Prof. Tim Anderson to ST: Britain’s move against Hezbollah appeases US, assists Netanyahu and the Zionist lobby

ST

Monday, 04 March 2019

The Australian political economist and author Prof. Tim Anderson has asserted that  Britain’s proscription of the Lebanese Hezbollah as “terrorist” is first an attempt to fabricate some domestic support for the May government, second to appease Washington and third to assist both Netanyahu and the Zionist lobby in Britain.

He made it clear that Hezbollah expelled Israel from Lebanon, and helped restore some pride in the country, so too the Popular Mobilization Forces (Hashid al Shaabi), which saved Iraq from DAESH, have led the 2018-2019 agitation to expel US forces from Iraq, after 15 years of military occupation.

The professor’s remarks came during an interview with the Syria Times e-newspaper over the goal and effects of Britain’s recent move against Hezbollah besides the absence of western demand for fighting against the black-listed Al-Nusra Front terrorist in Syria’s Idlib.

Following is the full text of the interview:

ST-Why has Britain proscribed Hezbollah as a “terror” group, at this time??

Prof. Anderson: This move by the British government to proscribe Hezbollah as ‘terrorist’ does not come in response to any particular incident, nor any particular threat to Britain. Nevertheless, Britain’s traditional support for the zionist colony in Palestine has led it, from time to time, to adopt Israel’s enemies as its own. In the past Britain, recognising the influence of Hezbollah as a political party in Lebanon, had tried to distinguish between its ‘military’ and ‘political’ wings, and at times its ‘external wing’. Upgrading the aggression, by trying to brand the entire organisation as ‘terrorist’, at this time, must be seen in current political circumstances. The current British government, led by Theresa May, does not have a majority in the parliament and has been fighting for its survival by, amongst other things, trying to brand Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as ‘anti-semitic’ for his support of Palestine. The Israeli lobby in Britain has been central to this campaign. At the same time, President Trump has led a new wave of support for the apartheid state, backing the annexation of Jerusalem; and Zionist leader Benjamin Netanyahu is fighting for his own political survival, facing an Israeli election and a criminal indictment. It is most likely that the move against Hezbollah is first an attempt to fabricate some domestic support for the May government, second to appease Washington and third to assist both Netanyahu and the zionist lobby in Britain.

ST-What will be the effect of this step on Hezbollah and Lebanon taking into account that the EU refuses to brand Hezbollah as terror entity?

Prof. Anderson: The move is certainly a British slap in the face to Lebanon, as Hezbollah is more than ever a central part of the Lebanese government. Last year’s elections saw an expansion in support for Hezbollah (‘The Resistance’) mainly in Christian and Sunni Muslim communities. It already held overwhelming support in the Shi’a community. Britain’s move also supports the US economic ‘sanctions’ against Hezbollah, which threaten Lebanese banking. The position of the EU is slightly different, reflecting the somewhat more diverse positions within Europe on relations with the Arab and Muslim world. Nevertheless, the EU did upgrade its listing of Hezbollah’s ‘military wing’ in 2013, a move which Hezbollah officials described as “written with an American hand in Zionist ink” (https://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/23/world/middleeast/european-union-adds-hezbollah-wing-to-terror-list.html). Israel lobbyists have been trying to achieve a blanket ban on the Resistance group across all western countries. They have made some gains.

ST-Who will be affected by this recognition, and who will get benefit from it?

Prof. Anderson: Looking at the bigger picture, Britain has been following the USA in virtually all forms of aggression against the West Asian region; that includes the nine current wars against the peoples of Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Syria, Bahrain, Iran and Yemen. The economic ‘sanctions’ imposed by Washington, including economic blockades, affect almost all those same countries. Britain has been playing catch up. The aim has been to fragment and weaken the independent Arab and Muslim states, so as to more easily dominate the region and control access to its resources. Lebanon has not escaped this economic war, which will affect all parties. Hezbollah claims it is not much affected, but ordinary economic activities in the country will suffer through manipulation of and controls over finance and trade. The up side is that extreme pressures coming from Washington are driving the creation of alternative trade and finance mechanisms, the latest of which is the BRICS payments system (https://www.rt.com/business/452737-brics-own-payment-system/). There is a European version of this, in particular to maintain links with Iran, but it remains weak due to excess European commercial dependency on the USA (https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/06/european-clearing-house-to-bypass-us-sanctions-against-iran).

