The EU’s designation of Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation stinks of hypocrisy and propaganda (1).
Hezbollah didn’t claim responsibility for the bus bombing in Bulgaria which has been used to justify the designation. Al Qa’ida did (2). The Bulgarian government, a NATO member seeking US protection from Russia, has reversed its story twice on whether Hezbollah was responsible (3) – (6).
The US, British, French, Croatian Turkish, Saudi and Jordanian governments have co-operated to arm the nebulous ‘Free Syrian Army’ (FSA) and unspecified “more effective” groups who are supposedly “secular” (but then the British government claims the FSA is “secular” and anti-sectarian when the vast majority of its fighters are actually Islamist ; and some of them extreme sectarian Islamists) (7) – (19).
Many Syrian rebels, including FSA members, are responsible for car bombings and the assassination or torture and summary execution of civilians branded “collaborators” or who just aren’t Sunni Muslims (20) – (29).
Some of the arms NATO and the Saudis sent are already in the hand of Al Nusrah, the Syrian branch of Al Qa’ida, but not to worry the British government and the FSA says they guarantee they won’t let any more get to extremists when they send more and the FSA even promise to give all the weapons back after the war, despite its supposed commander having no control over his nominal officers, many FSA fighters taking orders from no-one at all ; and some FSA brigades being fakes set up purely to get arms to sell on (30) – (35).
NATO governments claim Hezbollah has no business being in Syria, but it’s no secret that the aim of the NATO and Sunni Arab dictatorships arming Syrian rebels is to break the alliance between Iran and Hezbollah via Syria, leaving them vulnerable to being picked off separately (36).
While Syrian army artillery have hit villages inside Lebanon before due to Syrian rebels and Lebanese Sunni militias crossing the border, Syrian rebels and Lebanese Sunni militias have also attacked both Hezbollah and Shia civilians inside Lebanon repeatedly, even before Hezbollah became openly involved in Syria (41) – (45).
The New York Times quoted one Syrian “anti-government activist” claiming rocket attacks on Shia areas of Lebanon were justified as they would ‘turn “honest and free shi-ites” against Hezbollah”’ and ‘“we are defending ourselves”’ (46)
In May film and photos emerged of Lebanon’s most extreme sectarian Sunni cleric and militia leader, Sheikh Ahmad Al-Asir, meeting General Idris, the nominal head of the FSA, in Syria. Asir has repeatedly called for Lebanese Sunnis to fight in Syria, organised cross border attacks by Sunni militias into Syria ; and had his militia fight Hezbollah and the Lebanese army inside Lebanon. (47) – (51).
(The picture at the top of this post, copied from Brown Moses’ blog, is Aseer, not a Hezbollah cleric)
Lebanon’s Christian politicians are unlikely to oppose all Sunnis but are likely determined not to suffer the way Iraqi and Syrian Christians have. Sunni extremist militias and terrorist groups have run riot in Iraq since the invasion. There and in Syria since the uprising they’ve killed Iraqi and Syrian Christians and forced huge numbers to flee as refugees (53) – (54).
