Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wake up the children and release the pigs from the barn: we have a new expert on Lebanon in the New York Times

After a few visits to Lebanon, and having ascertained his ignorance of Arabic, Turkish, and Persian, Thanassis Cambanis is now a new Lebanon expert on the New York Times (having written a lousy book on Hizbullah which is obsessed with Israeli propaganda interests from what I gather).  Here, he has a propaganda piece in support of Hariri coalition.  He is so clueless that I experienced the same chuckles that Jeffrey Feltman experiences when they read and translate Al-Akhbar articles for him.   He says:  "His coalition remains a viable alternative to Hezbollah only as long as it sticks to the pluralistic and law-based values that distinguish it from its theocratic and belligerent enemies."  Pluralism? They are the ones who a few years ago led a fanatical Salafite demonstration in the wake of Danish cartoons against Muhammad into the Christian areas of Lebanon and were about to set Ashrafiyyah on fire.  This is the coalition that include Bin Ladenites in its midst and various war criminals (of course, there are war criminals on both sides in Lebanon, and certainly among March 8 too).  This is the coalition that has illegally and unconstitutionally constructed a sectarian mini-state outside and within the government.  This is the coalition that is aligned with all the dictatorial Arab regimes (Hariri media are fierce in their support of Bin Ali and Hariri daily sheet, Al-Mustaqbal, regularly carries glowing profiles of Bin Ali).  But this passage that trigged the belly laughs in me (again the same belly laughs that are triggered when Jeffrey Feltman reads translations of Al-Akhbar articles):  "Its constituents are the only audience that matters to Hezbollah, which styles itself as sole protector of Arab dignity from humiliation by Israel and the United States.  These supporters will be hard-pressed to understand, much less forgive, their party if it is proved to have killed a leader who was loved by the nation’s Sunni Muslims and also respected by Christians, Druze and even many Shiites, who form Hezbollah’s core support."  Are you kidding me? Hizbullah's core support would be upset if it is revealed that they were behind Hariri's assassination?  What planet does Cambanis inhabit?  Hizbullah's core support would be proud, gleeful, and cheerful if it is revealed that Hizbullah was behind Hariri's assassination.  It shows you how clueless this person is, not knowing the hatred that is harbored by Hizbullah's core support against the entire Hariri family and their sponsors.   Here, Cambanis makes things up as here goes along:  ". Hezbollah’s leaders insist that its men were trying to protect Rafik Hariri."  Hizbullah leaders never made such claims: in fact, in one occasion, Nasrallah said that there was an Israeli agent, Ghassan Al-Jidd who has fled the country, who was being watched at the scene by Hizbullah men.  But really: what do you expect on the Middle East from the New York Times?  This is like seeking the truth about Germany during the Nazi years from Nazi publications.