezbollah’s image.

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah expressed solidarity with protesters who have been since last Thursday staging demonstrations and rallies across Lebanon in protest against hard livelihood conditions and corruption in the state institutions.

In his speech in the Arbaeen commemoration in Baalbeck on Saturday (October 19, 2019), Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that the resistance party stands beside the protesters urging all Lebanese parties including Hezbollah to bear the responsibilities in a bid to solve the long-term crises in the country.

Source: Hezbollah Media Relations (Translated by Al-Manar English Website)

October 22, 2019 Posted by | Deception | , | Leave a comment

Israel Directing Policy Through US Treasury: Sanctioning Hezbollah’s Political Allies in Lebanon

By Patrick Henningsen | 21st Century Wire | September 12, 2019

Nearly three years into the Trump administration, one thing is clear: as it struggles to wage any new direct shooting or proxy wars, Washington has instead relied on economic warfare against its perceived enemies, and largely on behalf of the state of Israel.

Through the U.S. Treasury Department and its own openly pro-Israel agents of influence, namely Secretary Steve Mnuchin, along with his Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal P. Mandelker, Israel has been able to attack and undermine all of its own geopolitical enemies and region rivals. The chief mechanism for achieving this is by directing the US government to label any person, politician or state agency – as a “terrorist,” or as a terrorist entity, thus allowing the US government to apply sanctions against any person or entity which Israel designates as its enemy, or even potential enemy. As a result of this runaway policy, the list of sanctioned persons and organisations by the Trump administration is the most in history.

Firmly in its crosshairs is Lebanon’s well-established political and military wings of the Hezbollah organisation. There is a fundamental flaw in the West’s framing of Hezbollah though, starting with its origins. It is a fact of history that Hezbollah was born out of Israel’s illegal occupation of southern Lebanon. Had Israel not invaded and occupied this region, or prosecuted its long and violent military campaign during and after the Lebanese Civil War, then it’s possible the Hezbollah movement may never had formed. It was born out of Israel’s occupation. Indeed, Iran has been traditional supporter of the group – which has drawn the ire of Washington and Tel Aviv who view both Iran and Hezbollah as a joint obstacle to US-Israeli strategic security objectives in the Middle East. In order to elevate Hezbollah to ‘most targeted status,’ US officials have had to repeatedly fabricate claims that Hezbollah is acting as major global terrorist organisation. In the same breath, US officials, like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will enthusiastically drift out the well-worn fable that ‘Iran is the world’s number state-sponsor of terror’.

Earlier this year, the US also announced that henceforth, Iran’s leading military divisions, the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Quds Force – would now be designated as a “terrorist organisation.” The cold irony of course, is that Hezbollah militias are presently fighting (and defeating) actual terrorist organisations like al-Qaeda and ISIS (both of who have been created, as well as armed and financed by numerous western and gulf states, including the United States) in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. Since 2013, Hezbollah militia have played a pivotal role in ejecting al Qaeda and ISIS terrorists from their enclaves in Syria, thus thwarting the regime change objectives of US, UK, France, NATO member states, Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and also Israel too. Likewise for IRGC and Quds special military advisors deployed in Iraq and Syria to help subdue the invading terrorist brigades. The same is true for Iranian-backed militias in Iraq like the Hash’d Shaabi (People’s Mobilization Units), predominantly Shia, who were pivotal in Iraq’s ultimate victory over ISIS in 2017. Veteran journalist Patrick Cockburn summed it up when he concluded that the greatest threat to building peace in Iraq was not ISIS, but rather, Donald Trump determined to pick a fight with Iran. Documentation on the number of casualties is still difficult to determine, but on the aggregate, between Hezbollah, Hash’d, Iranian forces, the losses sustained in the fight against ISIS and al Qaeda number in the tens of thousands – and likely far more than the combined US soldier death tolls in 18 year-long War on Terror in Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond. Regardless of general western ignorance of what has actually transpired in Syria since 2011, and in Iraq since 2014, the people who actually live in the Middle East know the severity of this largely foreign-backed terrorist usurpation.

Regardless of the facts on the ground, neconservatives and war hawks in the Beltway are still happily pressing ahead with their policies. With Tel Aviv carefully leading from behind, Washington has successfully pressured many of its allies to obey its geopolitical dictates, with the UK, Argentina and Paraguay all falling into line this year by designating Hezbollah – both its political and military wings – as a terrorist organisation, as well as pressuring Brazil to follow suit.

Of deeper concern for Washington though, is that Hezbollah is defending Lebanon’s borders from what is undoubtedly the region’s most prolific aggressor – Israel. In just the last few weeks, Israel has attacked no less than 4 of its neighbours, including unprovoked military strikes against Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and of against Palestinians living under illegal Israeli occupation in Gaza. Hezbollah also poses another threat to Israeli hegemony in the region because of its unflagging support for Palestinian resistance against Israel’s violent occupation and ethnic cleansing of the native Palestinian people. Similarly, the Islamic Republic of Iran also supports the Palestinian resistance cause, which is also a predicate for Israel’s various and sundry fabricated claims about a ‘secret Iranian nuclear arsenal,’ and imagined conspiracy that ‘Iran is occupying Syria’ – all of which are designed to garner leverage in Washington whereby US officials can view Hezbollah an accomplice to “Iran’s threat world peace.” This is the sort of geopolitical gymnastics which Israel is attempting to perform on a daily basis in order to justify the longest-running, most brutal and inhumane apartheid regimes in modern history – being waged against Palestinians and Arabs in the Middle East.

