Hanin Ghaddar

Assad is taking notes from Israel

August 2006: Israeli war planes bombed a funeral of 15 people, mostly children, who died a day earlier in an Israeli attack on a residential building in my hometown of Ghazieh in South Lebanon. Fourteen people were killed. My father took part in the funeral. He said the men had to hide all the bodies and then smuggle them into the cemetery one by one, without a proper ceremony or memorial service.

January 2012: Despite the security and military siege of the village of Nawa, Daraa in Syria, the townspeople amassed and participated in the funeral procession of Ali al-Muzeeb, a high school student, shot and killed by Assad’s security forces. The regime’s forces encircled the procession and responded with intense gunfire which led to the death of eleven more. Assad’s security forces and thugs later raided the private hospital in the town and attempted to kidnap the wounded.

April 1996: During “Operation Grapes of Wrath,” Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) shelled a UN compound near Qana in the south of Lebanon, killing 106 civilians, including 33 children. One week earlier, an IDF Helicopter fired rockets at a vehicle carrying 13 civilians fleeing the village of Al-Mansouri in the South, killing two women and four children. An Amnesty International investigation revealed that none of the passengers were connected to Hezbollah.

January 2012: Eight children, ranging between eight months and nine years in age, were among 14 Bahader family members shot in a building in the Karm al-Zeitoun neighborhood of Homs. The militiamen, or ‘shabiha,’ entered the neighborhood after Assad’s forces fired heavy mortar rounds on the area, killing another 16 people.

July 2006: Israeli jets bombed a three-story building near Qana in South Lebanon, killing 28 civilians, of which 16 were children.

January 2012: All four of Maad Tayea’s children, who had been arrested in September by Syrian security forces, died in a fire while sleeping at their home in Latakia. According to relatives, security forces caused the fire after repeatedly shooting at the house. 

January 2009: UN officials report that more than a third of those killed during Israel’s assault on Gaza were children. An estimated 1,080 children were wounded.

January 2012: The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said that as of January 7, 2012, 384 children have been killed in Syria. An estimated 380 children have been detained, some as young as 14-years-old, Rima Saleh, acting UNICEF deputy executive director, told reporters in Geneva last Friday.

The list can go on and on. But the issue remains: this is a regime holding on to power in the name of resisting Israel. This is a regime that still receives the support of many in Lebanon because it backs Hezbollah and its “sacred” resistance. This is a regime that Hezbollah supporters defend because they cannot forget the pain caused by Israel’s crimes in Lebanon. And yet, this is a regime inflicting the same pain on its own people.

It is not a matter of double-standards. This is blindness and idiocy. It is the urge to retreat into communal stability that makes so many Lebanese incapable of human sympathy. Hezbollah’s political agenda depends on protecting its only Arab ally. The two are considered partners in crime by Syrian protesters. But the Shia community in Lebanon should know better, especially when it comes to human suffering and grief. They understand injustice and have paid in blood and lives to fight it. If anyone should sympathize with the Syrian people, it should be them.
Israel prefers to keep the Syrian regime in power, a weaker regime, of course; but better than any another, especially an Islamic one. The West wants to protect Israel. Hezbollah knows this, but instead tells its supporters that without this regime, the Palestinian cause will vanish and the Resistance will lose its best ally. But is the Palestinian cause enough to justify turning a blind eye to the killing of so many innocent people? How can the Palestinian cause be advanced through supporting oppression?

Assad is falling fast. When his regime is gone, and the Syrians start rebuilding their country as they see fit, relations with Lebanon will also be rebuilt. Do we want the Syrians to look at the Shia community in Lebanon as cohorts in a heinous effort to systematically murder democratic protesters? Will Hezbollah be able to contain the Lebanese Shia and protect them from the winds of freedom flying in from Syria?

The notion of resistance is changing. The ruthless dictator and his supporters are the enemy. A new resistance is taking shape in the Arab world, and the Lebanese Shia should start looking at themselves and their country from a new perspective. It is time to realize that their own leader is just another dictator who reeks of arrogance.
Hanin Ghaddar is the managing editor of NOW Lebanon. 

  • Awad

    "How can the Palestinian cause be advanced through supporting oppression?" - The writer is right. This also applies to other Arab rulers especially those with bag full of Petro-dollars.

