Guardian

Five years on: Guardian still tiptoeing around Hizbollah


Martin Chulov’s  July 12th article marking five years since the outbreak of the second Lebanon war is so anodyne in its omissions that it is positively soporific. Yes, the reader may be briefly awakened from Chulov’s Pravda-style descriptions of Lebanese construction work by the erroneous reference to Qana as a “biblical site” where Jesus “purportedly turned water into wine”, but apart from that the article tiptoes so cautiously around the issues at hand that it fails to inform its readers of anything remotely newsworthy or relevant.

“Summer has often been fighting season in the south. And in the densely wooded lands around the Litani, preparations have been made for the next war ever since the guns fell silent last time.” 

That is all Churlov has to say about Hizbollah’s flagrant violation of UN SC resolution 1701 and the UN’s turning of a blind eye to the process of its rearmament. No mention of an almost four-fold increase in the number of rockets and missiles held by Hizbollah since 2006 and the doubling of its forces. No reference to the known arms stores constructed in the heart of some 270 south Lebanese villages, turning the local population into automatic human shields or the extensive system of bunkers and other military facilities.

And above all, no reminder whatsoever of from where and how Hizbollah manages to rearm right under the noses of UNIFIL: Churlov’s only reference to Hizbollah’s connection to Iranian patronage is to state that via that organisation and Amal Iran has “dispense[d] hundreds of millions in cash to Lebanese who were caught up in the war” as though the Iranian regime were some sort of benevolent charitable organization.  

Hizbollah positions in Lebanon, March 2011

We may not know precisely when a third Lebanon war will break out, or what will be the incident which lights the touch paper, but we know that it will happen and that primarily it will be a war against Israel’s civilians, with Hizbollah now capable of firing several hundred rockets a day upon Israeli cities, towns and villages.

When it does commence, the next Lebanon war will come as a complete surprise to the somnambulistic Guardian reader who, thanks to articles such as this one by Chulov together with the Guardian’s disproportionate focus on the joys of the ‘Arab Spring’, remain safely and securely in the dark as regards the details of the complex internal Lebanese political situation, the rearmament of Hizbollah and the failure of yet another UN resolution to curb Iranian expansionism in the Middle East, as well as the true nature of Hizbollah itself.

Tehran itself could hardly have done a better job. 

44 replies »

  1. Speaking from the UK, there seems to be a real and increasingly surreal problem. People *talk* about “globalization”, but despite 9/11, 7/7, Madrid, Bali, Mumbai…nobody gets it. I keep repeating it to friends and family like some kind of desperate mantra: “What begins in Tel Aviv will not end in Tel Aviv”.

    Several months ago, I was having lunch with a very good friend. This person is highly intelligent, superlatively educated, and extremely successful in a high-profile, responsible career with elements of advising government. They are also a fully paid-up member of the British Conservative Party. When I mentioned during the course of varied conversation that Iran getting hold of nuclear weapons might not be the most radically fluffy and wonderful idea in the history of humankind, it was suggested that I was a “neocon” and “had become awfully right-wing”.

    It’s a fundamental disconnect. Even well-meaning, decent, intelligent, educated people do not see current geopolitical trends as having anything to do with them, personally. The whole thing is a game, theoretical mental masturbation….it’s all so very very far away.

    I’m not sure what anybody can do about this, what it will take for people to take this shit seriously.

    Widespread ignorance about the history of the Middle East, and the founding of Israel is probably part of it. A fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of radical political Islamism is another.

    I would like here to put in a plea for an end to the lazy and inaccurate use of the word “Western” in this discourse too. It isn’t the crazy islamist fundies vs “the west”. It’s the crazy islamist fundies vs *EVERYONE WHO ISN’T A CRAZY ISLAMIST FUNDY*. Let’s be clear about that.

    Black, white, brown, yellow, west, east, north, south, male, female, atheist, jew, christian, bahai, buddhist, hindu, sikh, sufi, wiccan, agnostic middle-of-the-road boring dude who wears slippers and does the crossword and worries about whales…..it doesn’t matter. We are all infidels. We are all corrupters and makers of mischief in the land. We are all dirty jews.

