Sunday, August 27, 2006

Hizbollah Beats Israel Loses Arabs

As reality starts to intrude into the Middle East Amir Taheri in Opinion Journal (Hat Tip: Ted Belman of Israpundit) notes that Israel and the west may have lost the propaganda war but Hizbollah has lost the Arabs. Lebanese Shiit Arabs.

The way much of the Western media tells the story, Hezbollah won a great victory against Israel and the U.S., healed the Sunni-Shiite rift, and boosted the Iranian mullahs' claim to leadership of the Muslim world. Portraits of Hassan Nasrallah, the junior mullah who leads the Lebanese branch of this pan-Shiite movement, have adorned magazine covers in the West, hammering in the message that this child of the Khomeinist revolution is the new hero of the mythical "Arab Street."
He notes this is fueled by a gullible western media (who would have guessed?) and a propaganda campaign from Iran/Hizbollah.
By controlling the flow of information from Lebanon throughout the conflict, and help from all those who disagree with U.S. policies for different reasons, Hezbollah may have won the information war in the West. In Lebanon, the Middle East and the broader Muslim space, however, the picture is rather different.
Which is what I have been saying for a while. Aftermath.
Initially Hezbollah had hesitated between declaring victory and going into mourning for its "martyrs." The latter course would have been more in harmony with Shiite traditions centered on the cult of Imam Hussain's martyrdom in 680 A.D. Some members of Hezbollah wished to play the martyrdom card so that they could accuse Israel, and through it the U.S., of war crimes. They knew that it was easier for Shiites, brought up in a culture of eternal victimhood, to cry over an imagined calamity than laugh in the joy of a claimed victory.

Politically, however, Hezbollah had to declare victory for a simple reason: It had to pretend that the death and desolation it had provoked had been worth it. A claim of victory was Hezbollah's shield against criticism of a strategy that had led Lebanon into war without the knowledge of its government and people. Mr. Nasrallah alluded to this in television appearances, calling on those who criticized him for having triggered the war to shut up because "a great strategic victory" had been won.

The tactic worked for a day or two. However, it did not silence the critics, who have become louder in recent days. The leaders of the March 14 movement, which has a majority in the Lebanese Parliament and government, have demanded an investigation into the circumstances that led to the war, a roundabout way of accusing Hezbollah of having provoked the tragedy. Prime Minister Fuad Siniora has made it clear that he would not allow Hezbollah to continue as a state within the state. Even Michel Aoun, a maverick Christian leader and tactical ally of Hezbollah, has called for the Shiite militia to disband.
Plus with a million Shia refugees in Lebanon people are bound to talk. Cell phones and internet. Revolutionary tools.
Mr. Nasrallah followed his claim of victory with what is known as the "Green Flood"(Al-sayl al-akhdhar). This refers to the massive amounts of crisp U.S. dollar notes that Hezbollah is distributing among Shiites in Beirut and the south. The dollars from Iran are ferried to Beirut via Syria and distributed through networks of militants. Anyone who can prove that his home was damaged in the war receives $12,000, a tidy sum in wartorn Lebanon.

The Green Flood has been unleashed to silence criticism of Mr. Nasrallah and his masters in Tehran. But the trick does not seem to be working. "If Hezbollah won a victory, it was a Pyrrhic one," says Walid Abi-Mershed, a leading Lebanese columnist. "They made Lebanon pay too high a price--for which they must be held accountable."
Note that Mr. Nasrallah is handing out good old American greenbacks (which may be counterfiet), not Euros, or Syrian currency, or Iranian currency. It must be humiliating to have to hand out your opponents currency to your supporters.

