Sunday, August 27, 2017

Ben Hubbard of NYT: from parroting Saudi regime propaganda to Israeli occupation propaganda

What an ill-informed article about Hizbullah by Hubbard.  His methods of documentation are as solid as those of the notorious Nichols Blanford.  Here are examples:
1) Here he typically absolves Israel of responsibility: "But as the Middle East has changed, with conflicts often having nothing to do with Israel flaring up around the region".  Name me one conflict in the region where Israel is not involved.  It is involved heavily in Syria and in Yemen on the side of the Saudi regime and in Egypt of the side of Mubarak and later Sisi. It is solidly invested in the Kurdish tribal dictatorship.  Have nothing to do with Israel? Oh, he almost said: poor Israel who minds its own business. Notice in the long boring article he says not one word about Israeli occupation of Lebanese territory and of daily Israeli violations of Lebanese sovereignty. 
2) Look here: "Hezbollah has evolved into a virtual arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps".  Anyone who says this does not know anything about Hizullah and its relations with Iran.  Hubbard, being ill-informed of Lebanese affairs, just parrots the propaganda of the Saudi camp in Lebanon.  The notion that Hasan Nasrallah takes marching orders from commanders of the Revolutionary Guards is ridiculous.  I will even say this based on knowledge and not speculation: Hasan Nasrallah not only does not take orders from Iran (he surely coordinates) but Iran consults with him on every aspect of its policies in the Middle East region.  This is not Subhi Tufayli who as secretary-general of Hizbullah in the 1980s was a mere tool of Iranian intelligence service.
3) And now documentation by Hubbard: "analysts from nine countries". Nine countries? Let me count them: Lebanon (March 14 side for sure), US, Israel, UAE, Saudi Arabia, UK, Bahrain, Yemen (the Saudi camp), and France.  Wow.  Impressive.
4) And now this: "In April, members of a Qatari royal hunting party kidnapped by militants in Iraq were released as part of a deal involving Hezbollah in Syria".  Here, Hubbard is dazed and confused: he confused Hizbullah in Iraq with Hizbullah in Lebanon. 
5) Here he fabricates: "They also trumpet their goal of combating American and Israeli interests".  This is a fabrication. Nasrallah makes it clear in speeches that his party is not after US interests in the region or the world.  He has said in fact that the hizb does not want to fight the US, and that its battle is against Israel. But this fabrication is typical of Israeli propaganda in order to rally US support against the Hizb.
6) On Hizb's role in Yemen, he cites a pro-Saudi Yemeni stooge: "Ali Alahmadi, a former Yemeni national security chief". 
7) Here, Hubbard invokes his superior research and documentation skills: "Some analysts say".   Let me guess: Israeli?
8) But give it to Hubbard: he is an objective analyst and thus he cites an objective and neutral observer on Hizbullah: "said Anwar Gargash, minister of state for foreign affairs in the United Arab Emirates".
9) But this is by far my favorite part of the whole article: "Israel, too, has been worried about Iran’s expansionism in Syria, through Hezbollah." Oh, poor Israel.  So Lebanon is not worried about Israel with is massive WMDs arsenal and its history of invasions and bombing of Lebanon, but poor Israel is worried about Hizbullah? Poor Israel.
10) Here, Hubbard refers to Al-Qa`idah and ISIS fighters as "conservative Muslims":  ""“I get disgusted by the way they look, their long beards and shaved mustaches,” he said, referring to the grooming practices of some conservative Muslims."
11) Notice in referring to the founding of Hizbullah he leaves out THE determining factor, i.e., the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 which gave birth to Hizbullah, and not the Lebanese civil war in which Hizbullah was not even a participant: "After the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979, Iranian leaders sent officers from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps to organize Shiite militias in the Lebanese civil war."  And with that, Hubbard proves that he is able and willing to serve Saudi regime propaganda not only in covering Saudi Arabia but also in covering the region. Mabruk (I think he will understand this Arabic word as he is one of the few NYT reporters with some study of Arabic).

PS I forgot this funny part: "I met two fighters in April who agreed to speak on the condition that I concealed their identities." Let me guess. One was named Stanley and the other was named Billy Bob Husayn.