    How long can we afford to turn a blind eye?

    • We cannot afford at all to turn a blind eye Katya.

      I have experienced similar discussions to the one you had with people I thought knew better, the ignorance is appalling and dangerous and the Islamists and their useful idiots depend on that.

      We need therefore to change the discourse.

      We need to call out Jew-hatred when it masquerades as antiZionism; we need to own how insulting such things are to us whether or not the person means for us to be insulted or thinks that s/he is being insulting;

      We need to tell people when they are engaging in it and that we are not going to put up with it (and b*gger the consequences for friendships) and above all we need to peg away and educate the ones whose minds are still capable of taking in new information about that complex history of the ME conflict.

      We need to educate about the use Islamists make of our inclusive and pluralistic tendencies to sow their poison and turn people against each other and create and exacerbate cognitive dissonance in us about the way in which they carry on.

      And an excellent site to begin at is Citizen Watch which can be found at http://www.citizenwarrior.com/

      Another very informative article is at Faith Freedom International, called “How Islam Fascinates the West” You can find it at http://www.faithfreedom.org/articles/free-thought/how-islam-fascinates-the-west/

    • Israel is the only Middle East state with nuclear weapons. They do not admit to possessing them and have not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Moreover ther have been several times in the last forty years when the use of nuclear weapons has been a part of their wartime strategy (fortunately not activated).

      The overwhelming emphasis of Hizbollah military policy has been to attack Israeli soldiers – NOT civilians. On the contrary Israel, via the Dahiya Doctrine, adopted a policy of deliberately targeting Lebanese civilians and civilian infrastructures. This policy was continued in Gaza during Cast Lead.

      I’ll provide detailed references if anyone chooses to challenge these points.

      • Sencar – ” The overwhelming emphasis of Hizbollah military policy has been to attack Israeli soldiers – NOT civilians.”

        Sorry mate – it’s only 5 years ago and I’m not quite so senile yet as to forget having 4,000 rockets and missiles fired at me in 33 days.

        Oh, and please don’t bother with the trite “that was a response to IDF attacks” line so beloved of Hizbollah apologists, because that – to put it politely – is an outright lie. If you intend only to fight soldiers, you have no need of Fajar missiles.

        • ” The overwhelming emphasis of Hizbollah military policy has been to attack Israeli soldiers – NOT civilians.”

          Sencar, I agree with you . In the 2006 war, thousands of Lebonese killed are mainly Civilians, and there are still hundreds of thousands bomblets still contaminate the Lebanon soil. Hundred odds of Israeli are killed and they are mainly IDFs. War any where is bad, but the one who felt most victimize are those whose land is being attacked.

          • IKX, Then Lebanon should not let their land be hijacked by islamofascists and used as launch pads for attacks on Israel.

            I do feel sorry for Lebanon, a vassal of Baathist fascist Syria, which is a puppet regime of the Islamofascist Regime of Iran.

            Even UN troops are not powerful enough to eject Islamofascist invaders like Hezbullah.

            • sencrap said:

              “I can’t remember the last time anyone agreed with me here!”

              What better seal of approval could CifWatch want?

              sencrap, You’ll find more approval at your favorite alqada, hamass, hezbullah, jihadi, islamofascism promoting websites.

      • “The overwhelming emphasis of Hizbollah military policy has been to attack Israeli soldiers – NOT civilians.”

        I have just been spending the day in Safed. I was speaking to a potter who makes arts and crafts and he described to me in 2006 how terrified he and others were when missiles struck from Lebanon. There were no soldiers where he was.

        I recall speaking to my friend in Haifa in 2006 , when she cut the conversation as missiles hit the city.

        Sencar, what on earth are you talking about?

      • sencar,
        “I’ll provide detailed references if anyone chooses to challenge these points.”

        Ok I challenge all your points and look forward to reading your detailed references.

