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June 26, 2013

On Hezbollah, The Washington Post’s Conspicuous Omission

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Sherlock Holmes famously advised those who sought his deductive assistance to be alert to the curious incident of the dog that didn’t bark in the night. A close relative to that complacent canine appears in The Washington Post’s “Sunnis, Shiites clash in Lebanon; Fighting in seaside town shows entanglement in Syrian war is growing,” June 19.

Post foreign desk correspondent Liz Sly’s final paragraph reads: “Under the peace accord that ended Lebanon’s 15-year civil war in 1990, Hezbollah is the only militia legally allowed to carry arms.” A conspicuous omission, akin to the silent watchdog Holmes suspected of knowing an intruder.

Three U.N. Security Council resolutions, all subsequent to the agreement The Post mentions, call for Hezbollah’s disarmament.

Resolutions 1559 (2004), 1680 (2006), and 1701 urge the Lebanese government to fully extend and exercise its sole and effective authority throughout the south and to "exert control over the use of force on its territory and from it.” The Security Council aimed these measures at Hezbollah, the party obstructing Beirut’s sole, effective authority and key extra-governmental armed force.

Resolution 1701 (2006), helped end that year’s Hezbollah-Israeli war. It requires, among other things, the disarming of all non-governmental groups in Lebanon. Like resolutions 1559 and 1680 it focuses on Hezbollah, the one remaining private military group [text of resolution at bottom of U.N. press release].

Two years later, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said “Hezbollah’s maintenance of a paramilitary capacity poses a key challenge to the government’s monopoly on the legitimate use of force,” according to an Associated Press
report (“U.N. chief calls for Hezbollah disarmament,” USA Today, April 24, 2008). Ban asserted “it is high time … for all parties concerned, inside and outside of Lebanon [meaning Hezbollah’s Iranian and Syrian backers], to set aside this remaining vestige of the past.”

Ban repeated his call during a 2012 visit to Beirut, only to have Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah immediately reject it.

The Post generally identifies Hezbollah (the Iranian-founded, funded, armed and trained Shi’ite “Party of God”) as Lebanon’s dominant political and “military” party. It usually calls its gunmen “militants.” It is one thing for the newspaper rarely to remind readers of Hezbollah’s 1983 destruction of the U.S. Marine barracks and embassy in Lebanon, 1985 hijacking of TWA flight 847, reported involvement in the 2005 assassination of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri, or its U.S. government designation as a terrorist organization. It’s quite another to state, without qualification, that “Hezbollah is the only militia legally allowed to carry arms.” Curious, and conspicuous.


Posted by ER at June 26, 2013 03:46 PM

Comments

"Post foreign desk correspondent Liz Sly’s final paragraph reads: “Under the peace accord that ended Lebanon’s 15-year civil war in 1990, Hezbollah is the only militia legally allowed to carry arms.” A conspicuous omission, akin to the silent watchdog Holmes suspected of knowing an intruder."

So, after CAMERA listed at least three instances, ON THE RECORD, which flatly contradict the above,
when will the Post publish a detailed apology?

The blood of our Marines, of the victims of air hijacking, of PM Hariri, and who knows how many other innocent victims -- that blood cries out for a deep apology and a review of the Post's fact checking. If, indeed, fact checking is the culprit, and not the Post's editorial policy...

Posted by: hypatia at June 27, 2013 04:28 PM

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