12

Comments

Facebook

Twitter

Google

send


Hussain Abdul-Hussain

What are the Shiites dying in Syria for?

$22 million. (Screen capture via LBC/YouTube)

The excellent report LBC aired on how Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil has bought $22 million worth of real estate, since 2005, draws an unmistakable irony: While young Shiite men are dying in Syria — presumably defending minorities against a possible ISIS onslaught — minority charlatans like Bassil are busy accumulating wealth.

 

Bassil is not the only corrupt government official the Shiites are defending. Stories of the epic corruption of Bashar Assad’s cousin, Rami Makhlouf, were famous long before the outbreak of the Syrian uprising in 2011.

 

Corrupt Christian Bassil and Alawite Makhlouf are the leaders of the minorities that Shiite men — along with poor Alawite men and women — are dying to protect.

 

Perhaps it is time for Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah to come clean with the Shiites as to why he is sending their men into the Syrian inferno. Nasrallah himself has been so confused about Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian war that his justifications to his supporters have often been contradictory.

 

During the first months of the Syrian uprising, when Bashar Assad’s artillery was pounding Homs, Nasrallah insisted that life in neighboring Syria was normal. It is possible that Nasrallah initially resisted getting involved in the Syrian war, but by May 2013 he got the call from his bosses in Iran, who instructed him to help Assad.

 

Since 2011, Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria has proven to be ‘operation mission creep.’ It started as Hezbollah fighters guarding the Shiite Shrine of Sayyidah Zaynab, near Damascus, and later developed into Hezbollah protecting Syrian Shiites who live close to the border with Lebanon. With time, Hezbollah’s fighters became the muscle of the Assad coalition and the party started leading offensive operations in the north and west of Syria, where there are no Israelis to fight or Shiites to protect.

 

Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria invited the revenge of terrorists, who launched a series of bombing attacks that mainly targeted Shiite neighborhoods and the Iranian Embassy in Beirut.

 

The bombings did not induce Nasrallah to rethink his party’s strategy. Instead, he doubled down on Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian war, promising swift results. Yet a victory over terrorists in Syria has proven elusive, not only to Hezbollah but also to a growing roster of armies that includes the US, Russia, Turkey, Iran and Iraq.

 

Despite its inability to score a decisive victory, Hezbollah is still fighting in Syria at a great human cost to the Lebanese Shiites. Meanwhile, in an attempt to mitigate Shiite anger, Nasrallah has repeatedly redefined his militia’s mission in the Syrian war. Instead of defeating ragtag terrorist militias in Syria, as originally planned, Nasrallah now wants to beat Sunni nations wholesale as his lieutenants shout “Death to the Saud family.”

 

Perhaps, given the instructions he has from Tehran, Nasrallah has little say in deciding when to pull out or whom to fight.

 

But no matter the outcome, Hezbollah will emerge the biggest loser of the Syrian war. The party has been badly bruised, its fighting ranks thinned, its resources depleted and its Shiite supporters are frustrated.

 

To keep Lebanon’s Shiites from revolting against Hezbollah, Nasrallah has skillfully reoriented their hate against Sunnis in Lebanon and the region. And to buy Hezbollah some desperately-needed friends, Nasrallah has lent his political muscle to abhorrently corrupt and nepotistic politicians such as lawmaker Michel Aoun and his son-in-law, Bassil.

 

The Shiites deserve to know why their sons are dying in Syria. From a religious point of view, there is no shrine holy enough to warrant Shiites dying to protect it. Examples of sacred Shiite sites being destroyed without the Shiites lifting a finger, such the razed Baqii Cemetery in eastern Saudi Arabia, abound. On the contrary; the original Shiite doctrine teaches its followers dissimulation in life-threatening situations.

 

The narrative that Hezbollah is defending Assad and Aoun to reward them for their support of ‘the resistance’ in its wars against Israel is also weak. If in its war for the liberation of Jerusalem Hezbollah cannot find anyone better than its corrupt charlatan allies Assad and Aoun, then Hezbollah had better rethink its liberation strategy and maybe defer it until more honorable allies show up.

 

If the liberation of Jerusalem means that Hezbollah has to protect corruption in Lebanon and Syria, kill half the Sunnis of the world and lose all those Shiite men in Syria — before the battle for Jerusalem has even started — then maybe leaving Jerusalem occupied is the better option.

 

Hussain Abdul-Hussain is the Washington Bureau Chief of Kuwaiti newspaper Alrai. He tweets @hahussain

$22 million. (Screen capture via LBC/YouTube)

Nasrallah himself has been so confused about Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian war that his justifications to his supporters have often been contradictory."