      • The overwhelming emphasis of Hizbollah military policy has been to attack Israeli soldiers

        Even after reading your innumerable lies I’m really surprised now. In my small town close to tyhe Lebanese border there were only civilians – the army concentarations were about three km from us. They have been targeted only twice during the war while we had more than hundred rockets launched at us. Naturally you accept the hamas definition that every Israely civilian is a potential soldier.
        I’m looking forward to read your detailed references.

        • Make allowances, Peter: sencar is a statistician who worked with Greg Philo whose anti-Israel credentials are beyond question. It’s hardly surprising that he’s blind as a bat to anything which contradicts the stats he “analyses”.

      • sencrap boldfacedly lied..,

        “The overwhelming emphasis of Hizbollah military policy has been to attack Israeli soldiers – NOT civilians.”

        Really?

        Snake Nasrallash differentiated between Israeli solidiers and Israeli civilians?

        If it’s not going to make your head spin like a top, care to provide clips, translations where Snake Nasrallah does so?

        And pulling a quote out of your lying ass isn’t good enough..

  2. Mind the Crap seems to have no ideas of his own about the recent past, always safely putting forward the work of someone else. Odd but not unusual.

    • One wonders what your original ideas are ……

      Israelinurse is quoting another article here – why don’t you accuse her of having no ideas of her own about the recent past ?

      I presented this Ben-Yishai article as a contrast to the Chulov article. I assume that an expert like you who has original ideas has heard of Ron Ben-Yishai …

      Try actually reading the article for once.

  3. We may not know precisely when a third Lebanon war will break out,…

    …but we will know it inmediately after the first shots reading the Guardioan online. The headline of the first page will be: We are all Hezb’allah now. (and ever after)

  4. Mitnaged
    It’s slowly starting to happen . Not in a big way , but some of the community are thinking beyond fun raising dinners and committee meetings and realize that it requires activists to get down and dirty with the haters and play them at their own game .
    Apart from the fiasco of the flotilla , there is the prospect of the UCU losing their shirt if they fail to back down from a pending law suit . Distilleries are being boycotted , and counter demos targeting the Bds brigade are starting to happen . The haters have had a clear run till now but things are changing

    • Yes, but in our wider communities there’s still a disconnect, played on heavily by Islamists, between what people see is going on and the meaning they make of it. In spite of all they see being played out in, say, the Islamic republic of Tower Hamlets, they somehow can’t believe it, or, where they can, they are prevented from acting against it.

      I hope that there will soon be in Europe the equivalent of Shurat HaDin, which conducts lawfare against Islamists in the same way Islamists use our own democratic laws against us. Too many Islamists are allowed to take advantage of European pluralism (or tendency to appease) and spread their hatred here.

  5. The war with Hezbullah considered by them as the greatest victory of the Arabs against Israel ever is seen by Israel as both sounding a warning – that the army had fallen into a rut – and as less than a resounding success, mainly because of the talentless, loud-mouthed triumvirate who ran it and who brushed aside the advice of the more talented and experienced.

    However, the war was fought on Lebanese soil only: a sign that although they were dug in to a depth of miles a distance of l kg from the border, the actual fighting remained on Lebanese soil. The attack on Israeli civilians was carried out by remote control, via rockets.

    The borders with Lebanon are much safer since despite the lackadaisical attitude of UNIFIL. The katyusha rockets that used to cross the borders and that kept the children of Kiryat Shmona sleeping in their basements for a generation are silent since 2006 and the ‘Hizballonim’ (Hizbullah toughs) though still seen across the borders, are much more circumspect than they used to be.

  6. I said I’d provide some references to my earlier post:

    1) Details of Israel’s nuclear programme and nuclear threats can be found here:
    http://www.carolmoore.net/nuclearwar/israelithreats.html

    The article draws on : Seymour Hersh’s book, The Samson Option: Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy, Random House, 1991, amongst other sources. Highlights include Golda Meir’s ordering of a nuclear alert in 1973 and the targeting of Soviet Union cities in the 70’s to deter Soviet support for arab states.

    2) The Dahiya Doctrine is set out in an interview given by the IDF Northern Command chief in 2008 here:
    http://www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/0,7340,L-3604893,00.html

    Essentially the doctrine treats all villages close to missile firing sites as targets for total destruction, including all civilians and civilian infrastructures, as in the case of the Dahiya area of Beirut which was flattened by the Israeli airforce in 2006.