NYT 25 Feb 2013 ‘Saudis Step Up Help for Rebels in Syria With Croatian Arms’,
(8) = NYT 24 Mar 2013 ‘Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From C.I.A.’,
(13) = ‘The FSA Doesn’t Exist’ by Professor Aron Lund of the Swedish Institute for International Affairs, http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/the-free-syrian-army-doesnt-exist/
(14) = BBC Democracy Live 11 Jul 2013 ‘MPs call for parliamentary consent before arming Syria’, http://www.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/house-of-commons-23274091
(15) = On the FSA being overwhelmingly Sunni and Islamist go tothe blog post on this link and scroll down to sources (37) to (39) at the bottom of it
(16) = CBC News 07 Dec 2012 ‘Free Syrian Army an uneasy mix of religious extremes’
http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2012/12/06/f-vp-bedard-syrian-rebels.html (scroll down to sub-heading ‘Abandoning Secularism’)
(17) = Syria Comment 03 Apr 2013 ‘Sorting out David Ignatius’, by Around Lund, http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/sorting-out-david-ignatius/
(18) = Swedish Institute of International Affairs UIBrief No.13 , Sep 2012, ‘Syrian Jihadism’, by Aron Lund, http://www.ui.se/upl/files/77409.pdf , pages 10 to 17
(19) = UNoCHA IRIN news 13 May 2013 ‘"Sometimes you cannot apply the rules" - Syrian rebels and IHL’, http://www.irinnews.org/printreport.aspx?reportid=98021
(20) = Reuters 23 Dec 2011 'Analysis: Syria bombings signal deadlier phase of revolt', http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/23/us-syria-bombings-idUSTRE7BM18T20111223 , 'Beirut-based commentator Rami Khouri said he doubted the government would have hit its own security targets, suggesting that the bombings could have been the work of armed rebels,....Hilal Khashan, political science professor at the American University of Beirut, also said he did not believe that the Syrian government was behind the bombings’
(21) = New York Times 10 May 2012 'Dozens Killed in Large Explosions in Syrian Capital', http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/11/world/middleeast/damascus-syria-explosions-intelligence-headquarters.html?pagewanted=all ; 'Twin suicide car bombs that targeted a notorious military intelligence compound shook the Syrian capital, Damascus… with the Health Ministry putting the toll at 55 dead and nearly 400 wounded — civilians and soldiers. '
(22) = Voice of America 22 Feb 2013 ‘Death Toll Rises in Damascus Blasts’,
‘A Syrian expatriate rights group says a series of bombings in Damascus has killed at least 83 people …Most of the victims are said to be civilians, including many children from a nearby school, with 17 of the dead reported to be members of the security forces.’
(23) = BBC News 11 Jun 2013 ‘Syria crisis: Damascus hit by double 'suicide bombing'’,
(24) = USA Today 09 Jun 2013 ‘Large car bombs increasing in Syria’, http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2013/06/09/syria-ieds-bombs-hezbollah/2401851/
(25) = AP 27 May 2013 ‘Pro-government Syrian journalist Yara Abbas killed in action’, http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57586279/pro-government-syrian-journalist-yara-abbas-killed-in-action/
(26) = Atlantic Wire 26 May 2012 ‘Pro-Regime Iranian Journalist Killed by Syrian Rebels’,
(27) = BBC News 27 Jun 2012 ‘Gunmen 'kill seven' at Syrian pro-Assad Ikhbariya TV’,
(28) = Human Rights Watch 20 Mar 2012 ‘Syria: Armed Opposition Groups Committing Abuses - End Kidnappings, Forced Confessions, and Executions’, http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/03/20/syria-armed-opposition-groups-committing-abuses (esp 1st para, 2nd sentence ‘Abuses include kidnapping, detention, and torture of security force members, government supporters, and people identified as members of pro-government militias, called shabeeha…. executions by armed opposition groups of security force members and civilians.’ – also see under sub-heading ‘Torture’)
(29) = Amnesty International 14 Mar 2013 ‘Syria: Summary killings and other abuses by armed opposition groups’, http://www.amnesty.org/fr/library/asset/MDE24/008/2013/en/21461c90-3702-4892-aa3c-4974bba54689/mde240082013en.html
(30) = CBS News 28 Mar 2013 ‘AP: "Master plan" underway to help Syria rebels take Damascus with U.S.-approved airlifts of heavy weapons’ , http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57576722/ap-master-plan-underway-to-help-syria-rebels-take-damascus-with-u.s.-approved-airlifts-of-heavy-weapons/ ;
see 16th and 17th paragraphs which read ‘In spite of the U.S. coordination…there is little… evidence…that all the new, powerful weapons are going to groups which have been carefully vetted by the U.S….Many videos have appeared online showing militants from the various Islamic extremist rebel factions -- including Jabhat al-Nusra, which the U.S. has officially labeled a foreign terrorist group -- with such weapons in recent weeks.’