Targeting Hezbollah’s Political Allies

Still, Washington insists on basing its international relations on these numerous fabricated claims about Iran and Hezbollah drafted by Israel’s J Street lobbyists and the Prime Minister’s office in Tel Aviv. Now the Trump administration is taking this method a step further by threatening to sanction any political allies of Hezbollah in Lebanon. With military options practically off the table, this is the only remaining option for Washington and Tel Aviv to try and undermine Hezbollah which is now a political force in Lebanese politics, forming a working majority in the Lebanese Parliament along with its allies, as well as holding key ministerial and cabinet positions. But will it work?


Future Sanctions Will ‘Absolutely’ Target Hezbollah Allies in Lebanon: US Envoy

Al-Manar – September 13, 2019

US envoy said on Thursday that future sanctions could target allies of Hezbollah in Lebanon.

“In the future we will designate, because we have to, individuals in Lebanon who are aiding and assisting Hezbollah, regardless of their sect or religion,” the new US assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, David Schenker, said in an interview with local LBCI television.

When asked by the interviewer if this means sanctions will target allies of Hezbollah, Schenker said “absolutely,” adding that the US is constantly reviewing its sanctions lists.

Earlier on Tuesday, US State Department announced it has issued sanctions against four alleged Hezbollah members, Ali Karakeh, Mohammad Haydar, Ibrahim Aqil and Fouad Shukr.

The administration of Presdient Donald Trump has ramped up sanctions on Hezbollah and other resistance groups since the US withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018.

Last month, the US Treasury slapped sanctions on the Lebanese Jammal Trust Bank, claiming the bank “brazenly enabling” Hezbollah’s financial activities. And in June, the Treasury took the unprecedented step of sanctioning two sitting Hezbollah MPs, Amin Sharri and Mohammad Raad, alongside security head Wafiq Safa.

September 13, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Nasrallah: Hezbollah has no more ‘Red Lines’ Against Israel, all Occupied Palestine can be Targeted

Hezbollah footage of the strike (English subtitles):

Report about Israeli dummy soldiers:

According to Israel’s military censor, there were no Israelis so much as scracthed by Hezbollah’s Kornet missiles, but only 2 days later, an Israeli soldier was severely injured and almost died because of an alledged ‘rock-throwing game’. Sounds like the lousiest cover-up ever…

Nasrallah: Hezbollah has no more ‘Red Lines’ Against Israel, all Occupied Palestine can be Targeted

Political section of the speech of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on September 2nd, 2019, on the occasion of the commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (‘Ashura), and the day after Hezbollah’s retaliation against an Israeli armored vehicle.

Transcript: 

The (political) part of my speech will be devoted to the latest developments, that is Hezbollah’s retaliation, the different reactions to it and (everything that happened yesterday and today).

First, we express our thanks to God Most High and Exalted for the success, the victory, and the accomplishments He has bestowed upon us, because all the benefits we enjoy come from His beneficence, His goodness, and His mercy. We praise Him and implore His forgiveness.

I must then address, at the beginning of my speech, the Resistance, the Mujahideen (fighters in the way of God), be they leaders, soldiers or persons in charge, who since 8 days, since Sunday (August 25) to this day, until last night or until this morning at least, were on the battlefield, at every time, along the Lebanese border with occupied Palestine, and ready (to hit the first valuable target). It is by their presence, their state of alert, their courage, their efficiency and their sacrifices that we realized and confirmed all the equations that dissuade the enemy and protect our country.

These brothers, since the first hours after my Sunday (August 25) speech, whether under the sun or under the stars, in the heat of daylight or the freshness of the night, and in spite of the maximum alert of the Israeli enemy, of his radars and (surveillance) drones, as well as all his (ultra-sophisticated) technical means, remained in front of the enemy, exposed (to strikes), present on the ground (and not hidden in bunkers), ready to give their blood. After God the Most High and the Exalted, it is they whom we must thank, these noble and very dear brothers.

In the same way, I must thank the Lebanese army, which remained vigilant on the whole length of the border, ready to face any aggression. I also express our thanks to our beloved people, our kith and kin, and our beloved families, especially those who are in the villages and regions closest to the border, who have spent all these days living their daily & normal lives, and who have followed, supported and congratulated our retaliation, and expressed their joy and pride in the success of the Resistance.

Likewise, we naturally thank anew the (Lebanese) Presidents (of the Republic, of the Council of Ministers and of the Parliament) and government officials, and all those who have clearly and firmly taken a stance (alongside the Resistance). I declare in truth that they have followed the events until the last moments, and have assumed their national responsibility.