As I pointed out in The Bitter Taste of Victory: A few more Hizballah victories like this one and Hizballah will be out of business. A few more Israeli losses like the one they suffered in Lebanon and they will control all of Lebanon. Some victory. Some loss.
Hezbollah is also criticized from within the Lebanese Shiite community, which accounts for some 40% of the population. Sayyed Ali al-Amin, the grand old man of Lebanese Shiism, has broken years of silence to criticize Hezbollah for provoking the war, and called for its disarmament. In an interview granted to the Beirut An-Nahar, he rejected the claim that Hezbollah represented the whole of the Shiite community. "I don't believe Hezbollah asked the Shiite community what they thought about [starting the] war," Mr. al-Amin said. "The fact that the masses [of Shiites] fled from the south is proof that they rejected the war. The Shiite community never gave anyone the right to wage war in its name."
And you thought the Long Knives were out in Israel. Hizballah's declaration of victory may come back to hurt them seriously in the Arab world where truth is starting to pierce the fog and in an Israel burning for revenge for having "lost" the war.
There were even sharper attacks. Mona Fayed, a prominent Shiite academic in Beirut, wrote an article also published by An-Nahar last week. She asks: Who is a Shiite in Lebanon today? She provides a sarcastic answer: A Shiite is he who takes his instructions from Iran, terrorizes fellow believers into silence, and leads the nation into catastrophe without consulting anyone. Another academic, Zubair Abboud, writing in Elaph, a popular Arabic-language online newspaper, attacks Hezbollah as "one of the worst things to happen to Arabs in a long time." He accuses Mr. Nasrallah of risking Lebanon's existence in the service of Iran's regional ambitions.

Before he provoked the war, Mr. Nasrallah faced growing criticism not only from the Shiite community, but also from within Hezbollah. Some in the political wing expressed dissatisfaction with his overreliance on the movement's military and security apparatus. Speaking on condition of anonymity, they described Mr. Nasrallah's style as "Stalinist" and pointed to the fact that the party's leadership council (shura) has not held a full session in five years. Mr. Nasrallah took all the major decisions after clearing them with his Iranian and Syrian contacts, and made sure that, on official visits to Tehran, he alone would meet Iran's "Supreme Guide," Ali Khamenei.
At least they didn't call him a "Hitlerite" which would have been closer to the mark.
The list of names of those who never endorsed Hezbollah, or who broke with it after its Iranian connections became too apparent, reads like a Who's Who of Lebanese Shiism. It includes, apart from the al-Amins, families such as the al-As'ad, the Osseiran, the al-Khalil, the Hamadah, the Murtadha, the Sharafeddin, the Fadhlallah, the Mussawis, the Hussainis, the Shamsuddin and the Ata'allahs.

Far from representing the Lebanese national consensus, Hezbollah is a sectarian group backed by a militia that is trained, armed and controlled by Iran. In the words of Hossein Shariatmadari, editor of the Iranian daily Kayhan, "Hezbollah is 'Iran in Lebanon.' " In the 2004 municipal elections, Hezbollah won some 40% of the votes in the Shiite areas, the rest going to its rival Amal (Hope) movement and independent candidates. In last year's general election, Hezbollah won only 12 of the 27 seats allocated to Shiites in the 128-seat National Assembly--despite making alliances with Christian and Druze parties and spending vast sums of Iranian money to buy votes.

Hezbollah's position is no more secure in the broader Arab world, where it is seen as an Iranian tool rather than as the vanguard of a new Nahdha (Awakening), as the Western media claim. To be sure, it is still powerful because it has guns, money and support from Iran, Syria and Hate America International Inc. But the list of prominent Arab writers, both Shiite and Sunni, who have exposed Hezbollah for what it is--a Khomeinist Trojan horse--would be too long for a single article. They are beginning to lift the veil and reveal what really happened in Lebanon.

Having lost more than 500 of its fighters, and with almost all of its medium-range missiles destroyed, Hezbollah may find it hard to sustain its claim of victory. "Hezbollah won the propaganda war because many in the West wanted it to win as a means of settling score with the United States," says Egyptian columnist Ali al-Ibrahim. "But the Arabs have become wise enough to know TV victory from real victory."
If only Americans, Europeans, and Israelis were so wise.

At some point the disparities between TV and reality will become too great. That is when one of two things happen. World views collapse or insanity sets in.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

FROM CAROL HERMAN

I just love your blog! Gotta tell ya. You are tackling things people need to know.

