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President Bush, Israel and its lobby claim that Hezbollah is the same as al Qaeda.  Our friend Bob Finch explores the profound differences between Osama bin Laden and Hasan Nasrullah, leader of Hezbollah and comes to an opposite conclusion: Hezbollah’s tactics and strategy are just about as different from those promoted by Osama bin Laden as it is possible to get. Finch’s essay is of extreme importance for Hezbollah unites Muslims and Christians, and heals the Sunni-Shi’a strife, strife encouraged by Zionists and nourished by al Qaeda. This also explains why just now the British MI5 ‘discovered’ The Heathrow Gunpowder Plot.

I wrote about it: Al Qaeda, a murky Afghan-based group, founded by the US to fight the Soviets in 1980s was in mothballs by 2001, when the US policy makers resurrected it by crediting them with the 9/11 attack, athough even today, five years later, their involvement is not proven. Whoever attacked the Twin Towers and Pentagon (and we do not know who did it) attracted a wave of sympathy mixed with adoration among the passionate disenchanted of the New World Order from Paris to Teheran, from Moscow to Oklahoma. The Masters of Discourse were concerned that this great harvest might be appropriated by an able and dangerous (for them) group and preferred to credit it to their tame al Qaeda. Since then, Al Qaeda has proved to be a valuable American tool: they did nothing worth mentioning, but beheaded tourists on video and dutifully instigated strife between Sunni and Shi’a in Iraq, bombing mosques and killing pilgrims. They could attract some good and daring young men on the basis of their 9/11 credit – and bring them to perdition. The rise of Hezbollah upset this arrangement. Instead of fighting fellow Muslims, Hezbollah fights the Judeo-American Empire. As opposed to al Qaeda’s fakery, Hezbollah is the real thing, and they fight a real war, never stopping to pose for a TV crew. The young and inspired men keen on a good fight for a good cause turned to Nasrallah. The deserted stooges of al Qaeda called their followers to fight (Hezbollah), but in vain. The strife between Sunnis and Shi’as is fading, and the Sunni majority of the Arab world preferred Sayed Nasrallah, the Defender of the Underprivileged, to the Shari’a enforcers of bin Laden and Zarkawi. The Heathrow Gunpowder Plot is apparently a desperate attempt by Al Qaeda’s patrons to refurbish the faded glory of their creatures by showing that they are not a completely spent force. This good showing by Hezbollah will have serious consequences outside Lebanon – it will reunite the Orient against the Empire.


Nasrullah versus bin Laden

By Bob Finch

Politically, Hasan Nasrullah’s tactics and strategy are at the opposite end of the political spectrum from those pursued by Osama bin Laden.

Firstly, Nasrullah condemned bin Laden’s Pentagon and New York bombings.

Secondly, whilst bin Laden has encouraged a civil war in Iraq between the two branches of Islam (to the great benefit of the Jews and Americans), Nasrullah has pursued a strategy uniting Shiites and Sunnis in Lebanon. The leader of al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi used to condemn Nasrullah for trying to bring about such religious co-operation. The benefit of Nasrullah’s strategy has become apparent during the Israel’s attack on Lebanon,. “On July 21, nine days after his forces captured the two Israeli soldiers, Nasrallah answered Zarqawi and Tartusi. Looking relaxed and reasonable, in a carefully staged interview with Al Jazeera, he mentioned Zarqawi's statement. "Today, we are Shia fighting Israel," he pointed out, in a peroration not unlike the one he made the day his son died. "Our fighting and steadfastness is a victory to our brothers in Palestine, who are Sunnis, not Shia. So, we, Shia and Sunnis, are fighting together against Israel, which is supported, backed, and made powerful by America."” (Annia Ciezadlo ‘Sheik Up’  July 28, 2006). (1)