    3) My reference on Hizbollah’s ‘overwhelming emphasis’ on targeting the IDF rather than civilians prior to 2006 is: ‘Hezbollah: The Changing Face of Terrorism’,
    by Judith Palmer Harik, published by Macmillan in 2005. Harik points out in some detail that: “During the course of Hezbollah’s 17-year struggle with Israel along the Lebanese/Israeli frontier in Southern Lebanon, it has never been established by any party directly involved (including the United Nations contingent on the ground) that the Party of God [Hezbollah] has perpetrated a single terrorist attack against Israeli civilians”. A limited online version of the book can be found here:
    http://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&lr=&id=GhaRWhOowCkC&oi=fnd&pg=PR9&dq=Hezbollah+use+of&ots=rKWEwhO0UZ&sig=PPElgFsgwKAagnj984MAeIABJbI#v=onepage&q=Hezbollah%20use%20of&f=false

    In July 2006 Hezbollah attacked an IDF unit of seven men, killing some and kidnapping two, who probably died later of their wounds. Israel responded by starting the 2006 war, escalating to a Dahiya style bombing and invasion in which many hundred Lebanese civilians were killed (official figures say 1191 but some of these were probably combatants). Only then did Hezbollah target Israeli towns with Katyusha rockets. 43 civilians were killed according to Israeli figures.

    There are many references to the Dahiya Doctrine’s application to Gaza during Cast Lead. Just Google ‘Dahiya Gaza’.

    • “In July 2006 Hezbollah attacked an IDF unit of seven men, killing some and kidnapping two, who probably died later of their wounds. Israel responded by starting the 2006 war, escalating to a Dahiya style bombing and invasion in which many hundred Lebanese civilians were killed (official figures say 1191 but some of these were probably combatants). Only then did Hezbollah target Israeli towns with Katyusha rockets. 43 civilians were killed according to Israeli figures.”

      That, Sencar, is simply untrue. Rockets were fired by Hizbollah at 9 a.m. on July 12th on places such as Za’arit and Shlomi. Five civilians were injured. Israeli army positions were also attacked. The cross-border attack and subsequent kidnappings took place almost simultaneously and the rockets were meant as a distraction.

      That war was started by Hizbollah. Nasrallah may not have intended it to escalate as it did, but he certainly started it.

      Incidentally, you may not remember, but on that very day the UN was supposed to be discussing the issue of Iran’s nuclear weapons…..until the handy incident on the Lebanese border kicked off. Terribly convenient – no?

      • “Rockets were fired by Hizbollah at 9 a.m…..the rockets were meant as a distraction.”

        I accept your correction on this point. My version was an oversimplification. I still maintain however that Hezbollah’s military efforts have overwhelmingly been aimed at the IDF whilst Israeli attacks on Lebanon have recklessly ignored harm to civilians (to put the most generous interpretation on their actions), and deliberately targeted civilian infrastructures (to be more realistic).

        • sencrap, What you conveniently leave out is that hezbullah PURPOSELY position their headquarters, command centers and firing positions IN CIVILIAN areas AND hezbullah fighters don’t wear uniforms but wear CIVILIAN duds.

          Dead HEZBULLAH FASCISTS are disingenuously portrayed as “CIVILIANS” by pro-islamofascist tools.

          And Hamss and Hezbullah fascists purposely surround themselves with children for use as propoganda tools.

          Again let Der Guardian publish the Hamass Charter and let its readers see the racist, fascist jihadi ideology first hand.

        • “I still maintain however that Hezbollah’s military efforts have overwhelmingly been aimed at the IDF”
          I always thought that “Shocked and Awe” was Bush words to Sadam
          It should be Nasrallah words to the Zionist, Never was simple weapons most effectively used to fight against Goliath War Machines, Merkavas . This is only possible if the users are all minded to defend their own Society against agressors.

  7. Sencar you said you’d provide “detailed references”, not a cut and paste job of various articles.
    Are all you sources as credible as this one?

