Kidnapping Festival in Lebanon and Syria
Sectarian kidnappings in Lebanon are not new. Druze and Maronites engaged in this sport back in the 19th century. The Lebanese Phalanges Party also pioneered the art of brutal sectarian killings back in 1975 and Bashir Gemayel rose to prominence on the infamous Black Saturday – in the Lebanese civil war – when he and his henchmen kidnapped and massacred hundreds of Lebanese Muslims and Palestinians. Soon after, sectarian kidnappings spread all over Lebanon.
The Syrian regime also practiced kidnappings in Lebanon, but those were not sectarian. Anyone regardless of sect was targeted if he defied Syrian political wishes in Lebanon. Baathist oppression in Syria and Iraq is rather non-sectarian, all analysis to the contrary notwithstanding.
Thus, Sunnis in Iraq and Alawis in Syria were viciously persecuted if they dared to oppose the Baathist rule. But the Syrian regime rarely returned those kidnapped. Those who disappeared were killed and were never heard from again.
It is now the season of sectarian kidnappings in Lebanon and Syria. Without a doubt, and without any question, this season was inaugurated by the gangs of the Free Syrian Army (FSA). Their sectarian intent was clear from the beginning when they insisted, from day one, that they were fighting Shia from the Mahdi Army, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and Hezbollah.
They were spreading this rather hilarious lie – if you consider the military qualifications of the Mahdi Army – very early on in the Syrian crisis when no serious defections were reported in the Syrian Army. Even to this very day, the Syrian Army does not seem to suffer from a shortage of men (of different sects) who are willing to continue the killing and bombing. It is likely that the sectarian agenda of the FSA was an order from their oil and gas benefactors in the Gulf.
They started with an ugly kidnapping of Lebanese pilgrims with no political ties and who were traveling with their families. The professional liars of the FSA first claimed that the abducted were all Hezbollah fighters. However, when their faces were shown on camera and the ages of some of the men were revealed they modified the lie and claimed that Hezbollah fighters were traveling with the pilgrims and their families for some unknown reason.
Still, the gangs of the FSA would not be satisfied. After subjecting the families of the hostages to cruel torture through a grotesque media spectacle, for which New TV and LBC should be primarily blamed; they kidnapped one Lebanese who had fled his country after writing too many checks that bounced.
Bizarrely, the gangs of the Free Syrian Army, who find lying to be the easiest of their tasks, claimed that this lone Lebanese was, yet again, a Hezbollah fighter who was sent by Hassan Nasrallah. They also managed to feed the hostage a dosage of their grotesque sectarian language.
But this last hostage was a member of a powerful clan, the Mokdads, which has branches in Jbeil, Beirut’s southern suburbs, and the Bekaa valley. For many, loyalty to the clan supersedes any other loyalty.
The clans of the Bekaa have had very tense relationships with Hezbollah, but still it feels obligated to carry one of their representatives on its parliamentary ticket, just like the Amal Movement.
The clans have been rather secular and many of them engage in hashish cultivation to the chagrin of the puritanical ideologues of Hezbollah.
It is not clear whether Hezbollah looked the other way while the “military wing” of the Mokdad clan kidnapped scores of Syrians in Lebanon, but a video showed a Mokdad family meeting degenerating into a squabble between leaders of the “military wing” and a Hezbollah deputy from the Mokdad clan who objected to the description of kidnapping by the family as “military operations.” The Mokdads shut him down hard although some in the family were conflicted.
What is clear though is that innocent Syrian workers in Lebanon were subjected to more abuse and more attacks. Just as the FSA gangs claimed that their hostages are members of Hezbollah, the Mokdads claimed that their hostages were fighters with the Free Syrian Army. Neither side bothered with providing us with evidence.
The Western and the Saudi/Qatari-funded Arab press ignored the plight of the Lebanese hostages in Syria, just as the failed Lebanese government ignored them. But there is something dangerous looking over Lebanon and Syria. The spate of sectarian kidnappings reminded people of my generation of the beginning of the sectarian civil war.
- BDS and Its Agenda | May 14 2013
- Israel Bombs Syria, Again | May 05 2013
- Conflicting Messages on Syria: Obama’s Red Lines | May 02 2013
- US Foreign Policy Toward Syria and the Fertile Ground for Jihadi Recruitment | Apr 24 2013