Thirdly, Nasrullah is a religious pluralist who has sought a political rapprochement with Lebanese Christians. “Like Sadr, however, he (Nasrullah) fully understood the multitude of Lebanon's confessional system, never once calling for an Islamic state in Lebanon, and always proclaiming to be a firm believer in the right of all Lebanese, regardless of religion, to live in harmony.” (Sami Moubayed ‘Lebanon guided by the Nasrullah factor’ Asia Times February 26, 2005). Earlier this year, Nasrullah reached a rapprochement with the former exiled leader of the Lebanese Christians, General Aoun. “Last week Ya Libnan reported that general Aoun declared that Hezbollah is his closest ally. Yesterday he made it official. Aoun and Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah Secretary General met to ink their agreement. Aoun and Nasrallah were on opposing ends. Aoun was a main proponent of anti-Syrian protests in the wake of former Premier Rafik Hariri's assassination last February. His organization supported the Cedar Revolution of March 14 while Nasrallah organized the pro-Syrian demonstration of March 8. But Aoun broke with other anti-Syrian groups and charted his own middle-of-the-road course with Syria and with its allies in Lebanon. Nasrallah, meanwhile, broke an old alliance with anti-Syrian politician Walid Jumblatt, and with other partners in the coalition. The Shiite-Christian embrace, which Nasrallah and Aoun repeatedly insisted was "not a political alliance or front against other parties, but rather a political rapprochement," was held at Mar Mikhail Church, located a few blocks from Hezbollah's headquarters in Beirut's southern suburbs. Nasrallah said the meeting did not cover the issue of the presidency, but insisted his party will support Aoun's candidacy for president. "We see in Aoun a serious and competent candidate who enjoys wide popularity," Nasrallah said.” (It's official: Aoun and Hezbollah are allies  February, 7th 2006). In other words, Nasrullah propped up the Lebanon’s confessional political system by supporting a Christian candidate for presidency even though he knew that since the Lebanese Shiites are by far the largest ethnic group in Lebanon then, democratically, they should be entitled to contest and win the presidency. (2)

Just how much this rapprochement paid off for Nasrullah is transparent from the fact that Lebanon’s Christian community did not turn on Hezbollah after the Jews started blitzing Lebanon. “When Israeli bombs start landing in Christian Lebanon, the Christians did not blame Hezbollah. If this was a war on Hezbollah, they reasoned, then why were they being attacked? Attacking them meant that this was a war on Lebanon - all of Lebanon, not only the Shi'ites and Hezbollah.” (Sami Moubayed ‘Hezbollah banks on home-ground advantage  July 26, 2006). Both the Jews and Americans believed that one of the political benefits of such a comprehensive blitz would be to trigger off a civil war that would make Israeli ground invasion of Lebanon that much easier. It didn’t work because Nasrullah had succeeded in winning allies across Lebanon’s religious groups. “While neo-conservatives believed the destruction of Lebanon and the death of civilians would incite the Lebanese to act against Hezbollah, Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, Speaker Nabih Berri, Saad Hariri (son of assassinated prime minister Rafik Hariri), General Michel Aoun, President Emile Lahoud and other major leaders of Lebanon have predictably rallied against Israeli actions, despite Hezbollah's initial steps.” (Neda Bolourchi ‘Iran's changing fortunes  August 9, 2006). (3)

Fourthly, Nasrullah is a Lebanese nationalist whose prime political objectives are regaining the freedom of the innocent Lebanese people being held illegally in Jewish prisons (including members of the South Lebanon Army who collaborated with the Israel’s invasion after 1982) and, secondly, ending the Israel’s occupation of Lebanese territory. He has sought political co-operation with all those who support the same objectives. As a consequence, when he became head of Hezbollah he opened up the organization to all Lebanese citizens. “Nasrallah capitalized on this moment of popularity, opening the ranks of Hezbollah to Lebanese from all sects and forming the Lebanese Brigades, a unit with several thousand non-Shia recruits.” (Annia Ciezadlo ‘Sheik Up’  July 28, 2006). Nasrullah continues to promote Lebanese nationalism. "God forbid, if the roof collapses, it collapses on all of us," Nasrallah told at least 100,000 Shi'ite Muslims gathered for Ashura, the most solemn event in their calendar. "Today we are responsible for a nation that came out of the civil war ... but we face acute problems, especially this year and in the past few months," the black-turbaned cleric said. "As Lebanese, we have no choice for remedying our crises and problems except to discuss and meet, even if we are angry and tense," he said. "We must not repeat the mistakes of the past."” (Alistair Lyon ‘Hizbollah Tells Lebanese to Cool Anti-Syria Line - Feb 19 2005).

