Sunday, February 24, 2008

Imitation Product

...Or the use of the death of Imad Mughniyeh as a battering ram.

Writing in his latest peice, Lebanese analyst and editor, Michael Young, highlights the intense media spin campaign being waged by Syria and its allies' outlets surrounding the reported assassination of Imad Mughniyeh.

According to Young, sources close to Hizballah and Syria have sought to prepare the ground for the findings of the cooked up Syrian Tribunal [on the alleged Mughniyeh assasination] to point the finger at a list of the Syrian regime's enemies. Among those to be targetted by the campaing are the Lebanese Internal Security Forces, which last month witnessed the assassination [by Syria] of its top investigator into the Hariri assassination (and those that have followed):
...the Mughniyeh investigation may accuse "official or semi-official Lebanese parties ... allied with [the government]" of having participated in the Mughniyeh operation.

The "official or semi-official" parties the source refers to is almost certainly the Information Department of the Internal Security Forces - essentially the state security apparatus most loyal to March 14. A key objective of Syria and the [pro-Syrian Lebanese] opposition in the negotiations over a new government has been to ensure that the Interior Ministry, which oversees the Information Department, is taken out of the hands of the [anti-Syrian] parliamentary majority.
The investigation is also slated to accuse Lebanese anti-Syrian politicians allied to, and including, Walid Jumblatt and his Druze party - the PSP (according to a Syrian source highlighted in a report reviewed by Young, Jumblatt's security chief, Hisham Nasreddine, is accused of having played a role in the killing).

But if asking a question as to Jumblatt's involvement in the assassination is valid what of asking whether or not Mughniyeh was really assassinated in that car bomb. That question comes as some have speculated that Mughniyeh was in fact killed in the July War of 2006 and that by revealing his death in this manner [by assassination and after the release of Israel's Winograd Report] Hizballah would be able to sidestep any open concession of the Israelis having "scored any points". In addition, Hizballah and Syria would be able to use the man's death as currency in their fight against the anti-Syrian Parliamentary majority in Lebanon. But thats just rumor...isn't it?

Spinning the Shiites

Not so long ago there was a post on this blog about a propaganda strategy employed by Syria's allies in Lebanon which sought to "mimic and mock" the genuinely personal, creative and spontaneous drives borne of the popular Independence Intifada (a.k.a., Cedar Revolution) movement; "equating" those drives to imitation products concocted in the propaganda offices of the groups leading the Syrian-Iranian inspired counter-revolution; and finally, by doing so, erasing any national, uniting messages that underscored the original drive.

In cooking up and then spinning the Mughniyeh assassination (and the "Syrian Tribunal") as they have (and will), Syria and Hizballah are looking to apply that strategy to the assassination and [Cedar] revolution that had brought our country out from under the yoke of a Syrian occupation.

As the International Tribunal begins to pick up pace, so will the sham that will be the "Syrian Tribunal"; as evidence of the involvement of numerous Lebanese and Syrian parties - including those owing allegiance to [Shiite] Iran - rises to the surface, so will the fabrications of Lebanese and [Sunni] Arab involvement in the alleged assassination of Imad Mughniyeh; and as the calls for accountability are heaped onto those assassins in Damascus and their operatives in Lebanon, so will the calls for 'vengeance' for the 'assassination' of Mughniyeh be slung at the remaining bulwarks of the Cedar Revolution [and the civil peace of the country as a whole].

The end result will inevitably be the placement of the country's already exasperated Shiites in a direct confrontation with their countrymen. If our nation is to avoid another prolonged period of conflict, then the Shiite community must start to react to the actions and policies of a group that has cost them their lives and livelihoods in order to defend [with the blood the Lebanese] a terorrist regime in Damascus and a regional policy operated out of Tehran.

9 comments:

  1. That's why Saniora and the gvmnt need to:

    -Find Shia allies and put them in the media daily (Ahamd Assaad, Sheick Amine, academics...).


    -Start attacking Hezbo, Wiam Wahab, Aoun etc from a legal/propaganda/patriotism perspective and NOT eulogize Mughnieh and accept that Nasrallah make war/peace decisions...


    DO NOT ask for the results of the Syrian investigation: UNDERMINE the frigging Syrian tribunal BEFORE they club you on the head with it, ya Saniora ya Ahbal.