I particularly thank the media, who have made great efforts to follow the evolution of the situation, supporting the actions of the Resistance and showing the situation as it really was, thwarting the enemy’s attempts to hide the facts (claiming that Hezbollah didn’t cause any casualties). As I will explain, our operation did not take place only yesterday in the afternoon, but extended from my speech (on August 25) to the military operation itself. All of this has been closely monitored by the media, and I thank them all, especially the reporters on the ground, who sometimes put themselves in danger in order to show the situation in a strong and eloquent way [the Israeli Army had completely deserted the area, allowing some Al-Manar, Al-Mayadeen and Russia Today Arabic journalists to infiltrate Israeli territory and even enter abandoned military bases]. We also thank all the analysts and commentators who provided the public with truthful, relevant and eloquent explanations.

I did not prepare a list of all those I had to thank, so in advance, I apologize to all those I may have forgotten, which will dispense me from mentioning them later [Laughter]. We thank everyone.

Secondly, I will quickly assess what has happened so that I can draw clear conclusions. What happened started during the night from Saturday to Sunday (August 25), and consisted of two events. The first event was the Israeli airstrike against the city of ‘Aqraba in the suburbs of Damascus, which led to the martyrdom of our dear brothers Yasser Dhaher and Hassan Zbib. And a few hours later, the second event was the operation of the two suicide drones in the southern suburbs of Beirut. I want to clarify something in this regard: it is common knowledge that the first suicide drone was neutralized (pelted with stones) and fell to the ground, and therefore failed to achieve what it was sent for. I add today that the second suicide drone, which was also sent to destroy a target, also failed in its mission: the target that this drone tried to destroy was not hit. The Israelis know well what they have come to strike, and I have no reason to reveal it, but I announce to the enemy that this operation failed. And it is also a blessing of God the Most High and Exalted.

Since the first moments, we have announced, especially in my Sunday speech, that we would not remain silent about these two aggressions, that we would not accept that new equations are imposed (to our disadvantage), and that we wouldn’t let the achievements of our July 2006 victory be squandered. And that’s why we said we would retaliate with certainty to these two attacks.

Our response has taken two aspects. The first aspect of our response took place on the ground, and across the international border with occupied Palestine, with the territory of Palestine occupied in 1948. And the second aspect of our response concerns Israeli drones in the skies of Lebanon.

Regarding the first aspect, the direct operation on the ground, we have stated publicly and clearly… I will present the overall situation to highlight our strengths, the strengths of Lebanon, and the points of weakness, humiliation, fear and failure of the enemy. We announced publicly that we would retaliate from Lebanon, from anywhere on the Lebanese border (with occupied Palestine), and perhaps even in the depths (of Israel). We warned the enemy that he had to expect us (any time) from now on. This is a strength point of the Resistance. We could have remained silent, refrained from threatening (Israel of an imminent retaliation), not revealing our intentions, keeping quiet as we say, for 1, 2 or 3 days, then hit them by surprise. The military know that one of the most important aspects of a military operation is the element of surprise. But we have not done so, because our fight against the Zionist entity has a major psychological component, affecting the morale and soul of the enemy (which we strive to undermine). So we told them from the beginning to wait for us, because we were coming. In itself, it is an enormous challenge issued by the Resistance, (but the enemy did not dare to take up the gauntlet).

If we consider the overall situation, in our eyes, everything that has happened since my (August 25) speech until yesterday, and which I will detail, is a (humiliating) punishment inflicted on the enemy, a deterrence of the enemy, a (successful) confrontation with the enemy. It is an operation composed of several layers that add up. Part of it is psychological, part of it touches the morale, part of it takes place on the battlefield, a part consists of an (anti-tank) missile launch, but all this is part of the same operation of a multiple punishment of the enemy, consisting of different layers.

If we consider the situation since last Sunday, since my August 25 speech, and briefly summarize the facts, what happened?

1 – The border has been deserted throughout its length. For Israel, there was no longer any distinction between the blue line, the international border, and this or that disputed piece of land in one direction or the other: the entire border, whether it is indicated by a wall or barbed wire, was completely abandoned by Israel, and it was impossible to find any soldier on the whole length of the border. Neither soldiers, nor these vehicles that regularly move on the dirt tracks or asphalt could be seen along the border. We did not see anyone nor anything. It is only today that they began to reappear, our operation having ended yesterday.

2 – All positions close to the borders have been completely abandoned. They did not even hole up in their bases, no, they completely abandoned them. They escaped. By God, it’s more than we expected. I told them to hole up, but they literally fled.

Entire barracks were abandoned, like the one whose name has now become famous, the barracks of Avivim. A large military base, including a command center occupied by a large number of officers and soldiers, etc., etc., etc., was completely deserted, as a journalist (from Russia Today) showed: she went in and walked the premises, finding them completely empty. There was absolutely no one! Several barracks and military positions have been abandoned at the border, and sometimes even in the depths (of Israel).

3 – At a depth of 5 kilometers in some areas, and 7 kilometers in others, special measures, severe restrictions, evacuations and travel bans have been put in place. Even in the settlements, as we saw on television, cameras roamed the settlements from morning till night and did not meet a soul: no pedestrians, no motorists, no motorcyclists, no bicycles, no open shops, nothing. Everyone stood still. They were all holed up in their houses, and the doors of the shelters were open.

4 – Very severe (security) measures were taken everywhere in Israel, with an unprecedented state of alert. All the Iron Dome units that they could find and bring to the North, they brought and deployed them to face (possible) missile fire. All their anti-aircraft defense capabilities were activated, as well as all their means of dealing with the missiles or drones that Hezbollah could have launched towards occupied Palestine. Of course, we have drones (in quality and quantity), it’s not a secret and they know it well.