Nasrullah has sought co-operation even with his so-called enemies,Even Hezbollah's fiercest Lebanese foe, Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, who during the ''Cedar Revolution'' praised Bush's transformation strategy as ''the start of a new Arab world'' comparable to the fall of the Berlin Wall, told the Financial Times this week that he was forced to support the Shia militia against ''brutal Israeli aggression'' that would result in the weakening of the central government and the strengthening of Hezbollah and, through it, Syria and Iran.” (Jim Lobe ‘U.S. Watches Dreams of Transformation Dissolve  August 03, 2006).

Fifthly, Nasrullah supports democracy. Osama bin Laden does not. Nasrullah turned Hezbollah into a political party to fight Lebanon’s local and national elections. If the 2005 national elections had been contested on a ‘One Person, One vote’ system then Hezbollah would have ended up with far more seats in the Lebanese parliament and in the Lebanese cabinet. “Hezbollah's political wing controls 14 of 128 seats in the Lebanese parliament, two Cabinet ministries .” (Thomas Frank and Yaakov Katz ‘Hezbollah Maintains its Rocket Barrage’  July 27, 2006).

Incidentally, the ridiculous apostle of democracy, George Bush, had tried to deter Lebanon from allowing Hezbollah to take part in the elections. “The US under Clinton had consistently warned Beirut not to admit Hizbullah to the government, and even the Bush administration had adopted that position as recently as January of 2004.” (Juan Cole ‘Is the Arab Spring turning to Dust under Israeli Bombardment?’ July 14, 2006).

Sixthly, Osama bin Laden’s main priority is attacking America and Americans. Nasrullah does not regard America as Lebanon’s main enemy. As far as he, and thus Hezbollah, is concerned Lebanon’s primary enemy is the racist Jewish state. “During the recent crisis, Hezbollah has not attacked U.S. targets. Hezbollah has no interest in attacking the United States because "our response would be swift and pretty definitive," says State Department counterterrorism coordinator Henry Crumpton. "Hezbollah is, no doubt, Israel's most formidable opponent," says Bob Baer, a former CIA operative in the Middle East who investigated Hezbollah in the 1980s. Baer says Hezbollah wants to "signal to Muslims the war is against Israel. The idea is not to destroy Western civilization but rather to fight an enemy who is oppressing the Palestinians." (Thomas Frank and Yaakov Katz ‘Hezbollah Maintains its Rocket Barrage’ July 27, 2006).

Finally, Nasrullah has given up on his terrorist past, “The main question raised by this Arab Spring is whether Washington will be able to continue to view Hezbollah as nothing more than a terrorist organization. Whatever else it is, it clearly is an important Lebanese political party. And evidence for its having carried off an international terrorist strike in the past 7 years seems slim.” (Juan Cole ‘Hizbullah Wins Big in South Lebanon’  June 6th 2005).

As a result of its extensive business, social, educational, health, and political, activities Hezbollah was increasingly becoming integrated into Lebanese society and politics which, over the course of time, would have led to its complete moderation. “After all, Hezbollah is a part of Lebanon's coalition government and, per an Israeli media report, only two months ago an Israeli general stated that Hezbollah was moderating and integrating in Lebanon's political process.” (Kaveh L Afrasiabi ‘A war without borders in the making  July 29, 2006). “Although many of the Christians, Druze, and Sunni Muslims I met in Beirut before the bombing started saw the militancy of Hezbollah as a threat to this future, they were also optimistic that Hezbollah’s increasing participation in the country’s political process would lead to the gradual attenuation of the movement’s militant stance. Some progress in this direction was already evident: the number of active Hezbollah fighters had declined significantly since Israel’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000, and the greater part of the movement’s activities were now focused on social and political issues, providing welfare services to the poor in Shiite neighborhoods, building schools, and taking part in electoral politics. Anxieties about its armed militias aside, Hezbollah had increasingly shown itself to be a positive social force in the country. And while most Lebanese I met had no wish to see their nation again entangled in a conflict with Israel, they viewed Hezbollah’s militant posture as an unfortunate but natural outgrowth of Israeli belligerency - after all, Hezbollah first emerged in the aftermath of the 1982 Israeli invasion so as to free southern Lebanon from the Israeli occupiers. While the disarming of Hezbollah’s military wing - as called for by UN resolution 1559 - was an imminent goal for most of those I spoke to in Beirut, they also realized that this could not be forced on the movement without pushing the country over the brink of another civil war. The consensus among critics of Hezbollah was that the only avenue for disarming the movement’s military wing was through political pressure and dialogue.” (Charles Hirschkind ‘“Doing the Lebanese a Favor”  August 9, 2006).

