CiF columnist offended by Tony Blair’s characterization of Hezbollah as the root cause of instability in Lebanon

Chris Phillips’ CiF piece, “Lebanon: Blair’s other Middle East mistake“, about Blair’s actions during the 2006 Lebanon war, quite predictably had no patience for “simplistic” views about Blair’s characterizations of Hezbollah (and their sponsor, Iran) as the cause of turmoil in the region:

From Blair’s perspective this religious struggle defines the Middle East. He states: “To me, you can’t understand Hezbollah unless you understand the role of Iran; or understand Lebanon unless you understand Syria … or understand either country in its present state unless you understand the history not just of the region but of the religion, how it saw itself, how it had developed its own narrative, how it saw its own predicament.”

This includes a remarkable simplification of the Israel-Palestine conflict, which he claims “is used as a potent source of friction and war because of religious difference”. The impact of other significant forces, notably…imperialism, are conveniently sidelined.

(Oh yes, of course, Western “imperialism” is the root cause of the conflict.  How naive of me to think otherwise.)

There are very few places, other than the Guardian, that a “progressive’ could seriously doubt the nefarious influence of the Iranian sponsored Shiite terrorist group on Lebanon and the broader region.

Just for clarity, it should be noted that Hezbollah has been involved in the death of approximately three hundred Americans.

Further, as testimony to the U.S. Congress (by Jeffrey D. Feltman, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, and Daniel Benjamin, Coordinator, Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism) in June, 2010, demonstrated:

While Iran continues to provide a significant portion of Hizballah’s funding, Hizballah has also broadened its sources of financial support in recent years. Hizballah is now heavily involved in a wide range of criminal activity, including the drug trade and smuggling. It also receives funds from both legitimate and illicit businesses that its members operate, from NGOs under its control, and from donations from its supporters throughout the world. Hizballah also has established its own commercial and communications networks outside the Lebanese legal system that in essence rob the Lebanese treasury of the tax revenues that would come via legitimate licensing, registration, and tax reporting.

Hizballah’s destabilizing actions also have a global reach. The recent conviction of a Hizballah cell in Egypt for spying, plotting attacks on resorts frequented by tourists, and arms smuggling illustrates Hizballah’s growing regional reach and ambitions. In Iraq, we are also aware of Hizballah providing training and other support to Shia militant groups. As of early 2007, an Iran-based individual by the name of Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis formed a militia group, employing instructors from Hizballah to prepare this group and certain Jaysh al-Mahdi Special Groups for attacks against Coalition Forces in Iraq. Hizballah’s web also extends to Europe and diplomatic missions abroad, where Hizballah planned to attack the Israeli Embassy in Baku. While this attack was foiled, and the perpetrators are now imprisoned in Azerbaijan, these actions illustrate the group’s continued disregard for the rule of law, both inside Lebanon and outside its borders.

Time and again, we have seen that Hizballah’s weapons and Syria’s support for its role as an independent armed force in Lebanon are a threat, both to Lebanon and Israel, as well as a major obstacle to achieving peace in the region. Hizballah exploits the ongoing Arab-Israeli conflict to bolster its own interests and influence. The group claims to maintain arms in order to defend Lebanon from Israeli “aggression” and derives much of its popularity from its image as a “resistance” group. In truth, Hizballah is actively using the conflict with Israel in order to gain regional popularity and justify its vast arsenal, acting as a point of leverage in the region for Iran. One of Hizballah’s rhetorical points regards Israeli overflights of Lebanese territory. The UN Secretary General has cited in his reports on UNSCRs 1559 and 1701 that these overflights are a violation of UNSCR 1701, a resolution which we are all committed to seeing fully implemented. Yet there is an unmistakable connection between these overflights and Hizballah’s blatant and ongoing efforts to evade the arms embargo that is the essence of UNSCR 1701; Hizballah’s activities create the very conditions that Hizballah then uses as a pretext to justify its own destabilizing behavior, putting Lebanon at severe risk.

Hizballah’s insistence on remaining armed, aggressive, and unaccountable threatens important American interests and goals – especially our interests in Middle East peace and regional security, in containing the spread of destabilizing weapons and terror financing, and in a strong, democratic, and independent state of Lebanon.

Quite naturally, the piece by Phillips’ elicited reader responses arguing that Israel, and not Hezbollah, was the real threat to regional peace:

And, of course, who is and is not a useful idiot for radical Islam is wholly subjective.

Categories: Guardian

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13 replies »

  1. For CiF, Tony Blair is ‘heresy encapsulated’.

    I’m sure that Tony Blair wears that as a badge with pride. And he should do.