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  2. What you've suggested might be correct Josey. But:

    (Finding Shi'ite allies) is not that hard, however, they will be crushed before opening an eye-lid by putting them in a direct 'confrontation' with a Shiite 'GIANT' that possess everything:

    - A formidable civil and social infrastructure (the perfect bait which has caught way too many fish)
    - A huge weapon arsenal (which DOES BUY respect or at least silence)
    - Innumerable Media outlets, from Al-manar TV, to radio stations and several internet websites (systematic brainwashing, ideological upbringing)

    Not to mention that putting them in the front in an effort to 're-claim' the shiite populace will be considered "GET OFF MY LAWN" by Hezbollah, and that would only serve to fuel up an already boiling tension between the two camps, which in turn be an action that, i'm sure no one wants to see its results.

    (eulogize Mughnyieh) I totally agree with you on that point...

    (Saniora ya Ahbal) next time, write it in capital letters to emphasize on it... He couldn't get dumber than he already is (at least I hope he doesn't)

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  3. Anonymous9:43 PM

    hizbullah might be beginning to undo itself... especially if war breaks out (civil and/or against Israel).

    good post bmjade. the counter-revolutionaries (aka, the opposition) and their Syrian and Iranian bosses are indeed very into mimicry; but they have been most certainly exposed.

    its a shame really, that Lebanese politicians would so flagrantly prostitute themselves and their people. I find that Nasrallah has gotten to a point of no return-he has turned himself from a national and arab hero, to a puppet. Aoun... well, supporting him taught me a lesson i'll never forget!

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  4. Smurf, on M14 Shia allies:

    No one said it would be easy but it has to be done and the people I mentioned are already courageously speaking, their voices need to be amplified.

    There is no substitute for an inter -Shia debate.

    Many people (all over) are just followers and need to see/hear that other, prominent, people (of their own community) agree with them.

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  5. Commenting on this post over at Good Neighbours Blog, Zvi provides an answer to the "isn't it?" question and reminds us of the counter-arguments against this being an inside-hit or a staged hit:

    It seems extremely unlikely that this was a faked assassination. While I have no hard evidence, here are some points to consider.

    1. This event, occurring in Damascus, was very embarrassing for the Assad regime. Had this event been faked, they would likely have picked a less humiliating location. See comments under http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/mesh/2008/02/imad_mughniyah_is_dead/#comment-169
    (via http://beirut2bayside.blogspot.com/2008/02/canard-about-syrias-role-in-mughniyehs.html )

    2. Hizballah and its allies reacted with poorly scripted confusion. Iran announced that it was participating in the investigation. Syria rejected that idea. Hizballah hailed the man as one of its leaders, after denying its relationship with him for decades. Nasrallah, letting emotion get the better of him, called for an “open war” that, as some have said, worried even many Lebanese Shia. He was later forced to try to re-frame his words. See http://www.beirutbeltway.com/beirutbeltway/2008/02/nasrallah-manag.html

    3. The assassination and its aftermath shone a strong light on the relationship between Hizballah, Syria (which had laughably denied a close relationship), Iran and Shia terror groups around the world. Governments around the world (including the Arab world) were forced to remember that Hizballah is by original intent an international terrorist organization founded by Iran - a past that Hizballah has tried to bury in more recent propaganda. The press, likewise, were forced to look back at Hizballah’s actual record.

    4. They haven’t been able to get their story straight on who was behind it. Israel, the US, Jumblatt, Lebanese security, who’s next?

    5. They look pretty bloody ineffectual at the moment. Assad & friends HATE to look ineffectual. Gangsters who look weak have a hard time intimidating their prey.

    So if this was REALLY a planned media event, then HA and its masters completely botched it. Rather, I am pretty certain that this was unexpected.

    I agree with you at a general level, though; I am sure that HA thought they could capitalize on this to whip up a frenzy among the Shia.

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  6. Just for fun...here's a little more mud in the water:

    Slain Hezbollah leader Imad Mugniyah’s wife, Saada Badr al-Din, accused Syrian authorities of standing behind the assassination of her husband.

    “Syrian traitors facilitated the killing of my husband,” Badr al-Din told an online Iranian newswire.

    She added that Syria’s refusal to include Iranian investigators in the investigations into the Mugniyah assassination was proof that the Syrian regime was implicated in the murder.

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  7. was also a great opportunity for some heavy anti israel rhetoric..

    im surprised its gone so quiet..

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  8. Iranian army radio reveals dispute between Mugniyah and Nasrallah.

    I'll try to find more on this later.

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  9. Arab security sources reveal arrest of two in Syria.

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