Addressing Hezbollah’s “corruption”

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There is always a story or an angle about Hezbollah that gets the attention, first, of the Saudi media, and then consequently of the Western media. Readers of Arabic are struck by how the themes, stories, and perspectives of the Saudi/Hariri media invariably become the stories of the Beirut correspondents of US (and to a lesser degree, French and British) media. The Hariri assassination story always originated from rumors and leaks in the Saudi royal yellow press, and was regurgitated by the Western media’s Beirut correspondents. One has to write a story and do a study of how the Beirut-based Western correspondents operate and how they all rely on the local Hariri media office to hire drivers, translators, fixers, and stringers. The Western media’s Beirut offices are now largely an extension of the Hariri/Saudi media operations in Lebanon.

The problem of Western correspondents and their reliance on the themes, leaks, rumors, and spin of the Hariri press office was only compounded after the outbreak of the Syrian war. Beirut-based correspondents did not stumble on “activists” in Syria to help guide their highly biased and highly unprofessional reportage on Syria. Rather, they got the names and contacts of Syrians from the Hariri press office and the affiliates of the Saudi media offices in Beirut. It is not a conspiracy as those things happen in broad daylight. By following the Twitter activities of Western correspondents in Beirut for a week, one can notice that they are often urged by Hariri personalities or supporters of the Free Syrian Army to cover certain stories or to pay attention to certain YouTube videos. In other words, it is not only that many of the Western correspondents in Beirut are not covering Lebanon and Syria independently, but many have become lazy, relying on their contacts in the Hariri movement and Free Syrian Army in order to cover Syria, and to a lesser degree, Lebanon.

The story these days is “corruption” within Hezbollah. It was started by stories exclusively reported in Saudi/Qatari/Hariri media about the identification of one spy working for Israel within Hezbollah. Hezbollah never confirmed the story and never commented about it but one Hezbollah middle ranked figure, Ghalib Abu Zaynab, denied to a Lebanese station that he is related to “the [Israeli] agent Muhammad Shawraba.” Abu Zaynab was compelled to respond because Saudi/Hariri media had reported that the Israeli agent was his brother-in-law (that he was married to one of his sister). Abu Zaynab explained that he has no sisters. Amusingly, Saudi/Hariri media had reported that Abu Zaynab had to resign from his portfolio as the person in charge of Hezbollah’s relations with Christian political parties and churches because he was tied to Shawraba, as if ties to an Israeli agent would merely result in resignation from Hezbollah.

The Christian Science Monitor correspondent Nicholas Blanford jumped on the story, and he recycled – merely recycled – variations of the stories in the Hariri/Saudi media in The Daily Star and The Christian Science Monitor (yes, it still exists but its best years are well behind it). Blanford, of course, has established a solid record of disseminating the propaganda and talking points of the Hariri press office, and has written a hagiography of Rafiq Hariri – which amusingly contained the first story of the assassination of Rafiq Hariri, before the Hariri family changed its mind in the last two years. Blanford does not even change or edit the propaganda stories about Lebanon, and Hezbollah in particular, which appear in the Hariri media in Lebanon (and subsequently in the Saudi media around the world).

The recent story is about corruption within Hezbollah. The fact that Israel was able to lure and recruit one lone member of Hezbollah’s security branch is used as evidence in this story to indicate that “massive” corruption has invaded the party and that it is falling apart. The irony about those accounts is that there has never been a more corrupt political movement, and political family, in Lebanon than the Hariri family and the Future Movement. The scale of corruption of the Hariri family and the introduction of massive scales of bribery is something that Lebanon has never experienced before.
Furthermore, the corruption of Walid Jumblatt – who used to accuse Rafiq Hariri of being a spy for the Mossad and the CIA when Hariri would cut off his funding – has never attracted the attention of Western media because Jumblatt is a fine host of the class of the foreign correspondents in Beirut. Jumblatt had benefited from Iranian, American, French, British, Saudi, Qatari, Syrian, and Soviet funding and arming over the years but his story has never been of interest because he has become a foe of Hezbollah and he provides, in English and French, Western correspondents with amusing anecdotes and quotes.