5 – During these 8 days, their combat units were on alert, on a war footing and deployed: I speak of several divisions, several air bases, several naval bases, etc.

If we consider the general situation that prevailed on the Israeli side during these last days, it was clear that this Israel, which to this day presents itself as endowed with the most powerful army of the region, the first army of the region, this arrogant, despotic, infatuated and tyrannical state, which once terrorized millions and hundreds of millions of people (through its wars and threats of aggression), for eight days, the whole world saw it frightened, fearful, hidden, holed up, and having completely deserted the Lebanese border on a width of at least 5 kilometers. It’s an absolute shame and humiliation. It is a demonstration of weakness. This is one manifestation of the fact that Israel is weaker than a spider’s web. And that’s part of the punishment (we inflicted on Israel). Before we retaliated with our military operation, some people were (ironically) asking: where is your response? But (this terror situation on the Israeli side) was already a punishment and a retaliation.

On the other hand, on our side, the Lebanese army has not left the border anywhere, remaining in all its positions. Likewise, the Resistance was present everywhere it was supposed to be. Our good Lebanese people were normally moving in border areas, whether in villages or fields [Israeli settlers were forbidden to approach “their” fields in occupied Palestine], and led a completely normal life.

So we have a scene (of normal life) on our side, on our territory and in our villages, a scene of endurance, strength, assurance, confidence, certainty, dignity and nobility, be it Lebanon, its people, its army, its State or its Resistance. Such was the scene on our side, (compare it with the spectacle of terror and desolation on the other side).

Similarly, to properly assess the situation, it should be noted that yesterday, the Resistance conducted its operation in broad daylight. The military is well aware of what it means to conduct an operation in broad daylight (risk of detection, of elimination, etc.), so close to the border, while the (Israeli surveillance) drones were flying in the sky, and while their combat helicopters were ready to come and hit us. Our fighters were exposed to danger in broad daylight because we did not act at night. It is a deliberate choice we made not to act at night, for reasons that I will not bother to mention (show of force, etc.). We made the decision to act imperatively by day, and we communicated it to the brothers in charge of the operation on the ground, and it is also one of the reasons for the delay of the operation, because if we had acted at night, we would have had more targets and opportunities.

This Resistance did not hit directly at the border – anyway, there were no targets at the border – but at some depth (2 kilometers). And despite all the Israeli measures, despite all their precautions and despite all the dummy targets they have scattered everywhere (empty vehicles or occupied by dummies dressed as soldiers), a considerable amount of military vehicles and tanks placed here and there, which were all calling for our strikes to put an end to this unbearable wait for the enemy, despite all this, the Resistance has patiently waited, watched and monitored, ensuring the validity of information and checking all the data, and when a valuable target finally showed up, we hit it and touched it with certainty. Today, the whole world was able to see the video of the operation broadcast in the media. What happened clearly demonstrates our boldness, our courage, our precision and our sense of responsibility.

O my brothers and sisters, one of the most important points about what happened yesterday, and whatever the Israeli attempts to minimize its losses, is the very fact that the operation was conducted. The most important aspect of the operation, even before its success and its results, is to have been accomplished! We had the courage to do it! For the past 7 days, in the media, there is not a single Israeli official who has not said that if we opened fire, shot a missile, killed, wounded or attacked, the reaction would be devastating and could lead to war, etc. We have heard all conceivable threats. And the most severe are those that were expressed through the diplomatic channels: if one was to believe them, Israel would not tolerate the slightest shot in its direction, would respond disproportionately and destroy the country, returning it to the Stone Age. A considerable operation to terrorize us was conducted by the media and diplomatic channels (United States, Great Britain, France, etc.). But I assure you, O my brothers and sisters, and in all sincerity: not only has Hezbollah not flinched, but none of the Lebanese officials with whom we spoke trembled! Nobody flinched! And Lebanon remained strong in its attachment (to its right to defend itself), and its faith in our retaliation response and the legitimacy of our retaliation. The very fact that we made this operation is a success in itself!

I come to the most important point to which all should pay attention, because it is on it that I will base the conclusion of this whole episode of confrontation, and the new equation in force. In the past, when we were attacked, where did we respond? In the Shebaa Farms, inside the Shebaa Farms. Because there are Israeli military positions inside the Shebaa farms. The traps we laid for Israeli tanks and vehicles were placed on occupied Lebanese territory. The rest of the border, that is to say the border of Lebanon with the territory of Palestine occupied in 1948, and which the enemy considers as its official and indisputable border, its usurping State and its entity, the very fact of touching this border was considered by the enemy for decades as one of the largest red lines. Israel could not tolerate anyone allowing himself to touch the barbed wire delimiting the border, sending any drone flying over its territory, firing in the air, or throwing a grenade at it. No way! Israel responded violently to any such violation, for it was a red line in their eyes! What happened yesterday is that the main red line of Israel for decades has been shattered by the Islamic Resistance! That’s what happened yesterday.

It’s not a red line anymore. It’s over. This period is well and truly over, regardless of what the Israelis can say and claim.