    • I wonder why Carol Moore wearing a “Don’t Nuke Iran” outside of the White House in America…

      ignores the fact that Iran chants “Death to America” at rallies lead by the iranian nazi Ahmadinejad?

      Why does Carol Moore ignore the fact that Islamofascists are doing everything possible to trigger Armagedden?

      Carol Moore would look much better in an orange jump suit wearing opaque goggles.

      Happy Nakba and Death to the Islamofascist regime of iran.

  8. Your unflattering picture of Carol Moore tells me nothing. Challenge the content of her article if you have anything worth saying; or are you content to make ad hominem smears like so many on CifWatch.

    My posts on CifWatch contain more reasoned argument than most, and are usually backed by supporting articles. Should I transcribe the articles for you? Are you incapable of clicking a mouse button to follow up the reference? Do you want me to write a book?

    • sencar, I am still waiting for the ‘detailed references’ you offered to provide.
      Not articles from very questionable sources which amount to no more than opinion pieces.
      Thanks for your kind offer but I am capable of clicking a mouse, and I am also capable of differentiating between ‘detailed references’ and flimsy opinion pieces that have been ‘Googled’ to support a preconceived opinion.

      • Just tell me which of the points in my original post that you dispute (and why) and I’ll provide as much detaill as you can handle.

        • sencar

          you are trying to prove that Hizb’allah doesn’t attack civilians – linking to obscure and obviously politically motivated sources – for Israelis who are living in Northern Israel and personally experienced the opposite.
          You must be one of the guests of sanity’s polite dinner parties…
          BTW have you ever heard the murdering of civilians in Buenos Aires at the AMIA building by your beloved Hezb’allah?

          • Read what I said. I didn’t deny that Hezbollah has attacked civilians but rather that their record is mainly one of attacking the IDF (in Israeli occupied territory I might add) and that their switch to firing rockets at civilians was a response to much more damaging attacks on Lebanese civilians by Israel.
            Judith Palmer Harik, the source for my point about pre-2006 Hezbollah, is not an “obscure and obviously politically motivated source”. She is American Professor of Political Science, American University of Beirut, and thus well placed to provide information about Hezbollah and Lebanese politics. No doubt she has a view about the Israeli/Lebanese situation, but that doesn’t make her evidence inadmissable. It just places the onus on opponents to provide evidence to the contrary. She writes for a major publisher, Macmillan, who have a reputation to maintain and wouldn’t put out junk.

  9. Sencar, does that mean that the Jewish civilians they attacked are not “mainly” dead, then?

    I am sure those civilians under fire during the shellings of northern Israel during the last Lebanon war would be vastly comforted by your argument that Hezbollah “mainly” attacks the IDF.

    I am equally sure that the Lebanese civilians used as human shields by Hezbollah during that war because Hezbollah embedded its “brave” warriors among them would be similarly comforted.

    You are disingenuous profoundly insulting to the intelligence.

    See this at http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=7&x_issue=11&x_article=1158:

    “Nasrallah and Jews

    “Within a month of Nasrallah’s taking over as leader, Hezbollah (with the help of Iranian intelligence) bombed the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, killing 29 and injuring over 200. The next attack perpetrated by Hezbollah—again with Iranian help—was the bombing of the Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, killing 86 and injuring over 200.

    “The widening arena of Hezbollah’s attacks stemmed from Nasrallah’s perception that Jews anywhere are legitimate targets. In fact, Nasarallah has said:

    If they (Jews) all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide. (Daily Star, Oct. 23, 2002)

    “Shiite scholar Amal Saad-Ghorayeb analyzed the anti-Jewish roots of Hezbollah ideology in her book Hezbollah: Politics & Religion. In it, she quotes Hassan Nasrallah describing his antipathy toward Jews:

    If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice, I do not say the Israeli. (New Yorker, Oct. 14, 2002)

    “Nasrallah also incoroporates anti-Semitic rhetoric in speeches. For example, he has characterized Jews as the “grandsons of apes and pigs” and “Allah’s most cowardly and greedy creatures.” (MEMRI: Al- Manar, Feb. 3, 2006)

    “Despite his anti-Semitic invective, there are few references to this in the mainstream media…”

    Nasrallah and Hezbollah are typically Islamist in their conflation of “Israeli” and “Jew” and hate both equally.