(31) = guardian.co.uk 17 Jun 2013 ‘Arms for Syrian rebels won't fall into extremist hands, says William Hague’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/17/arms-syrian-rebels-william-hague
(32) = Times 12 Jul 2013 ‘Syrian rebels will return arms at end of uprising, says minister’, http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/news/politics/article3814566.ece
(33) = NYT 01 Mar 2013 ‘Syrian Rebel Leader Deals With Ties to Other Side’,
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/02/world/middleeast/syrian-rebel-leader-deals-with-old-ties-to-other-side.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1& ; 26th to 27th paragraphs ; ‘Many rebel battalion commanders were civilians before the uprising. Having organized a brigade from men in their villages, they balk at taking orders and refuse to coordinate attacks…“They want everything from the chief of staff — weapons, ammunition, money,” General Idris said. “But if you ask them what did you do with the ammunition and weapons, and how did you spend the money, well, they don’t like any commander to ask them what they are doing. But we cannot work in this way.”’
(34) = CBC News 07 Dec 2012 ‘Free Syrian Army an uneasy mix of religious extremes’
http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/story/2012/12/06/f-vp-bedard-syrian-rebels.html ( once on the page scroll down to sub-heading ‘Abandoning Secularism’ ‘When probed about the FSA and how it operates, he asks, "Do you want the truth or the storyline?"…"The FSA and the coalition is only ink on paper," he says, elaborating that it's more of an image created to present a united front for foreign governments…Abu Mohammad wants to be clear that he takes orders from no one.’
(35) = NYT 24 Mar 2013 ‘Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From C.I.A.’,
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/25/world/middleeast/arms-airlift-to-syrian-rebels-expands-with-cia-aid.html?pagewanted=all ; see 18th and 19th paragraphs ‘Two other commanders, Hassan Aboud of Soquor al-Sham and Abu Ayman of Ahrar al-Sham, another Islamist group, said that whoever was vetting which groups receive the weapons was doing an inadequate job...“There are fake Free Syrian Army brigades claiming to be revolutionaries, and when they get the weapons they sell them in trade,” Mr. Aboud said.’
(36) = Jerusalem Post / Reuters 14 Nov 2011 'Syria urges Arab League to reconsider suspension',http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=245466 ; see paragraphs 5,8 and 9
‘Gabriel Ben-Dor, director of national security studies at the University of Haifa…Ben-Dor said the decision should also be viewed within the context of Arab and Western attempts to contain an emboldened Iran believed to be pursuing nuclear weapons….“They’re hoping to dismantle the axis of Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, and to somehow weaken this entire coalition…The Arab bloc’s suspension, he added, “is an attempt to isolate Iran even more by depriving it of its only major ally in the Middle East.”
(37) = AP 02 Jun 2013 ‘Hezbollah, Syrian rebels in worst clash in Lebanon’,
8th paragraph ‘From Saturday night into Sunday, Hezbollah encircled and ambushed Syrian rebels and allied Lebanese fighters whom they suspected of rocketing Baalbek, a Lebanese security official said.’
(38) = BBC News 18 Jun 2013 ‘Lebanese families drawn into Syrian conflict’,
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-22938132 (scroll down to second bolded sub-heading ‘Spectre of civil war’)
(39) = NYT 09 Dec 2012 ‘Sectarian Conflict Kills at Least 17 in Northern Lebanon in Spillover of Syrian Civil War’, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/10/world/middleeast/syria-conflict-spills-over-to-northern-lebanon.html?_r=0 ; see 5th paragraph, 1st sentence ‘The latest conflict began after a number of Sunni fighters from northern Lebanon were killed in an ambush by pro-government forces as they tried to enter Syria to join opposition fighters.’
