by Martin Jayia Sputnik news - The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of khazen.org
In the last few days, both Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement exchanged threats, reviving the specter of another Israeli invasion of Lebanon. Even the Western mainstream media admits the root cause of the tension could be Mr. Trump’s threats to garbage the nuclear agreement with Iran, Hezbollah’s longtime supporter. No one could take the ensuing threats more seriously than the people
in Lebanon. Lebanon has faced war so many times that the people here
regard the black dog almost as an old friend, such is their despondency
when faced with it once again. After the official end of the civil war
in 1989, Lebanon survived several bombing campaigns by Israel (the
biggest one in 2006, which decimated the country’s infrastructure
for years to come). Now Lebanon is home to 1.5 million refugees
from neighboring Syria, becoming the most densely populated “refugees’
safe haven” in the world.
Hezbollah's Attraction: Natural in Lebanon, Fatal in the US
In this situation, it is natural that the militant group Hezbollah,
which was born as a response to the Israeli occupation in 1982 and which
helps the Syrian government to fend off the Islamic State’s extremists –
it is natural that this group enjoys some popularity in Lebanon.
Hezbollah also has a strong faction in the Lebanese parliament, and the
group’s charity work is visible everywhere.
Unfortunately, it is not visible to the
American government which continues to view Hezbollah through the prism
of hostility, as if Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah continued
to shout ‘Death to Americans!” – despite these slogans having been
dropped by Hezbollah decades ago.
Unfortunately, US media has a great capacity of preserving cold war
stereotypes in the Americans’ minds, and the bearded mullahs urging
people to hate America – this is what Israel and the Trump camp would
have dearly wanted to see from both Lebanon and Iran. These images would
correspond with Israel’s (and Trump’s) usual disingenuous narrative
about these countries. Just days ago, Trump
tightened the sanctions against Iran, promising to tear up the
agreement between Iran and its Western foes, an agreement which Russia
helped to reach. (Moscow already made a statement that it wants the
agreement to stay).
Why No One Argues
American journalists even try to question this narrative, which states
that Iran and its proxies are THE MAIN threat to stability because
of their "terrorist" activities. Israel’s prime minister Benjamin
Netanyahu this week reiterated this position calling Iran the source of 80 percent of Israel’s security problems.
Trump blasts media in the US for 'fake news' but incredulously his
own team continues to feed journalists with a skewered mindset of
‘alternative facts’ about the Middle East which is not only out of date,
but which is factually inaccurate at best and a shameful lie at worst.
Since its Islamic revolution of 1979, Iran has not invaded
neighboring countries or bombed any of the countries which are its
enemy. Its proxy in Lebanon, Hezbollah is tarnished by events that
happened more than 30 years ago — the bombings of American servicemen
in Beirut in the times of the Lebanese civil war.
In the meantime, the US and some of its allies
in the EU managed to invade together at least three sovereign countries
(Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya). The number of people killed during these
wars is HUNDREDS OF TIMES bigger than the number of American soldiers
killed by Hezbollah in Lebanon.
In fact, it is seldom reported that Iran and Hezbollah are doing most
of the fighting to destroy Daesh in Iraq and Syria while US soldiers
keep a safe distance from the scrap.
The Sins of Others
And then there is al-Qaeda and Daesh in the region. Do American
journalists simply not know who was funding those groups, certainly
at the start of the war in Syria? Or is it that they prefer the
manufactured consent of keeping that inconvenient truth far from the
weary public which once believed in the freedom of the fourth estate?
groups — both Daesh and al-Qaeda — but also other groups which align
themselves with them have been more or less been defeated in Syria
because of Iran and Hezbollah. It might not sit comfortably with Trump
and his adviser Steve Bannon in DC. Why? Because this inconvenient
truth, if told to humble Americans, would hinder his present plans
to threaten Iran with war – continuously and with impunity.
Alas, journalists in the US are getting younger and less professional
by the day. They create the real vortex of fake news: they look
like personalities of the media who lock themselves into their own echo
chambers and refuse to listen to facts when presented with them.
Who Wants War
I'm not a fan of Iran. But I don't believe for one moment the country
is a threat to its neighbors. All it wants is to prosper and get
on with building its economy. A recent article by the New York Times
correspondent in Tehran is worth reading. The writer points out that
most Iranians don't want war with the US or Israel but also are afraid
that in the madness of this fake news war their country could just
incidentally slip into a major confrontation.
Meanwhile, the same journal's OpEd editor publishes the worst piece of cliche-packed baloney on the Assad
government that I have ever read. Call centre journalism by two
armchair geopolitical experts from academia whose 'information' might
as well have been provided to them by Clinton's 'regime change'
fanatics. Garbage which really shouldn't have made it into print in the
first place and was two years out of date anyway.
But this disinformation is worrying. We are
living in troubled times with a US president who is perhaps not mad,
but certainly narcissistic on a worrying scale, capable of anything just
to get a few headlines.
The Iranians don't want war. And neither does Hezbollah in Lebanon.
In fact, the more I listen to Nasrallah, the more I'm impressed by him.
His recent speech made a lot of sense and he came across as the only
rational player in this game. Unlike Trump and Netanyahu, the Shiite
leader takes a pragmatic and intelligent approach to what is happening
which merely confirms what I have always believed: the American people
and the West in general is being sold a lie once again about a "threat"
in the Middle East.
Nasrallah: Vendicated by the Past?
Remember 'weapons of mass destruction' and the western leaders, including Blair, who signed up to sexed up intel about Saddam?
Nasrallah points out an irony in the Iran so-called "threat" though
which is hard to ignore: he said in his speech that it is Israel's — not
Iran's — nuclear program which is the real threat and will be the
ultimate downfall of Israel. But he also points out that for the first
time ever, a massive defensive wall is being built by the Israelis
on their border with Lebanon and that ammonia stocks in Haifa have
recently been moved so as to not present Hezbollah with a sitting duck
"For Israel, the political circumstances
to wage a war against Lebanon are always there, due to an Arab cover
that let Israel attack Lebanon in 2006, and these circumstances are
stronger now" he says. "As for the nuclear power in Israel that
threatens the whole region…we are turning it to a threat on Israel
itself", adds the Hezbollah leader.
The problem with fake news is that it generates fake news threats and
ultimately war. Trump's churlish and feeble attack on fake news is
insincere and a sham. His logic is as perverse as the dog owner who
chastises others for being cruel to his animal: "Only I'm allowed
to beat my own dog" is the sullied rationale. Trump does not hate fake
news. He just hates it when it doesn't work his way. What we are seeing
in the Middle East is fake news which is not being questioned by US
media and it is escalating rapidly towards a war once again. Both Trump
and Netanyahu are really the only threat to peace in the Middle East and
need a war with Iran and Hezbollah to nourish their own political
objectives and they will be supported by Gulf Arabs who are sore losers
in the Syrian War who only want to settle the score. It seems though
that they have got their information about Hezbollah in Lebanon wildly
wrong for the second time in ten years or they are believing their own
Martin Jayia is a Beirut-based journalist, he
recently won the U.N.'s prestigious Elizabeth Neuffer Memorial Prize
(UNCA) in New York, for his journalism work in the Middle East. He is
based in Lebanon and can be followed at @MartinRJay
The views expressed in this article are solely those
of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position