And even tastier, this Israel, which normally [Laughter] responds to any shot, any projectile and any grenade by air strikes, assassinations and massive destruction, yesterday, Israel has made considerable efforts to absorb the blow at all costs. And even their incendiary and phosphorous strikes (against empty lands and forests) were mostly defensive, and aimed at building a smokescreen to protect themselves from further strikes, as they imagined that the Resistance was going to strike again the barracks of Avivim and other positions. But they wanted to get over with it and especially not escalate, being ready to conclude a truce at any price.

What is the result of all this? First, we confirmed and even reinforced the deterrence equation. If Netanyahu wanted to change the equation in his favor, we confirmed it and even reinforced it in our favor. Our deterrent force is now greater. We have increased it by one step. He feared a retaliation from us, but thought we would respect some red lines. But we said and demonstrated that we no longer have any red line. Since Netanyahu tried to change the rules of engagement, our response was to break absolutely all the red lines (of Israel). We have passed from a stage where our responses were launched exclusively against (a thin band of) occupied Lebanese territory, namely the Shebaa Farms and the Kfar Chouba Hills, to a stage where our response directly strikes the territory of occupied Palestine! It’s something new. It’s completely new. And we do not have to hit the border area. We can strike at 1, 2 or 5 kilometers, or, if need be, far more distant points, in the full depth of occupied Palestine.

What is the message we sent? This is where our accomplishment and success lie. The message is clear: if you attack us, all your borders, all your soldiers and all your settlements, whether at the border, deep or at the very extremity of your entity, will be threatened and may be targeted by our response, absolutely and categorically. This does not pose any problem for us. And the courage and boldness demonstrated by the Resistance yesterday will be found in the future by actions much more courageous, bolder, stronger and more important. Such is the new equation.

Today, I want to say this to the Israelis: Listen carefully to what Netanyahu did by his imbecility and pettiness, and remember this date, September 1, 2019. Sunday, September 1, 2019 is the beginning of a new stage of the situation on the Lebanese border with occupied Palestine: as regards the defense of Lebanon, its sovereignty, its dignity, its security and its people, there is no longer any red line!

I now come to the second point. I already started to mention it on Sunday (August 25) when I declared that from now on, we would work on a new file on which we had avoided to intervene during all the past years, namely the Lebanese skies and its permanent violation by Israeli drones. I explained that it was only internal Lebanese considerations that led us to leave this issue aside, and that we constantly called upon the Lebanese State to solve this problem. But it has not been resolved. We have therefore established, and it is now irrevocable in the deterrence equation, that the Lebanese have the right to defend their territory, their skies, their waters, their people, their security and their sovereignty, and that we would take care of defending them. And so we opened a new field of action, namely to confront the Israeli drones in our skies. I say nothing more than that. I speak of the Lebanese skies. We have established and announced it clearly. The decision is made, and implementing this choice is now in the hands of our fighters on the ground, as for the first point. Since August 25, the decision to retaliate against Israel was taken and was in the hands of the fighters on the ground, to whom we announced that we were in no hurry: we wanted a clean operation, without any loss on our side, and that would restore the deterrence equation in our favor. The opportunity arose, they seized it and we re-established and strengthened the deterrence equation.

Today, with regard to the fight against Israeli drones, the same is true: the decision is made, and everything is now in the hands of our combatants on the ground. And I already explained how we would behave, what was our vision, etc., so I do not need to repeat myself [Hezbollah does not commit to shooting down all the drones, because that may disclose and / or exhaust all of its anti-aircraft defenses, but will act wisely and judiciously depending on the circumstances]. Tomorrow, someone will tell us, when the first drone is shot down – and this can happen at any time –, that we are putting the stability of the country in danger, pushing the situation towards a military escalation, etc. But it will be useless. Whoever wants, within the international community, especially the countries that contacted us before Sunday, Sunday and during the Sunday operation, I say to them now: whoever cares about the stability of Lebanon and the region must speak with the Israelis and tell them that the time of the violation of Lebanon’s skies with impunity is over. This time is over. There will be no more tolerance and we will no longer look the other way. Hezbollah will no longer allow the sovereignty and the skies of Lebanon to be violated. As for how we deal with it, it’s a decision that’s in our hands. But it’s our right. No matter how long it takes, it’s our right, and the way we act is just a detail. Of course, that’s part of our response.

Today, I declare that because of the death of our two brothers killed in Syria, and the two suicide drones in Beirut, our response began on Sunday, continued yesterday and will continue via the fight against drones. That’s what we decided. Naturally, we come out stronger from this episode of confrontation, with a stronger position. Netanyahu wanted to overturn the rules of engagement in Israel’s favor, and we stopped him. He wanted to break the balance of deterrence, and we strengthened it in our favor. This is the result, and that is the conclusion.

Anyway, the Israelis must know that all this was caused by the stupidity of this man, who has only one idea in mind, to win the elections at all costs in order to escape justice for the many corruption cases in which he is involved.

So we can say that this new stage of confrontation is over from the point of view of the new equation that it has founded. And in the future, the fight against drones will continue. And in case of aggression against Lebanon, there will no longer be any red line at the international borders and in the Palestinian territories occupied in 1948, to which will henceforth extend all our retaliations, which will no longer be confined to the Shebaa farms. All the limits have been removed, and everything is now clear.

