– By Alexander Azadgan
(First published on United World International on April 4, 2019)
Not much to our surprise, on Monday February 26th, we learned that United Kingdom finally blacklisted the political wing of the Lebanese resistance movement known as Hezbollah, literally meaning, “The Party of God”, in Arabic.
The Neocons who are now back in power in Washington are driven by a pathological obsession against Iran and its ally Hezbollah. These people failed in Iraq under Cheney and Bush Jr. They failed in Syria under the Neolib Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton. And now they have successfully lobbied the British government to obediently follow Washington and Tel Aviv in re-visiting another one of their pathological obsessions which is to tilt and destroy the delicate balance of power in Lebanon, in this case Hezbollah, for playing an extremely crucial part in the Lebanese political make-up. Of course, the blacklisting of the political wing of Hezbollah is not just ideological. It is fully driven by an underlying economic bullying intent.
The Washingtonian Israeli lobby is clearly behind the UK blacklisting of Hezbollah now that they have one of their own time-cherished hatchet men, John Bolton, as President Trump’s new NSA (National Security Advisor) who works very closely with the Israelis and the personage of Benjamin Netanyahu. This indicted belligerent prime minster who’s in all sorts of financial and political upheaval ahead of the upcoming April elections in Israel along with his cabal of equally – if not worst – Zionist supremacists were the hidden hand and the puppet masters in lobbying the British government to rule against the political wing of Hezbollah, especially since their recent (February 13-15) Iran-bashing Warsaw Conference which was really a sham and a circus, if you closely evaluate it, diplomatically and academically.
Regardless, the Israelis have been emboldened by this conference and with a Zionist lackey like Donald Trump in the White House, they even took this further by finalizing their decades-long lobbying of Washington to officially recognize the 1967 annexed Syrian Golan Heights and make it their own.
But before I delve into the heart of the matter, it is incumbent of me to point out the numerous inconsistencies, and in fact blatant hypocrisy, of some of our other European counterparts, France in particular, who also happen to have been the brutal colonialist force both in Lebanon as well as Syria in the post-Ottoman years following WWI in the Middle East.
As far as Hezbollah, any serious academic discussion would be null and void if Iran [and the terrorist groups acting against Iran] are left out of the analysis. As such, if Hezbollah is regarded as a “terrorist” organization by some European nations, and may I add that I am not necessarily an advocate of some of their methods, why is France aiding, supporting, and hosting (with Washington’s full consent) the political wing of an actual terrorist group called MKO/ MEK, short for Mujahedeen-e Khalq Organization who explicitly and openly operate out of Paris with their military wing now in Albania after having being expelled from their Camp Ashraf and Washington’s Camp Liberty in Iraq? Why is such blatant explicit hypocrisy tolerated? Anyone who has traveled through most European capitals, at one point or another if keen enough, has run into MKO fundraising tables of this terrorist organization. They usually camp out in hustling and bustling city centers of many European cities. They spread their misinformation and propaganda with their large poster boards and anti-Iran literature.
The call for “regime change” in Iran is not a new phenomenon. It is a broken record that has been playing for over 40 years now. But contrary to international law, norms, values, and beliefs, the frequent congregating of criminal neocons (is there any other kind?) such as John Bolton, Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, etc. at the price of $150,000 per lecture, in case of Giuliani, is now openly taking place at phony MKO rallies in Paris. Why is there such a deafening silence among reasonable Washingtonian policymakers when it comes to MKO, but such open hostility towards Hezbollah? Who is really behind this profound cognitive dissonance among geo-politicians in Brussels, Washington, and London when it comes to this cultish, mercenary, terrorist group, i.e. MKO? Why is Hezbollah always singled out? Besides, Hezbollah is not just a political party or a resistance movement, but a combination of both. They have a political wing, a military wing, and an economic wing. They have built a respective place in Southern Lebanon and carry a lot of clout across the Sunni Arab world, albeit they are Shiites and supported by Iran. Hezbollah runs hospitals, clinics, schools, as well as agricultural centers that provide farmers with technical assistance, training, etc.