Having said that, Lebanon is a corrupting scene and money afflicts all political groups in Lebanon. But the thesis advanced by Blanford (relying on Hariri politicians who, we are told, follow Hezbollah affairs very closely) that the corruption of Hezbollah has become comparable to the scale of corruption by the PLO in its Lebanon sojourn is laughable. But Nasrallah’s absence from the visible political scene since the July War in 2006 has harmed the party and allowed corruption to affect the lifestyles of certain key personalities within the leadership – but not Nasrallah, which is crucial. But what Blanford does not report is that the party under Nasrallah’s leadership does not protect corrupt people even if they are brothers of senior leaders of the party. The party did not intervene when both the brother of Husayn Musawi and of Minister Muhammad Fnaysh were imprisoned on various charges of corruption. That can’t be said about any other political party in Lebanon. It is unimaginable that a Hariri minister’s brother would be allowed to serve time in jail, or that a Jumblatt MP would be allowed to stand trial for corruption. But Israel and Saudi Arabia, through the wishful thinking of their figures in March 14, are dreaming. They want to believe that corruption can achieve for them what Israeli atrocities in 2006 could not achieve.

Dr. As’ad AbuKhalil is a Professor of Political Science at California State University, Stanislaus, a lecturer and the author of The Angry Arab News Service. He tweets @asadabukhalil

Comments

I think the author wrote this because for as long as I have been reading this newspaper, he has claimed that all media reports of HA are false because it is an omnipotent organization whose members would rather die than speak to a Beirut-based Wetern (or even Lebanese) correspondent. Every time an American or other reporter claims to have interviewed someone close to HA, he cried foul, saying that they were much too noble to do such a thing.
Well, turns out that what, four or five of their top guys were Mossad plants. And dozens of others at the top are mere thieves. And there are probably all kinds of shenanigans in South Beirut.
Hard to find out that your heroes are all too human (and some are Zionists).

"Well, turns out that what, four or five of their top guys were Mossad plants."

There was only one spy, Mohammed Shawraba, who was uncovered by Hezbollah themselves. And he wasn't one of their top echelon. Why do you exaggerate in number and misrepresent?
And as for corruption, Hezbollah are the only Lebanese group to have refrained from using any leverage in blocking the prosecution of the relations of Fneish and Musawi. There is virtually no other Lebanese party on the political scene that does that; all these others are rife with corruption. Ad basic reason -which you either lack or seem to assume we who read your comments lack- is that Hezbollah would have long been filtrated and rendered subservient and acquiescent (to repulsive Zionist/Wahabi or Zionist/Muslim Brotherhood agents, whether Lebanese or otherwise) just like the PLO.
It is a testimony of how uncorrupt - in this jungle of corruption that is our Lebanon- that Hezbollah remain, to an extraordinary extent, integral and efficient in the fight against the terrorist ISraeli settler-colony and as a bulwark against Wahabi/Takfiris.

Your comment is merely an echo of the anti-Hezbollah propaganda based not on fact and plausible assessment but on lies, misdirections and obfuscations.

Barry, don't confuse with them with facts. Next comment will be that the DailyStar Is a zionist newspaper.

yigal the Zionist (i.e. colonizer of Palestine) speaks about zionist newspaper, as if Saudi royals and their rags are not the best helpers of Zionist colonizers against the Resistance. Yeah, NATO, Gulf royals and Zionists - the unholy trinity of colonization, torture, spying and stupid propaganda.

But As'ad AbuKhalil's article is exactly in response to this: "Blanford, of course, has established a solid record of disseminating the propaganda and talking points of the Hariri press office, and has written a hagiography of Rafiq Hariri – which amusingly contained the first story of the assassination of Rafiq Hariri, before the Hariri family changed its mind in the last two years. Blanford does not even change or edit the propaganda stories about Lebanon, and Hezbollah in particular, which appear in the Hariri media in Lebanon (and subsequently in the Saudi media around the world)."

Blanford is a paid lackey of the immensely corrupt Harriri/ Saudi proxy media empire. Big surprise that he would try to demonize Hezbollah. The Daily Star has an anti-Hezbollah agenda as do all other Saudi Arabian/Gulf Arab Lebanese media lackey's. This is well known.

Seems like you care more about regurgitating propaganda that pleases both the Zionist and the Wahabi camp.

1- The fact that Israel tries to infiltrate Hezbollah is a no-brainer. Again, had they been steeped in corruption, there is virtually no chance that they would have grown up to be the leading resistance force in the region, withstanding Gulf Arab money, Zionist pervasively corrupting intelligence, US hegemony, etc.

2- Again, only one spy has been uncovered (we are talking recently). You misrepresent when you bundle up the total number of spies that have been uncovered over the span of nearly a decade without specifying the time frame. Your intention is clearly to make it seem like Hezbullah is infested with spies (and that this, therefore, further signals the extent of corruption they suffer from). This is histrionic nonsense signaling nothing but your dishonest intentions. I repeat, in a country as corrupt as Lebanon, the extent of Hezbollah's intact structural integrity and the distance they, as an organization, keep from corruption is quite extraordinary.