I renew my thanks to God and to our fighters, whose response has confirmed and strengthened the equations, prevented the rules of engagement from being violated in favor of the enemy, preserved the achievements of the July 2006 war, as well as the dignity, the honor and the pre-eminence of Lebanon vis-a-vis Israel.

So much for this topic. I’m done with the political section of my speech. Pray upon the Prophet and his family.

September 8, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel Whimpers at the First Kornet Fired by Hezbollah

By Marwa Osman | American Herald Tribune | September 4, 2019

In the past few days, Hezbollah’s retaliatory attack and destruction of a small Israeli Wolf combat vehicle in the upper Galilee has made headlines in both Arab and international media. The attack was in response to the Israeli aggression on Damascus on August 24 resulting in the killing of two Hezbollah engineers and also to an Israeli drone attack on the capital Beirut, the first of its kind since August 2006, in violation of the “rules of engagement” that have been established between the two sides.

When the decision was taken by the leadership of the resistance to respond to the aggressions against Damascus and the capital Beirut, the Israeli regime was the first to consider that retaliation as inevitable. No one in the world believes Hezbollah’s promises more than Israel does.

Within a few hours, Israeli occupation soldiers embarked on a previously trained plan to evacuate all of its positions and bases along the area believed to be a supposed target for insurgents. However, there was no need to intensify pressure on soldiers and settlers to abide by orders, since it was enough for them to hear the words of Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah about Hezbollah’s promise to retaliate, prompting them to act impulsively, in line with their leadership’s decision and completely disappear.

The Israeli decision to evacuate all their military posts along the border, varying in depth from five to seven kilometers, effectively stole the life from territories on the borderline with Lebanon. The illegal colonial settlers, whose presence had declined sharply over the past decade in these bordering areas, were shocked to see that the soldiers who were supposed to protect them had fled their positions, leaving the settlers for their own fate.

Moreover, just as these settlers understood from their army’s actions that Hezbollah was preparing for a strike, they understood that Hezbollah ended its operation when the soldiers were seen returning to their original duties.

This is what happens to someone who has been struck by deterrence. To be deterred means to be afraid of everything around you. Not to trust yourself or those who are close to you or anyone who is supposed to protect you. To be deterred means to be aware that your margin of error is narrowing day by day. To be deterred means that you are fixated in front of your TV, waiting for an official statement from your enemy, to tell you when it is time to get out into the sun.

The Israeli occupation forces’ plan did not succeed in hiding the “real” targets from the resistance fighters who were monitoring the Israeli movements, from ground control points and via drones.

Despite the adherence of the occupation army formations deployed in the northern region to the orders of their command to evacuate positions along the border with Lebanon and freeze all inspection patrols, the Resistance managed to select the appropriate area of operations, and waited for the target.

At approximately 4 pm on Sunday, September 1, the Israeli Wolf multi-purpose vehicle was traveling on route 899 medium speed. The vehicle came from the eastern side of the settlement of Avivim, from the side of the Malikiyah settlement, to cross the back road down behind Avivim, and then turn around the area known as “Magayer Salha”, and up to the road next to the settlement of Yeron, which was the point of impact between the Wolf and the Kornet.

Hezbollah’s planned and precise response revealed the weakness of the Israeli fortifications and defense engineering, and the sterility of its plans, which it had intensified in recent years, with the aim of reassuring the inhabitants of border settlements and raising the morale of its occupation soldiers along the northern front.

Anyone who witnessed how strange the evacuation of the Avivim border military base was, which is responsible for the protection of the west within the area of ​​responsibility of the Galilee Division (91) deployed in the occupied Galilee and whose area of ​​responsibility extends almost 20 km from the borderline, would definitely be shocked to know that it is that same brigade that announced earlier this year the formation of a new reserve battalion, called the “gates of fire,” in order to defend the border area against what it called “the risk of Hezbollah fighters storming” the Galilee.

This time, perhaps, they did not have the opportunity to test the capabilities of the new battalion, because they had already fled, leaving the settlers to their fate, before any crossfire even began.

Marwa Osman is a PhD located in Beirut, Lebanon. University Lecturer at the Lebanese International University and Maaref University and former host of the political show “The Middle East Stream” broadcasted on Al-Etejah English Channel. Member of the Blue Peace Media Network and political commentator on issues of the Middle East on several international and regional media outlets including RT, Press TV, Al Manar and Al Alam. Writer in several news websites including Khamenei.ir, Modern Diplmacy, Shafaqna, Italian Insider.

September 6, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , | 7 Comments

Hizbullah Reminds Israel of Its Power

By Helena Cobban | Lobe Log | September 5, 2019

On September 1, Hizbullah fighters on Lebanon’s border with Israel fired two precision-guided missiles over the border, apparently hitting an Israeli “Wolf” armored personnel carrier (APC) and inflicting casualties of unknown severity on its occupants (see below). The strike came a day after Hizbullah head Hassan Nasrallah warned that the organization would retaliate for Israel’s killing, a few days earlier, of two Hizbullah fighters in Syria and Israel’s deployment of explosive drones against Hizbullah-related targets in eastern Lebanon and the capital, Beirut.

The Israelis responded to the attack on the Wolf by firing a number of rockets and artillery shells, seemingly at random, into uninhabited parts of southern Lebanon, with no casualties reported.