Of course, we do not suffer from naiveté. As mentioned, Hezbollah is supported by Iran and is its valuable ally in the Levant. So, naturally they would be condemned (and blacklisted) for putting up a formidable resistance against Israel. Meanwhile, MKO is covertly being operationally-supported within the deep state in Israel, i.e. Mossad and the Likud Party. In fact, Israel is hedging their position by supporting both MKO terrorists as well as what we would have hoped by now to be fossilized Iranian monarchists who are having a resurgence these days in certain circles in Washington, primarily by a powerful group of chicken hawks who are under an umbrella of what is called, “The Iran Project”. The so-called “Iran Project” senators, congressmen, and their CIA affiliates are also ardent supporters of the aforementioned MKO terrorist group. Even though it is well documented that MKO terrorists murdered at least two American military personnel in Iran in the early 1970s, the European Union, Canada, and Washington no longer list this vicious cult as a terrorist organization. En contraire, as of June 2004, Washington designated the members of this terrorist organization as “protected persons” under the Geneva Convention IV relative to the “Protection of Civilian Persons in the Time of War.” (T. De Boer, M. Zieck 2014, “From Internment to Resettlement of refuges: On US Obligations Towards MEK Defectors in Iraq”).
Back to Hezbollah, yes, it is correct that hostility to Israel is the party’s main platform, especially since May 2000 when the last remnants of Israeli occupying forces were expelled out of Lebanon, due immensely because of Hezbollah’s prowess. Albeit of the Shiite persuasion within Islam, most of the Arab and Muslim world, Wahabis and Salafis excluded, see Hezbollah as a respectable resistance and a social movement more powerful than the Lebanese government itself. The popularity of Hezbollah across the Arab world for standing up to Israel, not just in the Shia world but more in a pan-Arabist way, is rather impressive. Even the Lebanese Prime Minister Sa’ad Hariri recently [but in a subtle fashion] sided with Hezbollah in condemning and registering a formal complaint against Israel for frequently violating the Lebanese airspace.
Let’s focus on Hezbollah’s role in Syria and its consequential role in the UK blacklisting it all these years later. During the NATO/ Saudi/ Qatari/ UAE siege of parts of Syria vis-à-vis their ISIS and Al-Nusra proxies, more than 10,000 Hezbollah soldiers were involved in that imposed war to expel the aforementioned terrorist groups. What Syria suffered from, during 2011-2018, wasn’t just a civil war, although in 2011 it certainly exhibited symptoms of a civil war and to some extend it was. But that scenario soon devolved into a foreign imposed war, launched in the Special Forces camps deep within Jordan where ISIS was trained and also where Israeli Mossad agents and CIA operatives were tremendously involved. This virus was then unleashed in the city of Raqqa in Northern Syria, relatively near the border with Turkey and strategically located next to the crucial Euphrates River. From there it spread like the Bubonic Plague into Iraq and at one point very dangerously reaching Baghdad. Had it not been for what was left of the official Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and later Hezbollah [on the West] and the remarkable effort of the Iranian military advisors and Iraqi regular army and militia forces followed later on by Iran’s IRGC Quds Force commandos [on the East], both Iraq and Syria may have been lost. Estimates suggest anywhere from 1,000 to 4,000 Hezbollah soldiers lost their lives in Syria.
It is my firm academic opinion that the approach to simplify NATO/ Washington/ Saudi Arabia’s war in Syria (and Hezbollah’s role in it) in terms of sectarian divide is a major oversight and fallacy. Are there tremendous tensions and major disagreements between various neighborhoods in Beirut? Yes. Are some of these Shia verses Sunni sectarianisms? Yes. On a wider regional scale, wouldn’t it be more accurate that this conflict be characterized as a clash between universal Islam verses a death cult within Islam called Wahabism/ Salafism? Yes, and perhaps time will prove this. Is the argument that Iran, Iraq, Syria, and the Lebanese Hezbollah fueled the war in Syria correct? No, it is not. These countries’ efforts were defensive to begin with. Iran did not draw first blood in Syria by asking Hezbollah to enter the STO (the Syrian Theatre of Operation). It was Saudi Arabia and its coalition that unleashed hell in Syria via their bloodthirsty ISIS and later on Al-Nustra proxies. And when the snake decided to bite the hand that fed it, we the United States, came up with Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) which was the operational name for the military intervention against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. We have to be very careful on how and when we draw our points of reference, historically speaking.
Besides, no one in the West is emphasizing the absolutely crucial fact that Iran and Syria have had a mutual defense pact since 2006 which formalized the establishment of what is called, The Joint Iranian-Syrian Supreme Defense Commission, to institutionalize long-term military cooperation. As Brookings Institute reported on July 4, 2006, “Although there were no details about the pact, anxious Arab and Israeli defense experts were quick to exaggerate its significance. This played right into Syrian and Iranian hands, for it failed to reflect how much Tehran and Damascus, both under increasing international pressure, were trying to revive the glory days of their alliance during the 1980s.”