3- The fact that Hezbollah work to disclose spies working for the Zionist colony amongst them or indeed amongst the Lebanese as a whole does not imply corruption. The fact that they succeed does not imply corruption Where is the logic in that? In fact, it is further testimony of their integrity that, unlike virtually all other Lebanese groups, they continuously look into weeding out the possibly corrupting elements working for the Zionist colony. And it is further evidence of your sleaze and your stupid desperation (as well as Blanford's) in attempting to defame the resistance that you would present that as proof of corruption.

4- I notice that you always react, in all your other comments on Al Akhbar articles, in the same manner in regards to Hezbollah and other resistance factions/rhetoric/figures; in an absolutist characterization whose sole intention is to amplify animosity towards them. It is clear that you are a hasbara troll bot sent here for this exclusive purpose. Don't you hasbara brainiacs understand that you're quite transparent to everyone else by now and you do yourself a disfavor by being nothing but what we have come to expect from your ilk? And for what? For the sake of that murderous racist settler colony called Israel whose very existence is based on racial and religious supremacism, on ethnic cleansing, a history of massacres, land and home thefts. You stand for nothing but a murderer of innocents and children. And here you are, claiming to be speaking against a corruption imagined by your kind to defame and slander our resistance factions.

The anglozionist empire and Saudi Arabia - "democratic" brothers in arms..

I was almost tricked by the Saudi media into believeing. that the Hariri murder was a Resistance Axis operation ; now I see that it might have been the Tooth Fairy as explained at Al Akhbar.

There is a very strong media campaign sustained by Saudi Arabia to demonize Hezbollah now that its role in protecting Lebanon from Islamists terrorists is widely recognized.
Rumors are abundant that Hezbollah is having problems with Iran as Nasralllah and Iran differ on the fate of Bashar Al Assad.
The latest rumor is 'corruption'...
The purpose of this campaign is to depict Hezbollah as weakening and not worth supporting.

This only shows how desperate Saudi Arabia has become in stopping the growing appeal and power of Shias not only in Lebanon but inside Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

Nicholas Branford, of course, cut his reporter's teeth with the former corrupt Zaim Kamel Assad legacy and now Hariri/Saudi owned media in Beirut, so no surprise there. Future-owned media clearly exists for foreign consumption. Not even Future party believes it is informing Lebanese.

Again a horrible article by horrible lebanese in a horrible paper

Horrible? Too close to heart/truth
Really have you read the article or even the title?
Horrible Lebanese?

As George Galloway says:
have they just let you out?
and as we say
what u on, mate?
incrase the dosage and stay indoors

Western media is but a tool of Western imperialism - nothing new here, even though the details are amusing. And Western media role was never to inform its readers - just to repeat Western imperialism propaganda. Of course, it also means that even Western imperialist rulers know not so much about the reality of the ME (Latin America, Russia, China and so on). But they do not really need it - to bomb a place one does not need to have a knowledge about it.
Of course, such bombings and other crimes could result in some unpleasant surprises - like the Paris shooting, for ex, which is a direct result of France' s support for Syrian "rebels", and sure, French media were telling the same trash about Syria as USA's one, so, yes, imperialist media helped to bring the GCC/NATO/Zionist supported terrorism to Paris.

The people who write that kind of opening sentence are those who are not only NOT journalists but those who really haven't a clue how the press really operates in America. I AM a retired American journalist who worked for the top publications and I have a masters degree from the best journalism school in the country. What is great about America is the freedom to cover and write on a wide range of topics without having the government come and lock you up. And the readers (if they chose to), especially in print journalism, are totally free to be able to read or watch reports that range from the far left to moderate to the far right points of view, and make up their own mind as to what they believe. Most Arab countries cannot even conceive of this kind of intellectual and actual freedom, for to try to do so would often mean jail time or a public flogging.
What this person misses is that what makes the press weak is human laziness, NOT the concept of a free press--which is defended fiercely here, and as you will see by the rally today in France, also defended in Europe.
It's time the Arab countrymen and women started pushing to achieve these freedoms themselves and keep in mind that what should be torn down, flogged and jailed is not the concept of freedom and human rights but rather the terrorist criminals who wish to destroy those things...

"a retired American journalist"? That is, a parrot for CIA/big business/Zionist propaganda? What's next : some "retired American torturer" would brag about his/her great experience?

Spare us your sanctimonious drivel and your holier-than-thou nonsense. Your western governments spy on you like animals in a lab. They torture, they imprison unjustly, they treat their religious and racial minorities with xenophobic suspicion. With the complicity of your mainstream media, they brainwash you into supporting their unjust wars, their massacres of other people, feeding you like herd - and this includes your professional class and your your "average joe"- a fodder of lies. And you accept these lies, no matter how conscious you are of the many times that the likes of these lies have been uncovered to yot previously. The evils of these colonial-to-neocolonial powers is exponentially worse than the conglomerate evil of all the arab depots (who are anyway typically propped up in place by these colonial powers) put together.