On September 2, Hizbullah released a video of the attack on the Wolf, which took place in broad daylight. The video shows Hizbullah operatives launching two guided missiles against a military vehicle, each of which causes a large explosion. Hours later, Nasrallah told his supporters that this cross-border action—the first since the extremely destructive Hizbullah-Israel war of 2006—represented a new stage in the struggle against Israel. He warned, too, that his fighters would henceforth feel free to bring down any of the scores of military drones that Israel deploys in Lebanese airspace each month.

Taken together, the events of late August through September 1 underscored that the situation of reciprocal (if highly asymmetrical) deterrence that has existed between Israel and Hizbullah since the end of the 2006 fighting remains in place.

This situation has significant impact not only for the peoples of Lebanon and Israel but also in the broader regional arena, in which the Israel-Hizbullah balance plays a key role. For though Hizbullah has always, since its emergence in 1985, been an authentic, indigenous Lebanese movement, it is also a key ally of the Islamic Republic of Iran. So if Israel, some parts of the U.S. government, and other regional actors such as Saudi Arabia are considering launching any significant military attack against Iran, then Hizbullah’s ability and willingness to join the battle by counter-striking against high-value targets inside Israel is a factor that anti-Tehran war planners have to take into account.

Iran does have, as I wrote here recently, a broader network of regional allies, of which Lebanon’s Hizbullah is only one part. But Hizbullah is unique by virtue of the special role its conflict with Israel plays in affecting strategic thinking and decision-making in Israel and elsewhere. Hizbullah, as everyone in the Middle East is aware, is the only body, governmental or non-governmental, that has been able to inflict significant military defeat on Israel—and not just once, but twice.

The first defeat became clear in May-June of 2000, when the Israeli military that had been occupying a strip of Southern Lebanon since 1978 simply pulled up its stakes and withdrew. The decisive earlier battle against Hizbullah that led PM Ehud Barak to take that decision had actually happened four years earlier. In 1996, Israel launched a scorched-earth attack against Lebanon that failed to either destroy Hizbullah or turn the Lebanese population against it. When Barak became PM, he judged, quite sensibly, that the casualties that Israel’s occupation force had continued to take in Lebanon since 1996 were all for naught.

In 2006, another Israeli PM, Ehud Olmert—who had far less military experience and military savvy than Barak—thought he would try his hand at diminishing the considerable amount of military and political power that Hizbullah had continued to accrue in Lebanon. With huge support from President George W. Bush and most European governments, Olmert launched another scorched-earth attack against Lebanon, once again aimed at either destroying Hizbullah or turning the Lebanese public against it. In the two years prior to 2006, there had been quite a lot of (Saudi-supported) anti-Hizbullah agitation in Lebanon, so perhaps Olmert hoped to gain advantage from that. If so, he failed miserably. Lebanese from all political and religious persuasions rallied strongly around Hizbullah.

That was not the only thing that went wrong with the war from Olmert’s point of view. Some three weeks into the conflict, it became clear that even the Israeli air force’s destruction of critical Lebanese infrastructure (gruesomely celebrated in Israel thereafter as the “Dahiyeh Doctrine”) could not force Hizbullah to cry “uncle.” Olmert and his advisors decided to send in Israeli ground forces. But the ground units all proved woefully ill-prepared for their task. It soon became clear that neither they nor the air force could stop Hizbullah’s well-trained rocketeers from continuing to fire missiles deep into Israel’s interior.

Thirty-three days into the campaign, both leaderships agreed it was time to stop. They negotiated a ceasefire through the mediation of the Lebanese government and the United Nations. The ceasefire’s basic structure was a return to the status-quo ante. All the Israeli troops recently deployed into Lebanon had to immediately withdraw. All hostilities and cross-border military actions had to cease. The United Nations beefed up its southern Lebanon peacekeeping force, which since 1978 had been a fairly ineffective presence along the border.

For Israel, the 2006 war was a crushing defeat—and for its ground forces, in particular, a humiliation. (One explanation for the three vicious assaults Israel launched against Gaza in 2008, 2012, and 2014 was that the country’s military leaders sought to regain from Israel’s citizens the high esteem they had always previously enjoyed—esteem that had been very badly dented in 2006.)

For Hizbullah, the 33-Day War of 2006 was unquestionably a victory, though one bought at a high price in the human and material losses suffered by all the Lebanese people.

The essential victory that Hizbullah won in 2006, as in 1996, was that it faced down Israel’s extremely hi-tech military and survived with its core military and political networks and its ability to inflict significant destruction inside Israel all intact—and without having made any political concessions. This is, of course, why Israel and its acolytes and supporters in the West all hate it so deeply.

In the limited military exchange that Hizbullah and Israel engaged in on September 1, the underlying facts about the reciprocal deterrence that has existed between them since 2000 were on full display.

For some years now, the Israeli military has been taking advantage of the chaotic situation in Syria to mount sporadic attacks against various targets there, including some that they claim are connected to Hizbullah or the Iranian military. At periodic meetings that Israeli officials have conducted with their counterparts in Russia, which has long been allied with the Syrian government, the two sides have sketched out rudimentary “rules of engagement” for such raids. In July, the Israelis extended their campaign to interrupt Iran’s export of weapons and advisors yet further, sending F-35s to attack two locations in Iraq that were allegedly being used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). In July, and again in late August, it struck at Hizbullah operatives inside Syria, killing at least two of them.