    And my money’s on Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, above, as regards rigorous research. Your name dropping doesn’t impress me, particularly in the light of your talking up Greg Philo.

  10. “I am equally sure that the Lebanese civilians used as human shields by Hezbollah during that war because Hezbollah embedded its “brave” warriors among them would be similarly comforted.”

    Funny isn’t it that whenever Israel is accused of killing civilians on a grand scale they come up with the excuse of ‘human shields’. Goldstone concluded that there was very little evidence of Hamas using human shields but plenty that the IDF did so. Human Rights Watch found no evidence that Hezbollah used human shields:
    “In its strongest condemnation of Israel since last summer’s war, Human Rights Watch said yesterday that most Lebanese civilian casualties were caused by “indiscriminate Israeli air strikes”.

    “The international human rights organisation said there was no basis to the Israeli claim that civilian casualties resulted from Hizbollah guerrillas using civilians for cover. Israel has said that it attacked civilian areas because Hizbollah set up rocket launchers in villages and towns. More than 1,000 Lebanese were killed in the 34-day conflict, which began after Hizbollah staged a cross-border raid, killing three Israeli soldiers and capturing two others.”
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/hizbollah-did-not-use-civilians-as-cover-401638.html

    ““The widening arena of Hezbollah’s attacks stemmed from Nasrallah’s perception that Jews anywhere are legitimate targets. In fact, Nasarallah has said:

    “If they (Jews) all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide. (Daily Star, Oct. 23, 2002) ”

    I am not defending Nasarallah or commenting on whether he has expressed antisemitic views, just presenting information on what Hezbollah has actually done. As you probably know, Hezbollah denies responsibility for the Buenos Aires attacks. I have no information either way.

  11. Goldstone concluded that there was very little evidence of Hamas using human shields but plenty that the IDF did so.

    Maybe you should update your copy of the Protocols – Goldstone retracted his lies some months ago trying to save the remains of his reputation (unsuccessfully).

    Human Rights Watch found no evidence that Hezbollah used human shields:

    Really? After getting its funding from the Saudis or before?

    • Goldstone wrote a very short article apparently withdrawing one of the report’s findings – that the IDF deliberately targeted civilians (see my note about the Dahiya Doctrine above before you give any credit to this specific withdrawal). The article provides no evidence or valid reasoning for the withdrawal and Goldstone has refused to be interviewed about it. His fellow authors and the UNHCR itself stand by the report.

      Funding for Human Rights Watch is transparent and has been approved by key monitors. Charity Navigator gave Human Rights Watch a four-star rating, the highest number of stars possible. The Better Business Bureau said Human Rights Watch meets its standards for charity accountability. Human Rights Watch may have raised money from individual Saudis but not from the government; this is perfectly legitimate. It certainly hasn’t stopped them from repeatedly criticising the Saudi government’s human rights record:
      http://www.hrw.org/middle-eastn-africa/saudi-arabia

      • Yes sencar you must be correct. The founder of HRW left it with disgust probably because some of the staff members suffered from halithosis and couldn’t stand the stench…
        Saudi individuals?! Either you are so stupid that you believe this or you are so stupid that you consider others stupid.

        Funding for Human Rights Watch is transparent and has been approved by key monitors.
        Key monitors like the UNHCR? If they are so transparent why they tried to hide their Saudi connections – where BTW they tried to solicit money saying that they fight the Zionists?

        Goldstone wrote a very short article apparently withdrawing one of the report’s findings – that the IDF deliberately targeted civilians

        Obviously you diddn’t read his article.

        His fellow authors and the UNHCR itself stand by the report.

        His fellow authors – a well known anti-Israel activist, and a senile army officer without any experiance with urban warfare against non-state combattants.
        Go find some really reasonable arguments without bullshitting about some non-existent “dahiya principle”.