(40) = Independent 10 Jun 2013 ‘Robert Fisk: The Lebanese army fears rise of the Sunni Muslim Salafists’,
http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-the-lebanese-army-fears-rise-of-the-sunni-muslim-salafists-8652931.html ; 2nd paragraph, 1st sentence ‘What the Lebanese army is not saying on the record – but which it acknowledges privately – is that large numbers of “Syrian” rebels are in fact Lebanese. They are being brought home to Lebanon to be buried’ ; 5th paragraph, 3rd & 4th sentences ‘A Sunni anti-Assad rebel fighter from Baalbek, Hussein Dergham, for example, was killed in defence of Qusayr and has been brought home for burial. Three other Lebanese Sunni men from Baalbek were killed in a suburb of Qusayr’ ; also see 10th paragraph on atrocities against civilians by Lebanese Sunni extremists in Syria
(41) = Independent 28 May 2013 ‘Robert Fisk: ‘We ran up to the roof. That was when the second missile killed Loulou’: Lebanon is counting the cost in human lives of the Syrian conflict’,
(42) = AAP 28 May 2013 ‘Woman dies as Syria shells hit Lebanon’, http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/world/one-dead-as-syria-shells-hit-lebanon/story-e6frfkui-1226651796364
(43) = Bloomberg 23 Apr 2013 ‘Hezbollah Says Syrian Rebel Threat Creates a ‘Moral’ Duty’,
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-22/lebanon-defense-a-duty-after-army-failure-hezbollah-says.html ; 2nd & 3rd paragraphs ‘Nabil Qawooq’s remarks…a day after the Shiite border town of Hermel in Lebanon’s northeast came under rocket fire from Syria…without causing casualties, the Lebanese Army said in an April 21 statement…Prior to the attack, residents in the nearby village of al- Qasr received text messages warning that the Free Syria Army, …would bombard the two communities, the Daily Star reported.’
(44) = NYT 26 May 2013 ‘Hezbollah Areas in Beirut Are Hit’,
(45) = NYT 03 Jun 2013 ‘Hezbollah and Rebels of Syria in Border Fight’,
6th to 8th paragraphs ‘But in recent weeks, shells and rockets have fallen indiscriminately on Shiite areas of Lebanon, killing at least three people and suggesting that rebel groups were also willing to punish civilians in Hezbollah strongholds. On Friday, more than a dozen shells landed on the outskirts of Baalbek and gunmen fired on a Shiite shrine. On Saturday, a rocket landed in the Shiite-majority village of Hermel, according to Lebanon’s National News Agency…A Syrian antigovernment activist, Jad al-Yamani, speaking from the outskirts of the besieged Syrian city of Qusayr, defended the rebel attacks on Lebanon, saying that they were justified because they would turn what he called “honest and free Shiites” against Hezbollah…“We are defending ourselves here, and those who criticize us are not in our shoes,” he said.’
(46) = NYT 03 Jun 2013 ‘Hezbollah and Rebels of Syria in Border Fight’,
(47) = Brown Moses blog 01 May 2013 ‘Brigadier General Salim Idris And Lebanese Cleric Sheikh Ahmad Al-Aseer Take A Trip To Syria’, http://brown-moses.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/brigadier-general-salim-idris-and.html
Jamestown Foundation Terrorism Monitor Volume: 11 Issue: 10 , 17 May 2013,
‘Lebanese Salafist Cleric Organizes Militia Forays into Syria’, http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[swords]=8fd5893941d69d0be3f378576261ae3e&tx_ttnews[any_of_the_words]=Zambelis&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=40891&tx_ttnews[backPid]=7&cHash=65e3faaedab7e0ec78e7a0b9352abdc2#.Ue6aKG3_G0g
(49) = AP 24 Jun 2013 ‘Lebanon: clashes between army and supporters of Sunni cleric continue’,
(53) = New York Times 08 May 2007 'The assault on Assyrian Christians', http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/08/opinion/08iht-edisaac.1.5618504.html(54) = Independent 02 Nov 2012 ‘The plight of Syria's Christians: 'We left Homs because they were trying to kill us'’, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/the-plight-of-syrias-christians-we-left-homs-because-they-were-trying-to-kill-us-8274710.html