  • astaris

    Leaving Jerusalem "occupied" is definitely the better option! Ask the East Jerusalem Arabs if they prefer to live under Israel or Palestine. Just like the Israeli Arabs, everyone knows the answer... at the end of the day, the Israelis - Jews, Muslim and Christian Arabs and Druze - are just another Middle Eastern tribe, in fact the oldest of them all. But unlike the rest of the Middle East, they have one of the highest standards of living and life expectancy in the world. Why is there no intifada in the Galilee, Negev or Wadi Ara? Why do tens of thousands of non-Jewish Israelis - Bedouin Muslims, Arab Christians and of course willingly conscripted Druze and Circassians - volunteer to serve in the Israeli army? Nasrallah and his Iranian bosses just don't get it and they probably never will. "Liberate" Jerusalem indeed.

    November 12, 2015

  • Hanibaal-Atheos

    Standard Zionist drivel of an argument: "Israelis" are not another tribe. They were never a tribe. A Jewish tribe maybe - albeit of a dubious genetic mongrel background of Black Africans, Red-haired Russians, Semitic Yemenis, Blond Germans and Poles, Aryan Iranians, and Berber Moroccans, to name but a few - but not an "Israeli" tribe. Zionists always try to convince the native Palestinians to substitute a materialist survivalist Dhimmi status under Jewish supremacy (live like dogs, but dogs with the highest standards of living) for a deeper and higher sense of nationhood and identity. You just don't get it. Perhaps evangelist numskulls from the backwoods or America might believe this argument, but the native people here whom you dispossessed and displaced 70 years ago will never abandon the imperative of regaining their country, if only to live free from European Jewish colonialist theocratic oppression disguised and camouflaged as a modern country that offers its people the highest living standard. You just don't get it. As for the liberation of Jerusalem, and despite my own abhorrence of all things Hezbollah and its assorted Islamic radical movements, including its cousin your own Jewish Zionist radicalism, I refer you to the Christian Crusades of about 1,000 years ago. They came, colonized, established their own Kingdom of Heaven in Jerusalem, bred with the natives and settled for 200 years, but they were eventually evicted back to Europe. The Jewish Crusade that calls itself Israel and its fantasy re-creation of the Jewish Kingdom will inevitably suffer the same fate, thus proving that the high life expectancy of its people does not necessarily translate into a high life expectancy for the fake country that it is.

    November 13, 2015

  • WVD

    Why they are dying. Well simple to defend their community from these head choppers paid by Kuwait and the other Gulf States. But I'm sure the author knows this very well. in fact he should be stand accused of supporting al Qaeda. Just as his government has been doing.

    November 10, 2015

  • WVD

    How much did LBC this time got from Saudi Arabia? Talking about corruption?

    November 8, 2015

  • Qadi

    @HANIBAAL-ATHEOS: I dont think the author is arguing against corruption per se. The article is against sending young Shiites and Alawites to death, presumably for Palestine or against ISIS, but in fact dying to protect thieves and corrupt politicians.

    November 6, 2015

  • Hanibaal-Atheos

    If the author is not arguing against corruption per se, why is he shoving Bassil's enrichment (without presenting any evidence as to whether this is by corrupt means) into Hezbollah's dispatching its idiots die in Syria? Bassil is really not the one who is sending them. I think the author should have focused on corrupt Shiites (Nasrallah, Berri, and others) who send their men die in Syria for Sitt Zeinab, Hassan and Hussein, and other fairy tales from the Bronze Age. Fact is most of the political establishment - those pro-Hezbollah and those anti-Hezbollah - is enriching itself. Why pick on Bassil is stupidly suspicious to say the least.

    November 6, 2015

  • Qadi

    It seems you are not up to date on the Hezbollah narrative for fighting in Syria. The shrine thing is long gone. Now it is an existential issue for the minorities against ISIS. And without Hezbollah, Aoun and Bassil would be peanuts. In a way, Aoun and Bassil belong to Hezbollah and their corruption is on Hezbollah. The evidence is from LBC, and Bassil had no good rebuttal, only said he had inherited 38 real estate pieces. Other corruption in Lebanon does not come with a price tag of thousands of Shiite fighters dying. It is just same old occuption