Nasrullah is thus at the opposite end of the political spectrum from Osama bin Laden. It has been concluded, “Neither Hizbullah nor Hamas are driven by a desire to "wipe out Jews," as is so often claimed, but by a fundamental sense of injustice that they will not allow to be forgotten.” (Anders Strindberg ‘Hizbullah's attacks stem from Israeli incursions into Lebanon’  August 01, 2006).

Hezbollah’s increasing integration into Lebanese society was something the Jews could not tolerate. Ironically, the Jews had invaded Lebanon in 1982 precisely because Arafat was on the point of capitulating to the racist Jewish state. “In 1982 Israel had a problem. Yasir Arafat, headquartered in Beirut, was making ready to announce that the PLO was prepared to sit down with Israel and embark on peaceful, good faith negotiations towards a two-state solution.” (Alexander Cockburn ‘Hezbollah, Hamas and Israel: Everything You Need To Know  July 21, 2006). What Israel are currently trying to do is to force Hezbollah into becoming a terrorist organization again so that it can use this as a pretext to continue oppressing Lebanon and eventually annex southern Lebanon up to the Litany river. The Jews are willing to promote such a tactic even though it could pose a serious threat to the United States. “Hezbollah, however, is an anti-Israeli Lebanese Shia group (al-Qaeda is extremist Sunni Arab). Given that the al-Qaeda threat has not been eliminated (most notably, Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri are both still thought to be at large somewhere in Pakistan), the last thing the United States can afford to do is needlessly make new terrorist enemies and give groups such as Hezbollah (considered by some analysts to be the A-team of terrorist organizations) reasons to attack U.S. targets.” (Charles Peña ‘The Lebanon Conundrum’  August 3, 2006). It can only be concluded that, “They (Hezbollah) also provide a wide range of welfare services to the Lebanese people, and they are not terrorists. The largest terrorist organization in the Middle East is the state of Israel, which kills civilians by the hundreds.” (Charley Reese ‘Disaster in the Making’  July 22, 2006).

Nasrullah’s Growing Stature.

Nasrullah has transcended his status as a Shiite cleric and leader of a Shiite organization to become a political and religious pluralist, a nationalist, and a democrat. As a consequence, the Israel’s attacks on Lebanon have united the country around Hezbollah, and turned Nasrullah into a national hero. Those fighting against the Jewish empire’s imperialist adventure in Lebanon include all Lebanese nationalists not merely Shiites but Sunnis and Christians. Nasrullah is a nationalist not a religious fundamentalist, “Pragmatism, nationalism and charity networks, rather than Muslim ideology, are the secrets of Hezbollah's success. Hezbollah enjoys authority and commands unwavering loyalty among Shi'ites because it always appears to be a confident political party that is doing an honorable job in fighting Israel. Adding to the nationalist aspect is the social one, which is that many people in the Shi'ite community, mainly at the grass-root level, rely on Hezbollah for charity and welfare. Hezbollah has succeeded in promoting itself through the media, igniting confidence, safety and security among the 10 million viewers of al-Manar television, for example. Many of those viewers are Shi'ites. Not once does al-Manar, for example, show viewers a member of Hezbollah defeated. Rather, it shows pictures of dead Israelis, real footage of Hezbollah operations and programs highlighting Hezbollah's charity organizations. Hezbollah is a movement inspired by nationalism rather than religiousness.” (Sami Moubayed ‘It's war by any other name  July 15, 2006).