While I'd like to add a comment about islam. Since I read an interesting piece today, up at the Winds of Change. Where he met a NICE Pakistani man, in the next cubicle. Who just came to work where he works.

While the Pakistani man does not go to the mosque. Talks about eating pork. And, was very friendly. What I took away from the story is a link on why so many men who know the "jibber-jabber" of the religious nuts is just garbage; it gives them something Western men don't get. DISCIPLINED WIVES. (You can do this without love. Just a sexual commodity. Where the wife is trained to OBEY. And, you get good food cooked, and nice babies, loved by the family, thrown into the bargain.)

I'm not so sure muslem men are willing to give this up.

The women? Illiterate women can't get out of this hole. And, women within "that" culture who opt for love, are killed by their dads, or brothers. And, no one pays a price.

It's worse than being a black slave. And, slavery, at least in the USA, has been ended. But not marriage contracts that doom a woman to being a goat.

Especially where the men see with their eyes that Western men suffer. And muslem men get no guff at home.

What's the solution? I dunno. Wouldn't want to be a goat, though.

And, I know my own grandma, maternal side; born in 1872, had been deprived an education. Couldn't read or write. BUT SHE KNEW HOW TO SURVIVE! And, she knew how to get her family to America; because it was seen as such a good place for the children.

Anyway, a "religion" that just keeps its women in shackles must have some weak points to it. But where?

Anonymous said...

I got here too late in the day to even focus my eyes...

...be back tomorrow to get the details...

Good stuff...

Anonymous said...

re: Carol Herman

God abrogated those 'Marriage Contracts' when God sent Baha'u'llah to give humankind the Laws for this Day...

Men/Women equal, though different: different and equal...

All races equal in the eyes of God...

...anyway, that's what Baha'is say, and they're dedicated to the Glory of God!

EmpiresFall said...

That was an interesting piece in many ways.

However, I differ with you on one thing: I don't think the Lebanese government is capable of throwing out Hezbollah, much less destroying them.

Even if they wanted to.

The gameplan of the new-style guerrilla organization is to hollow out corrupt and failed states and wear them as armor. That's what Hezbollah is doing. That's what the Iraqi insurgency is doing, the Taliban in Afghanistan, etc.

Once another organization begins to provide basic services over a certain threshold-- let's say it's 20%, to be conservative-- it gets entrenched to such a degree that it's very difficult to remove.

Remember that Hezbollah is a legitimate political party in Lebanon, as legitimate as any other. You may disagree, but again, they're providing services that the government is unable or unwilling to, so in a sense they're taking on the responsibilities of government. They have many, many supporters in Lebanon and outside.

And if you think their beating back Israel somehow translates into a loss in the hearts and minds of the Arab world, I really have to question your logic.

linearthinker said...

Here's a test. Let's see how much interest Beirut has in securing the Syrian border in coming days.

Arutz News Bulletin, 8-27-06

"Despite Israel's request, UNIFIL peacekeepers will not be stationed along the Lebanese-Syrian border to prevent arms smuggling to Hizbullah unless Beirut specifically requests it... This was decided at the UN-sponsored meeting on Friday."

Res 1701 specifically contained the qualifying language regarding Lebanese gov't request as a precondition for surveillance and interdiction leading to this decision on UNIFIL inaction. I don't fault Israel for requesting the UNIFIL action, but the decision was predictable before the "ceasefire" was begun. Inaction was built into the resolution. Let's see what Beirut does in coming days.

One of my points in comments at 'Long Knives' post. Who bought into the language in the resolution?

Mark in Texas said...

Lebanon is not going to be a safe and prosperous land connected to the rest of the world and full of opportunity for its inhabitants until Hezbollah is gone.

Hezbollah is not going to be gone without somebody getting rid of them. The Lebanese army can'd and the UN won't.

Therefore in order to get rid of Hezbollah it is going to take another Lebanese Civil War.

The good news is that Kosovo and Afghanistan have demonstrated just how effective it can be to have a modern air force on your side in a civil war.

