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October 11, 2012

Exposing Hezbollah's Role in Syria

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Over the last 18 months, intermittent reports have described Hezbollah's participation in suppressing the popular uprising in Syria. Reported burials of Hezbollah fighters have been explained away as fatalities caused by training accidents or by vague statements about fulfilling the duties of jihad. A report today in Lebanon's The Daily Star, however, reveals more information on the extent of Hezbollah involvement. According to The Daily Star article

Syrian rebels said they have detained 13 Hezbollah members and threatened to take the fight to Hezbollah’s stronghold in Beirut’s southern suburbs unless the party ends its support for President Bashar Assad’s regime. ... He said the FSA is holding 13 Hezbollah members in a village near Homs for their involvement in the Syria conflict.

It then quotes a commander of the Free Syrian forces,

"We [vow] to take the battle in Syria to the heart of the [Beirut] southern suburbs if [Hezbollah] does not stop supporting the killer-Syrian regime,” Free Syrian Army spokesman Fahd al-Masri told media outlets Tuesday. “They [the Hezbollah detainees] have confessed to killing and slaughtering [people] in Syria,” Masri said, indicating that most of the captives come from Baalbek and Hermel in the Bekaa Valley.

In light of Hezbollah's allegiance to the regime of Bashir Assad as it slaughters its own citizens, it is worth recalling supportive statements by some well-known Western radicals and anti-Israel activists for the Iranian-backed organization that, unlike other Lebanese militias, refused to disarm at the conclusion of the Lebanese civil war. These radicals expressed admiration for Hezbollah for its "resistance" against Israel. They ignored and were apparently unmoved by Hezbollah's role as subcontractor for Syrian domination of Lebanon, including its alleged involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri in 2005. Where are their denunciations of Hezbollah's alleged role in slaughtering Syrian citizens? The following are a list of some of Hezbollah's Western boosters:

Iconic radical professor Noam Chomsky stated in 2006 that

I think [Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan] Nasrallah has a reasoned argument and [a] persuasive argument that they [the arms] should be in the hands of Hezbollah as a deterrent to potential aggression, and there is plenty of background reasons for that. ( Al Manar TV, 13 May 2006)

Chomsky's praise for an organization that prior to its involvement in Syria, had long engaged in brutality against civilians - Israeli, Jewish and Lebanese - is not surprising to those old enough to recall his sympathetic stance towards the genocidal Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

Inveterate anti-Israel agitator and former professor Norman Finkelstein is another admirer of Hezbollah. He once offered praise of Hezbollah stating, "I did make a point of publicly honoring the heroic resistance of Hezbollah to foreign occupation."

Another professor promoting the notion of a positive transformation of Hezbollah from terrorist group to legitimate political organization is Stephen Zunes of the University of San Francisco, who wrote:

Indeed, the evolution of this Lebanese Shiite movement from a terrorist group to a legal political party had been one of the more interesting and hopeful developments in the Middle East in recent years. ... it appears that the movement as a whole had become another one of the scores of former terrorist groups and political movements with terrorist components that have evolved into legitimate political parties in recent decades.

The Guardian's Mathew Cassel portrayed Hezbollah as an admirable resistance movement.

Another Guardian contributor Ian Willliams eulogized Hassan Fadlalah, Hezbollah's spiritual leader:

There is no doubt that the Ayatollah Fadlallah was a modernising and progressive influence in Islam, much more "modern" than many of his Christian counterparts.

Then there is former U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, Edward Peck, a Gaza flotilla supporter and anti-Israel activist. When questioned in a July 2006 interview with Fox News whether he considers Hezbollah a terrorist group, Peck responded, "A terrorist organization is in the eye of the beholder." He then proceeded to equate the Hezbollah's raid into Israel, with the parachuting of American soldiers into Germany to kill Germans during World War II.

These are only some of the misguided statements made by Western activists who share an antipathy towards Israel and towards American policy in the Middle East. Could it be that their hatred of Israel and opposition to American policy blinds them or desensitizes them to the brutality of groups like Hezbollah?

Posted by SS at October 11, 2012 11:12 AM

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