Nasrullah has also become a hero throughout the Middle East. “A quintessentially Shia leader -a cleric, even -had transcended his sect to become a national hero. The more Israel pounds Hezbollah and Lebanon's Shia, the more it burnishes Nasrallah's image as defender of the umma.” (Annia Ciezadlo ‘Sheik Up’  July 28, 2006). But, it would be misleading to conclude, “Nasrallah has outgrown his Shi'ite identity and transformed himself into a pan-Lebanese, pan-Arab and pan-Islamic leader. The fact that he is a cleric, a Muslim and a Shi'ite is actually of little importance at this stage of his war with Israel.” (Sami Moubayed ‘Nasrallah and the three Lebanons  August 3, 2006). It is more accurate to suggest that Nasrullah has become a universalist, “In a televised speech last Saturday, Sheik Nasrallah tried to assuage fears about Shiite dominance. “I say to the Lebanese that none of you should be afraid of the victory of the resistance, but you should be afraid of its defeat,” he said. “It will be a victory for every Arab, Muslim, Christian and honorable person in the world who stood against the aggression and defended Lebanon.”” (Neil MacFarquhar ‘Hezbollah’s Prominence Has Many Sunnis Worried  August 4, 2006).

Just how many more political differences do have to be between Nasrullah and Osama bin Laden before Raimondo stops equating the two? It is quite legitimate for Raimondo to compare Osama bin Laden with Israel. But to use Osama bin Laden’s words to condemn Hasan Nasrullah is preposterous. Raimondo is just reinforcing the propaganda tactics of the Jewish dominated media around the world which is smearing Nasrullah and Hezbollah as an agent, or offshoot, of Osama bin Laden. Juan Cole has also bizarrely denounced Nazrullah and Hezbollah as “the hard line Shiite fundamentalist party, Hizbullah” (Juan Cole ‘Is the Arab Spring turning to Dust under Israeli Bombardment?’ July 14, 2006).

Note 1.

To provide another example. Sheikh Bilal, a close aide of Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah was interviewed by Syed Saleem Shahzad and the following exchange ensued, “Shahzad: Hezbollah and the Brotherhood are very close. What is the secret of their closeness, despite Hezbollah being Shi'ite and the Brotherhood predominately Sunni? Bilal: Yes, this is true that we are close and we both work for the Islamic cause beyond any sectarian differences. But let me tell you that does not mean that we like takfiris [those militantly intolerant of "infidels"] like al-Qaeda. We hate them because they kill innocent people and destroy sacred places.” (Syed Saleem Shahzad ‘'We are just hit-and-run guerrillas'  August 10, 2006).

Note 2.

“Religious groups have been the main basis of political organization in Lebanon. The National Pact of 1943 provided for a Maronite Christian president, a Sunni Muslim prime minister, and a Shia Muslim speaker of parliament. It also determined that the ratio of seats in parliament would be six Christians for every five Muslims. Muslims sought greater power when they later surpassed Christians as the majority population in Lebanon. Tensions erupted in a civil war, which ended with a peace accord that reduced the authority of the Maronite president in favor of the Sunni Muslim prime minister, and gave Muslims and Christians an equal number of seats in parliament.” (Roxana Saberi ‘Lebanese Christians Caught in Political Crossfire’  August 9, 2006).

Note 3.

This view is shared by other commentators. “Appearing this week on al-Jazeera, Aoun reiterated his stance that a united Lebanon must include Hezbollah members because they are "an integral part of the people." Now that the Syrian troops are gone, Aoun believes the country can reunite across religious backgrounds. As leader of the third largest political party, the Free Patriotic Movement, Aoun even came to an agreement of understanding with Hezbollah last winter.” (Israeli Onslaught May Spark Aounist Resurgence’ July 26, 2006); “By the second day in August Halutz's bombardment had achieved the extraordinary feat of prompting the Maronite Catholic patriarch - the spiritual leader of the most pro-Western populace - to assemble Lebanon's religious leaders - Shiite and Sunni Muslims and various Christian confessions. The group issued a joint statement of solidarity, condemning the Israeli "aggression" and hailing "the resistance, mainly led by Hezbollah, which represents one of the sections of society."” (Alexander CockburnHalutz's Bombing War. Hezbollah's Top Ally in Israel’  August 3, 2006).