    November 9, 2015

  • Hanibaal-Atheos

    Still very weak argument on linking Bassil's corruption with Hezbollah's many versions of its raison d'etre. I may counter-argue that you are so up to date on the latest fairy tale narrative of Hezbollah that you seem to forget that the corruption of Hariri, Jumblatt, Siniora, Geagea, Gemayel, Berri, and all the other veterans of Lebanon's political pantheon... has cost Lebanon hundreds of thousands of dead and maimed innocent Lebanese, not to mention the country's destruction unfolding before our eyes (a much steeper price tag than Hezbollah's few suicidal idiots), lo these many decades ago. These people, whom you seem to want to exonerate, are the ones who prosecuted the war while robbing us, collaborated with the Syrian occupation while robbing us, then made peace amongst themselves promulgating generous amnesty laws while robbing us, and now are still in power and still robbing us. Bassil, and even Aoun, are newbies, rookies, to the corruption game, and have only recently began building their political farm, while the others have established their businesses long long time ago. You seem to have a preference for corrupt old timers...maybe you like them old and tested, like old wine, Persian carpets, and vintage Mafia godfathers. I personally dispense equal opportunity abhorrence to all things corrupt, which is the reason I am still surprised at those, you included, who don't have the integrity to recognize that their supposed anti-corruption posturing is selective, biased, and one-sided.

    November 10, 2015

  • Hanibaal-Atheos

    Fully agree. But by focusing on corrupt charlatans like "Maronite" Bassil, "Alawite" Assad, and Hassan Nasrallah's cannon-fodder Shiites, you are playing into the very sectarian game you are decrying. The fact that Bassil is accumulating wealth, especially if by corrupt means, is bad. But it has nothing to do with Bassil's support for what Nasrallah is doing in Syria. The bulk of Sunni, pro-Saudi, Lebanese politicians are equally corrupt, and more so since they have been robbing the country blind since the early 1990s. Bassil is still a rookie thief in comparison. Should the corruption of Lebanon's Sunni establishment, led by none other than the "martyr" Hariri who licked Assad's behind for a lot longer than Bassil before the Syrians disposed of him, should that fact be linked to Saudi Arabia's military involvement in Yemen? Your anger is justified, but clarity of thought changes what would otherwise be a solid argument into a sectarian tit-for-tat nagging by your side against the other side. For example, you should urge LBC to air a documentary on how Sunni Harri and his Christian friends pilfered downtown Beirut with the collusion of the Syrian occupation, or how Walid Jumblatt built himself a multi-million empire (with money from the Fund of the Displaced) to buttress his feudal rule from atop his medieval castle over his herd of Druze peasants, or about Nabih Berri's multi-million dollar enterprises or Nicolas Fattouch or .. There's so many of them to list here...Better yet, stop being a paid mouthpiece for Saudi Arabia and its goons, and join the Hirak Madani (الحراك المدني) in downtown Beirut to shout "killun y3ni killun" (كلن يعني كلن). You'd be a lot more credible.

    November 6, 2015

  • Beiruti

    This is a rhetorical question, right? We all know why Hezbollah is fighting in Halleb and Homs and Damascus. They are fighting for two reasons: 1. Power. 2. To execute the Iranian Regional Strategy of holding the "arc of resistance". Hezbollah is an Orwellian name for this militia. It is not doctrinaire or particularly religious, yet it goes by this name "Party of God". God has nothing to do with Hezbollah's operations, finances, ethics, or wars. It is a very pragmatic power game that is being played. Hezbollah needs a friendly host state (Lebanon) and strategic depth (a friendly Syrian state) so that it can (1) exercise its power and (2) carry out the Iranian regional strategy of hegemony. The Lebanese Shia are clearly being exploited by Hezbollah which plays on their relative poverty and religion to drive them into compliance with Hezbollah's political operations and wars. They work on the ignorance of the Shia with regard to the fellow citizens in Lebanon who are not Shia by controlling the media (Manar) which regularly demonizes Sunnis and others opposed to their agenda so that the people remain ignorant of the intentions of their fellow countrymen who are not Shia. After creating and fostering ignorance of the "others" then Hezbollah builds on to that fear of the "other" and from "fear" they nourish hatred, because we all hate that which we fear and of course the only way to feel secure against the unknown feared and hated "other" is to remain loyal to Hezbollah, the protector...... Who will recruit their sons and daughters, send them to the Syrian front and bring them back in wooden boxes. It must be difficult for the Lebanese Shia who have bought the Nasrallah line that he is their protector to turn over their sons to Hezbollah's care and Hezbollah uses them as canon fodder, caring not a whit for the Lebanese while abusing the trust placed in them by the Lebanese Shia.

    November 5, 2015

  • sami.soufi

    Excellent piece Hussein! If Nasrallah spent the money used to kill the Syrians to build power plants, Lebanon would have had electricity 24/7. The Shiite and Maronites deserve a lot better than Basil and Nasrallah!

    November 5, 2015

  • Qadi

    Wish Anonymous will provide this LBC show with more documents that show the thievery of Lebanese politicians, and hope NOW will write similar articles about those too. This article is great. More like it about more politicians would be wonderful.

    November 5, 2015