I don't see how citing your pedigree matters here. Like you, that Zionist ivy-league-troll Alan Dershowitz graduated and teaches from and in so-called prestigious universities and yet that didn't seem to stop him from being a plagiarizer, a liar, a fraud and seemingly a paedophile. Go preach about your pedigree to those of your ilk, who care more about appearance than substance, about high lauded empty rhetoric than substance.

Disregarding these platitudes of yours concerning your education, it is undeniable that mainstream media in the US and the West have gone the way of Big Business and are in the hands of the few. There is a far stronger and yet more invisible tether and censor than an overt authoritarian one and that is the fine incredible strong silk of neoliberalism, buying out dissent and economically bullying dissent into subservience and acquiescence. 6 media corporations control 90 percent of the US media: http://www.businessinsider.com/these-6-corporations-control-90-of-the-me...
An in France, "two thirds of all French newspapers and magazines are owned by Dassault and Lagardère, France’s leading arms’ manufacturers" : http://mondediplo.com/2007/10/14france.

So, you know what to do with that precious degree of yours.

The Paris shooting Is the result of men who are unsecure with their religion.To kill someone over a cartoon(s)?Its O.K. to publish degrading and rascist anti Jewish or anti "western" caricatures In Muslim press,have religious figures on Muslim countries TV,quoting 7th century scripts as gospel but so help your Infidale god If you Insult the prophet...
It has been almost 48 hrs since the Paris attack but this newspaper hasn't even published this news Item, even In the brief news section.As If It never happened.
Muslims give a bad rap to Muslims. Not the "western" or "western" controlled media. Read the colum on the top right of the Al Akbar newspaper- killings ,rape and pillaging from Mauritania to the Phillipines.All by the hands of Muslims.
The Information we get about Daesh Is not from western media, but from ISIS themselves.They publish videos and news releases glorifying murder and "marrying" 12 year olds.A sane western journalist wouldn't go to Daesh territory.
Instead of standing up and expressing revultion by these animals who disgrace the over 1 billion decent Muslims worldwide,ppl rather cling to Inferiority complexes and blame anyone other than themselves.
Hizballah Is (terrorist) secretive closed control media by choice.Those who don't like Its Ideology and activities, will naturally publish unpopular "news". Same goes VS.Is that worth a whole article of whinning?or maybe retribution by death?

Yigal

What about the Chief Rabbi Ovadia? Didn't he publicly say that all Arabs should be killed? And he was loved & revered by the masses & those thugs that lead you.

Ovadia Yosef said lots of things about Arabs, but not that. Ever. He was well respected in the Israeli Arab community and had contact (in Arabic) with Muslim leaders outside of Israel. He was not PC and he said things that got a lot of liberal Jews upset, but he never called for death.

Yigal the Zionist (i.e. colonizer of Palestine) knows a lot about "men who are unsecure with their religion" - Zionist mass-murder Muslims and Christians (including small children) and religious authority (like a prominent rabbi in Zionist gob payroll) provide a religious justification to such crimes (Torat Ha-Melech).
By the way, Zionists also support IS http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.623717
- and not only by words, in Syria (UN published some facts about Zionist occupation army and Syrian "rebels")
Because IS is "better" to Zionists - colonizers than Hizballa (while Nasrallah condemned Paris murders) Hizballah media are not insulting people who are not Shia, unlike Zionist media which not only insult non-Jews but also glorify murder of non-Jewish children.
Now, a few of "sane" Western journos went to "moderate rebels" (NATO/GCC/Zionist supported) and were kidnapped by them and ...sold to IS. So much for "sanity" by Zionist colonizers.

Why do you quote from Israeli newspapers if you thijnk that Israel is a murderous regime? Your ideology is that everything associated with Zionism is corrupt and genocidal and yet you quote from its free press, which quotes its independent NGOs (many of whom would be proscribed in any other Middle Eastern nation due to their opposition to govt activity), which is protected by a judiciary that is completely free of the governing class (almost no oversight from the Knesset).
You should only quote from Arab papers and conspiracy websites, where the real news is....

Excellent response Lidia. I always read your comments.

Thank you. I have a dubious fortune to know Zionists well and could see through their hasbara. I try to use my experience to debunk Zionists' claims.

the 9 dead in tripoli are also victims of zionist colonialism.

Victims of NATO/Zionist colonizers support for GCC wahhabist fanatics.

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