    February 5, 2012

  • MAHA

    VERY SCARY WHATS HAPPENING, SO MUCH HATE,, INHUMANE ACTIONS FROM BOTH SIDES... i MIGHT BE WRONG but I thint that Beiruti's comment is right... and vice versa, some muslims hate each other and this is a big shame to all of them , they like wars and wouldnt stop for nothing ,, also jacks' comment is correct. i thnk both isreal and lebanon are at fault , and ther is Palestinians in the middle , ALWAYS A PROBLEM, that lebanon inherited unfortunately.

    February 2, 2012

  • alsidani

    all the collateral damages you describe happened before hama/ homs massacres 1982 bachar doesnt need a lesson from the israel his dad was the best teacher!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 1, 2012

  • Henricanan

    This article is another attempt to engage with issues that Israel does not concern him. After all, who should be condemned for these tragedies in southern Lebanon? Those who act on behalf of a foreign power and educate their children to blow themselves up or those who deny it? The cowards who take civilians as shields, firing on civilians since the positions of the UN, or those who try to neutralize them? Compare the bloody regime of Assad that Israel is more of humiliation felt by Arab-Muslims in light of the daily carnage around them. Suddenly, a fact long concealed, made cruelty, injustice based on religion, inequality and underdevelopment has spread to all mankind. It was much more comfortable when the propaganda stirred the Zionist devil!

    February 1, 2012



    January 31, 2012

  • Fadi

    LL, it was not "lebanon" but hezballa that provoked Israel. That's not the same thing. And many Lebanese were utterly shocked and enraged against hezballa for what they did, not because we sympathize with Israel, but because we all knew that israel's reaction would be that of a hysterical wild dog, indiscriminate, heartless and bloody. And boy we were right.

    January 31, 2012

  • Hassan

    Very true, it goes deeper than double standard which is happening on political and religious level; Hezboallah is loosing on both levels. Let’s forgot politics, STL, resistance, Israel etc, There is nothing more wicked than to justify turning blind eye on killing innocent people for any cause. This is called evil. How can a religious party of God accept this when they are aware of ‘No man is a true believer unless he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.” I know atheists who are more sympatric and possess virtue and morals towards the killing of innocent people than Hezbollah. Yea right cause?? You can’t pick and choose from a Holly Book whatever convenient for you and apply it in the name of God. Imam Ali said “A friend cannot be considered a friend unless he is tested on three occasions: in time of need, behind your back and after your death" and Hezboallah failed all three.

    January 31, 2012

  • ll

    Well the editors should talk about the Lebanese crimes against Israel. For the start all wars between Lebanon and Israel were provoked by Lebanon.

    January 31, 2012

  • JMU

    its funny I thought that this news station liked Israel more then Hezbollah and its allies, I guess it is true, The Lebanese may hate each other but they hate Israel more. Great article I like the comparisons, I always said Assad learned from the Israelis and there oppressive ways.

    January 30, 2012

  • Jack

    I don't remember seeing the Syrian population firing thousands of rockets on civilians in Damascus or kidnap and butcher Bashar loyalists. Do you really want to compare Assad firing on peaceful demonstrations with the battles that went between the Israeli army and the Hezbollah ?

    January 30, 2012

  • Beiruti

    Finally the dots have been connected. Thank you. Yes, of course Syria uses the same security tactics as the Israelis because the Assad Regime was put into power in Syria and maintained there as a security strategy for Israel. Assad owes his regime to the Israelis. Rami Makhlouf as much said so when he said last year that if the Assad regime were threatened then Israeli security would be threatened. That Hezbollah supports this cabal is not accidental. Hezbollah is of Iran and Iran has been an Israeli ally in the past, and possibly even now as both share a common enemy, the Arab Sunni. The conspiracy of the Middle East is not the US and Israel against the Arabs, it is the Persian and Israeli against the Sunni Arab.

    January 30, 2012

  • Firas Kay

    Powerful stuff Hanin, chapeu bas, inspiring article.

    January 30, 2012

  • vincent apisa

    (...) The IDF deliberately bombed a funeral procession or shelled the civilians during Grapes of Wrath? Israel is Syria's template? (...)

    January 30, 2012