    From the pieces that I have seen of his book, I am more convinced than ever that the campaign by loonies to oust Blair, has deprived the UK of the best Prime Minister that it had since Churchill. He, more than the others around him, saw the world in real terms and identified radical Islam as the immediate threat to the advancement of mankind.

    That brought him into direct opposition to The Guardian/CiFillists who see the United States as the root of all evil

    It seems, going by the huge popularity of his book, (much to the chagrin of CiFillists), that Tony Blair has a great future in front of him.

    Through all the years that CiFillists accused Tony Blair of being Bush’s poodle, I always thought that this would be the other way round. In spite of Tony Blair converting to Catholicism, I see him as one of the truly great politicians of recent times.

    We have not seen the last of him.

  2. The impact of other significant forces, notably nationalism and imperialism, are conveniently sidelined.

    I was likewise struck by that and asked what exactly the author meant.

    The poster alJabhahalShabiyyah kindly responded in their stead – informing me that western imperialism is “the source of all the region’s problems”.

    Yes – ALL!

  3. Pretzlberg,

    I see you are still here, in this other home, hugging with fascist collaborator friends. And crying against principle opposition like al-Shabha at the time.

    You have no shame, you collaborator with collaborators.

    May your record follow you everywhere collaborating beneath rocks.

  4. This “Daniel” guy reinds me of a poster called “Joshua” and in turn of the CiF poster “alJabhahalShabiyyah”, who claimed that ALL the problems in the ME are down to Zionism.

  5. I am not. I first wrote here on article about lehi fascist this site was celebrating.

    I read this week you being chased by some other, not one of the ones you have writtn on the guardian aboutother fascist article on here. And here I have found you still with fascists.

    I do not have the words to chase you to guardian or to speak there on how I would like. but others do so very well. I will let others who can do. But it is known you are still with fascists. You shame will be know there too still with fascist here.

  6. you allso lie about al-Jabha she wrote “This, the destruction of the natural unity of the region by imperialism, which induced an abortion in the movement for the self-determination of the Arab nation in the East, is the source of all its problems.” very right. but no word for tsyionut apart from seperate as attack dog for imperalism.

    so you lie aswell when you stand with fascist.

  7. Pretzel

    He reminds me of an undermedicated patient at a closed ward getting on line on an unguarded PC.

  8. Not that our “undermedicated patient at a closed ward getting on line on an unguarded PC” would know: Al-Jabha Al-Shaabiyya means “Popular Front”, short for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine”. You can read about the civilians killed by those heroes of Danny boy here:
    Marxists (and Appeasers of Islamofascists) of the World Unite!

  9. peterthehungarian

    He reminds me of an undermedicated patient at a closed ward getting on line on an unguarded PC.

    That reminds me of things posted about ‘Gentle Hermine’ – the bitch.

  10. I note JRuskin’s response to the article, belittling the “fireworks” that the residents of Sderot and Ashkelon have to live with. I’d be very happy to give his home such a fireworks display. I would sit outside with a nice mug of mulled wine and watch JRuskin Fawkes burning on the bonfire too. It’s all such jolly fun when viewed from Hampstead or Putney or wherever he is.

  11. I don’t especially like Tony Blair. But I do agree with some of what he says about Lebanon and Hizbollah. After all, it is important to know the history of the various countries in the region. And Hizbullah and its Iranian sponsors have caused a great deal of trouble to Lebanon and Israel, and others. But as to the US role, the US never tried to counter Syrian, or Hizbullah or Iranian influence in Lebanon, as far as I know. And that’s a shame. Yes, of course, some writers at CiF do attack the USA rather unreasonably if not insanely. And I see the nice statement from an American diplomat quoted in the post. But the US has been a very weak reed to rely on in Lebanon, not to mention Israel and other countries in the ME.

    Now Pretz quotes from an Arab nationalist [of the PFLP??] to the effect that Western imperialism is to blame for all problems in the ME. Then in another place the same or a different Arab nationalist poster blames everything on Israel. Now which is it, fellows??

  12. Next time Hezbollah, make no mistake, Israel will be ready for you! They will obliterate Lebanon, lock, stock and barrel. When will the middle-eastern countries learn that Israel is stronger than you ALL together (just read the military history of the six day war). Israel is here to stay and inshallah will remain forever. Arabs make shit fighters, they always have done, the French and English empires saw you lot off no problem for centuries and continue to. Maybe Allah wanted it that way hehehe. Anyway, now that Hesbollah are privy to governmental policy and hold a veto power, its (undemocratic) government are responsible now, de facto, for hezbollahs actions. I pray they will stay prudent and keep out of Israels sight, for the sake of the decent Lebanese people, god bless them, I feel sorry for you all.