Hezbollah is weakened. If the Israelis have their intel act together they will be making contact with the appropriate parties in Lebanon. Do the Israelis still have those warehouses full of Kalashnikovs they took form the PLO when they invaded Lebanon in the 1980s? In a day or so Israel could arm all the Lebanese factions that would like to be rid of Hezbollah. They could also deliver close air support to a campaign to drive the Iranian puppets into Syria.

The only question would be whether all the rest of the Shia are driven out of Lebanon the way that the Christians are being driven out of Kosovo.

Anonymous said...

FROM CAROL HERMAN

Mark, in Texas. You're onto something. Because the stuff built by nasarallah was not built to code, the Israels were able to pancake, and flatten buildings. These are uninhabitable. Leaving about a million Shi'a without roofs over their heads. And, many are fleeing backwards, again, into syria.

And, you're right. If it's going to be necessary in the future to make livings; livelihoods. Then a lot of arabs have to roll up their carpets. And, start again. That's what causes mass exodus. People don't usually hang around war torn areas; unless they can find work.

And, here's the puzzle. Among the Lebanese they can actually tell the differences between sects.

The Shi'a, through iran, had an outreach plan. But it's been given set-backs. Plus, while the MSM has its collective minds elsewhere, Israel has not totally evacuated positions in Israel. But they're working in very small units. And, I just read, today, that a very complicated bunker system, built towards the border; got blown up.

Also, if you'll notice, nasrallah isn't racing around, out in the open. A lot of the elites within hez'bolly-bola. And, in gazoo. Tend to avoid the sunlight. One day nasrallah may feel a laser light shining on him? He sure seems bent on staying underground.

Since everything ahead is still secret; and we only know what the UN reports to the MSM, what can you draw from this?

Again, the most recent stuff is that there's a "prisoner exchange" making the diplomatic rounds.

And, if some of you think this is risky business for Israel; I beg to differ. Israel gives the muslems so much when they're captured, that I read someplace, some palestinians were LOOKING TO GET CAPTURES. Teenagers who wanted to go to school. And, had no chances at all if they stay in gazoo.

I know it's counter-intuitive. But you win battles just as much when your enemies surrender; as you do shooting everything dead. Not just soldiers. But horses. Cows. Civilians. Getting your opponents to throw up their hands is a very clever approach. (Arik Sharon discovered this in 1973; when fully equipped egyptians threw everything away, and raced over to surrender.)

Really. Don't laugh. This was even true during WW2. germans preferred surrendering to Patton. Than to any russian troops! Heck, the russians had the reputations of beasts.

So, when you hear the news ahead, read a little between the lines.

As to the FOX "Islamic" converts who were just freed; they have to consider themselves lucky they weren't forced to divorce their wives, and accept new goats. Maybe, next time?

Up ahead, no matter what else happens, I can assure you Israelis aren't looking for the border with lebanon to open, so they can become tourists. The lebanese are as stupid as the french. Even when they smell bad, they don't think it will effect trade. While the tourist business slips off.

But, of course. The arabs won. Sure thang.

Joe Katzman said...

In the West, my bet's on insanity. A sucker's bet, of course, since the Left are well down that road already and have openly betrayed almost every single value they once claimed to champion. But I thought it was worthwhile to put the marker down.

Arthur Sherman said...

the problem starts with us, the Western people. We are too fearful to admit that situation is so bad, that this is a war for survival of our culture.While it is somewhere there, in Israel, we don't really care. It is like when hearing about any other disaster, AWAY from our homes, we say, "My Goodness!.." and feel even more comfortable here...Reminds me of that Catholic clerical during WW2 that said, "when they came for Jews, we were silent, since they came not after us; when they came for Gypsies, we were silent, since they came not after us,... when they came after us, it was silent, since noone left...".
And this reminds me of 2 British, one i do not respect, Lord Chamberlain, Lord "I've brought you the peace!.." - and Lord Cherchill, which said, "Victory, victory at any price!.."
People somehow try to push this away from them, not taking this seriously, hoping this will end like any other game - this is for real, here and now, and the end could be ours.

Anonymous said...

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