ST- Why do Britain and its master not call for fighting against the black-listed Al-Nusra Front terrorist in Idlib?

Prof. Anderson: The wars and economic siege measures, carried out by the imperial powers, are inextricably combined. Siege and propaganda weaken what terrorist proxy armies attack. Of course, the USA and Britain have armed and funded all the terrorist groups in the region, but they only openly do this for what they call the ‘moderate’ groups and affiliates like the al Qaeda public relations front the White Helmets

Britain and France funded a range of other terrorist affiliates, including the Ghouta Media Centre and the Aleppo Media Centre (https://21stcenturywire.com/2016/09/20/exclusive-aleppo-media-centre-funded-by-french-foreign-office-eu-and-us/), then used them to ‘verify’ their own propaganda (https://counter-hegemonic-studies.net/humanitarian-war-rp-1-18/).

More than four years ago senior US officials admitted that their ‘major Arab allies’ were funding and arming the internationally proscribed terrorist groups, al Nusra and ISIS/DAESH

So, in summary, the would-be imperial power in Washington and the former colonial powers Britain and France, from the beginning, have played a double game: condemning al Nusra and ISIS while covertly supporting them, to advance their strategic objective of destroying independent political will in the region. It follows that they will try to sustain ISIS/DAESH and/or the SDF, in eastern and northern Syria, and the al Nusra linked groups in Idlib, for as long as possible. It is only the resistance of Syria, Iran, Iraq and Hezbollah, with allies including Russia, that have been able to eliminate this terrorism.

ST-Would you like to add anything?

Prof. Anderson: It is important to recognize that, just as Hezbollah expelled Israel from Lebanon, and helped restore some pride in the country, so too the Popular Mobilization Forces (Hashid al Shaabi), which saved Iraq from DAESH, have led the 2018-2019 agitation to expel US forces from Iraq, after 15 years of military occupation.

For example, Sheikh Qais al-Khazali, leader of Asaib Ahl al-Haq (League of the Righteous) called for US military withdrawal in 2017 (https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2017/10/24/539730/Iraq-Hashd-alShaabi-US), and repeated that call in 2019. He said there was no longer any justification for the presence of US forces, asserting his belief that more than half the new National Assembly “reject the presence” of US troops. “If the United States wants to impose its presence by force, and to bypass the Iraqi constitution and parliament, Iraq can treat it the same way and drive it out by force… But the first phase is political,” al-Khazali said (https://apnews.com/109a9aabe987430cbe63e4a668711833).

The colonial states smear and sanction both Hezbollah and Hashid al Shaabi, with lies that they are ‘terrorists’ or extreme sectarians who do not care about their own people. Coming from the sponsors of al Qaeda, al Nusra and DAESH, that is hard to stomach. The sectarian accusation, from western and Zionist sources, has more to do with the frustration of ‘divide and rule’ strategies, as also their dismay in seeing a revival of political will amongst their opponents. Yet the region has seen an alliance of the downtrodden (mustadafin) which, with mature leadership, has built wider alliances.

It is worth mentioning that University of Sydney Provost Stephen Garton has chosen- as a pretext- one tiny, buried image in the background of info graphic, shown during advisory analysis made by professor Tim Anderson  about the Israeli attacks on Gaza, to suspend him from his position as a senior lecturer and to ban him from entering the university at which he has worked for more than 20 years.

At the beginning of this month, lawyers lodged an application in the Fair Work Commission, contesting the professor’s dismissal by the University of Sydney.

Interviewed by: Basma Qaddour

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