But what do any of these facts and conjectures have to do with the UK blacklisting Hezbollah? The short answer: Everything! It is the Israeli lobby in the UK that pushed for this blacklisting. Israel has been trying to trigger another civil war in Lebanon to destabilize Hezbollah vis-à-vis Syria. The entire contrived geo-sectarianism in Syria was one of the venues to achieve this. Fanatical right-wing policy-makers and Zionist supremacists in Tel Aviv have erroneously believed [for years] that a destabilized Syria and Lebanon would assure Israel’s security which would result in Israel becoming “an island of stability” in this tormented region. Not only such a thing would not happen, but one can argue that this mentality in Tel Aviv which has reached its pinnacle since 2011 would invigorate and turn the tide back against Israel itself.
Hezbollah has gained the legitimacy and the universal respect of the world, and certainly the mood of the Arab street. Based on my own primary and qualitative research in the region, we believe, at least when it comes to the Arab Street, governments excluded, Hezbollah is praised, if not openly but in peoples hearts and minds and expressed vocally in a hush-hush manner, to be the last Arab bastion of resistance, and of course Iran as a non-Arab nation, to stand up to Israel.
As our readers are aware, the collective Arab cause against Israel gradually [but rapidly] started to evaporate and decline after the 1973 Yom Kippur War followed by the 1979 Camp David Peace Accord between President Jimmy Carter, President Anwar Saddat, and Prime Minister Menachem Begin. In the 1970s, pretty much all Arab countries were united against Israel. The region has gone from that sense of unity of purpose to a point where the Arab oil dictatorship and Sheikdoms on the southern shores of the Persian Gulf, primarily the Al-Saud Regime at the helm, to be de-facto in league with Israel. In that sense, Hezbollah, although obviously not a nation but perhaps a state within a state as some claim, has become by virtue the first and perhaps the only sturdy, first-responding force to confront Israel head-on in case of a regional conflict between the Iran-Syria-Iraq-Lebanon coalition verses the Israel-Saudi-UAE partnership. The Israeli lobby in the UK and Washington are quite aware of this fact and as such, blacklisting the political wing of Hezbollah is the first step to go after the funding of this organization before any military strikes can be made, not that Israel would dare to do such a thing, at least not for the time being.
But the fact that the entire EU foreign policy apparatus does not view Hezbollah’s political wing as a so-called “terrorist entity” and the fact that it has not blacklisted it, attests to the fact that Hezbollah clearly may not be a so-called “terrorist entity” from the pan-European perspective. Generally speaking, the more liberal the government, in this case the EU as a huge administrative entity, the more sympathy towards the Palestinian cause and hence leniency towards Hezbollah. It is noteworthy to mention that France on the other hand is an exception under the so-called liberal government of Immanuel Macron. Ever since the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy, France has gone under significant policy changes towards Israel, as in, taking a stern pro-Israeli stance. But the French case is interesting. More than any other country in Europe, we have witnessed many so-called “anti-Semitic terrorist attacks” during the past several years which some strongly argue and debate as being false flag operations. This has resulted much to the satisfaction and political opportunism of Benjamin Netanyahu and his cabal in frightening and attracting more and more French Jews to the occupied Palestine. There is an especially interesting phrase in Latin: QUO BONO. I would put a question mark after this phrase in the context of what was I just discussed.
To sum up, in the case of UK’s blacklisting of the political wing of Hezbollah and in lieu of the Brexit, what unfortunately is manifesting are all the traditional pressures coming from Washington in trying to realign the British foreign policy with Washington’s historically-flawed pro-Israeli stance, especially with a fake populist and Zionist lackey like Trump in office along with Fundamentalist Zionist Evangelicals like Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and last but the worst, Trump’s neocon-on-steroids National Security Advisor John Bolton. This group of crème-de-la-crème fanatic madmen promotes the idea that “God” sent a financially corrupt and promiscuous serial liar to reinforce colonialism, ethnic cleansing, murder, apartheid, and collective punishment in Palestine. The Lebanese Hezbollah is certainly on their way which they aim to bankrupt and dismantle.
By the way, Ronald Reagan and Marguerite Thatcher held similar views on apartheid in South Africa! Let that be a lesson, albeit to deafened ears.