Of all the targets thus attacked, only Hizbullah retaliated directly against Israel. It did so in a measured and limited way that nonetheless served to remind Israelis of their continuing vulnerability to Hizbullah’s military muscle and military/political smarts.

Israel’s reaction to the announcement Nasrallah made on August 31, that Hizbullah “would retaliate” for Israel’s killing of its operatives in Syria, was intriguing. As was widely reported in the (always military-censored) Israeli media, the Israeli military ostentatiously announced that it would pull troops back from front-line positions facing Lebanon, in what seemed like a deliberate move to de-escalate tensions.

Israel’s responses to the Wolf attack, which happened the very next day, were also intriguing. Firstly, in the military sphere, its retaliation against Hizbullah/Lebanon was notably restrained, a fact that could perhaps be attributed to PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s reluctance to get Israel into yet another complex imbroglio in Lebanon with his country’s next general election coming up September 17—except that, in the context of, say, Gaza, Israeli leaders have often seemed to judge that launching an attack could be a valuable part of an election strategy.

Secondly, in the informational sphere, Netanyahu went out of his way to deny that the attack on the military vehicle had caused any casualties. The video that Hizbullah made and distributed of the incident seemed clearly to show that the vehicle was an APC, and that the two missiles that struck it caused massive explosions. Other news footage from inside Israel showed injured soldiers being carried out and evacuated to a nearby military hospital. But Israeli spokesmen, faithfully parroted by reporters from the local and foreign media—all of whom are subject to Israeli military censorship– described the vehicle as merely a military “jeep” and said the footage showing apparent medevac operations had been faked by the military, using dummies.

This strange claim seemed aimed either at reassuring Hizbullah that its operation had already “succeeded” enough that it need not launch any follow-on attacks—or, perhaps more plausibly, at damping down any desire Israelis might have had for a large-scale retaliation.

But throughout this whole episode, Israel’s leaders were still clearly signaling that they agree that “You don’t mess with Hizbullah.”

This has wider implications for the regional balance between Israel and Iran. One essential fact in that balance is that the alliance between Hizbullah and Iranian leadership goes far deeper than any mere coalition of convenience and is, in practice, unbreakable at this point. Another is that Hizbullah’s home turf and principal area of operations directly abuts Israel—and it cannot be defeated there. Remember, after all, that Hizbullah first emerged in the mid-1980s under the difficult circumstances of a harsh Israeli occupation of one third of Lebanon—and that it showed first, that it could successfully organize to throw off that occupation and, then, that it could repel the next big attempt Israel made, in 2006, to destroy it.

Much about the regional balance has changed since 2006. The biggest change has been the heartbreakingly protracted civil war in Syria, a conflict that weakened the Syrian government which had long been a key part of the Iran-led coalition and considerably weakened Damascus’s ability to protect the Syrian homeland from incursion by all manner of hostile foreign forces, including those of Israel, the United States, and Turkey. (Syria’s civil war has, however, provided Hizbullah and the IRGC with valuable opportunities to act and train in complex urban-conflict environments.) Another change has been a considerable weakening of U.S. military-political power in Iraq, with the diffusion of some U.S. military capabilities into Syria. All these changes—along with others that have taken place in the Arabian Peninsula and elsewhere in the region—undoubtedly affect the balance of power between Israel and Iran. But the inescapable facts, that Hizbullah can cause wide damage within Israel’s heartland and withstand the strongest counter-attacks that Israel can launch against it, still remain.

Veteran Middle East analyst and author Helena Cobban is a Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy and the CEO of both Just World Books and the nonprofit Just World Educational. JWE’s website Justworldeducational.org makes freely available to the public a variety of resources on war, peace, justice, and the Middle East.

September 5, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Facebook threatens to block Palestine news site for using the term ‘Hezbollah’

MEMO | September 3, 2019

Facebook has threatened to block the page of Quds News Network and stop its work on the social media site after it publishing news about the Lebanon’s Hezbollah, QNN told MEMO.

The threat came through a notice sent to QNN’s Facebook page as a result of the network’s coverage of the recent tensions on Lebanon’s southern border.

The network has been targeted by an incitement campaign, with efforts to remove its Facebook page, and several of the page’s administrators having their personal accounts deleted. Some of QNN’s posts have also been removed or temporarily blocked.

Commenting on the campaign, QNN said it will continue to perform its media mission and use all the available tools to deliver the voice of Palestine to all parts of the world despite the crackdown and hate campaign it is facing.

It said the attacks it is facing are part of Facebook’s targeting of Palestinian media organisations and aimed to please Israel which seeks to stop the occupation’s crimes from being exposed on an international basis.

“The recent threats are only a prelude to stricter measures which may include the deletion or blocking of Palestinian and Arab pages, away from the freedom of opinion and professionalism claimed by Facebook.”

Quds News Network was launched in 2011 as the first Palestinian news community on the social networking site, aimed at spreading a full picture of the situation in Palestine. It has over than 6.6 million followers on Facebook.

September 3, 2019 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | 2 Comments