A War to Remember in July: Stories Told by Al-Manar Reporter

Mohammad Qazan July War

Marwa Haidar

Al-Manar reporter Mohammad Qazan tells his story in covering the Israeli aggression against Lebanon during July war in 2006.

Taking many risks along with Al-Manar team by moving from one town to another across the Lebanese south and under Israeli bombardment throughout 33 days was not easy.

13 years on the divine victory, the reporter wants to talk about his experience, which was etched on his memory, in order to show the Israeli brutality vs the Lebanese heroic steadfastness.

The First Strikes

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Al-Manar Reporter Mohamamd Qazan in a photo taken in May 2018.

A day after he covered the press conference of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah in Beirut’s southern suburb (Dahiyeh), Mohammad Qazan headed to the south, he says. With the main Beirut-south highway was destroyed at Damour bridge following an Israeli strike, Al-Manar reporter took a minor road in a bid to reach Sidon, the Lebanese south’s gate.

Shortly after he crossed Sainiq bridge, Israeli warplanes carried out a raid, destroying the bridge which was a direct tie between Sidon and other southern towns. The strike threw the reporter’s car tens of meters away. Talking about that incident, Qazan says that several people were injured by that strike and he took some of them to a hospital in Sidon.

After rushing to hospital, Qazan had to continue his trip to the southern town of Nabatiyeh, where he was tasked with covering the Israeli aggression. As he crossed Sidon, Israeli warplanes carried out another strike, targeting the town of Ghaziyeh, near Sidon.

“I was in Ghaziyeh as the strike hit Al-Ghaziyeh. Pieces of smashed glass and shrapnel were scattered on my car due to the raid,”

Qazan says in an article talking about his experience in July War 2006, published by Al-Manar’s Arabic Website.

At Nabatiyeh

At Nabatiyeh, the situation was very dangerous. In the third day of the aggression, Al-Manar team became the only journalist staff in the southern town. All journalists who were delegated by other Lebanese channels left Nabatiyeh after receiving calls urging them to flee the area due to high risks there.

“Unlike the situation in Nabatiyeh, Journalists were allowed to stay in the southern city of Tyre, where they had access to secure places,” Qazan says.

In Nabatiyeh, Qazan and the accompanying team’s mission was duplicated. They had to find a secure place for them to sleep, and a place for the SNG vehicle.

“I was tasked with receiving messages from Al-Manar reporters in Sidon and in the border area. Nabatiyeh was the main point where Al-Manar was live streaming so we had to stay there in order to keep track of Al-Manar’s coverage.”

“We had spent our nights at garages, sometimes in the car or under a tree. But the most dangerous and touching incidents, I remember, are when we knew that the place where we had spent the earlier night was hit by an Israeli strike.”

Heroic Steadfastness

The journalistic mission was less difficult, according to Al-Manar reporter who emotionally talks about steadfastness of the Lebanese people who stayed in their houses despite the brutal aggression.

“In every time we entered a town in the south, we were overwhelmed by the people’s insistence to stay in their houses despite the strikes, the massacres, the destruction and all other risks. Those scenes were so encouraging to go ahead with our coverage despite all dangers.”

“I remember very well when we were surprised to see an elderly farmer watering his field in Kfarrumman, or a shepherd leading his cattle to cross the Jarmaq Bridge which was destroyed by Israeli strikes.”

Talking about the most dangerous incidents in July War, Qazan remembers when he and Al-Manar staff went to Zibdin town shortly after Israeli warplanes committed a massacre there.

“Just few seconds after we left Zibdin, Israeli warplanes carried out another strike.”

Qazan also narrates when he survived, along with Al-Manar cameraman, an Israeli drone attack as they infiltrated into an area close to Al-Ghandouriyeh and Al-Qantara villages where resistance fighters were engaged in fierce clashes with Israeli occupation forces.

“I survived, along with colleague Haidar Al-Jawahari, two missiles shot by an Israeli drone as we were trying to cover the Merkava battle in Wadi Al-Hujair.”

“City of Imam Hussein”

“We never knew how we survived such dangers! Is it because we were abiding by security measures or is it our luck?… Or is it because our love to this profession which is molded with our faith in the resistance? I don’t know… And I couldn’t believe what was really happening during those days. We were moving alone, the cameraman and me, from one town to another throughout 33 days. Surely we were encircled by the God’s providence… for we were in a city called ‘the City of Imam Hussein (a.s.)’,”

Al-Manar reporter says referring to Nabatiyeh city.

Cluster Bombs

Recalling a funny but a scaring story of July War, Mohamamd Qazan remembers when one Civil Defense officer gave him some cluster bombs in the lasts days of the war, saying they were exploded. However, it became clear then, that they were unexploded.

“The bombs appeared in one of my live messages on TV. I put them in my car and they stayed there for several days, thinking that they pose no threat. But when the cessation of hostilities took effect in August 14, we handed over the bombs to a resistance fighter to discover then that they were not exploded and that one of them was about to go off.”

“Our feelings at time were mixed between astonishment, laughter and fear. We were for days holding these explosive remnants in my car!”

Moments to Remember

Qazan speaks with passion about several incidents that he had passed through during July War.

“In the last week of the war we were working on our coverage with peace and calmness. I couldn’t know the secret behind such feeling. We appeared in several live messages with Israeli spy drones were clearly spotted, and sometimes strikes were hitting areas close to us.”

“Sometimes, and despite that we were in rush due to our work and other risks, we didn’t hesitate to provide a medicine for an elderly and to drive a civilian to a more secure place.”

According to Qazan, the most beautiful moments were when he and Al-Manar cameraman, Haidar Al-Jawahari, met resistance fighters.

“The resistance fighters were the reason behind our high morals. They also were facilitating our work. I hope that what we did during July War had offered some support to the resistance and imaged the heroic steadfastness of our country in face of the brutal Israeli aggression.”

“One day, we arrived in my hometown, Al-Taybeh, we got into a house where resistance fighters were gathering in the border village during the war. My colleague, Haidar Al-Jawahari, was surprised by his brother, who was a resistance fighter, in that house. That meeting was really memorable!”

Mohammad Qazan voices pride when talking about his experience in July war. He stresses that Al-Manar’s coverage during the 33-day war had contributed to the divine victory through media resistance and psychological warfare.

“After God, all thanks are to Al-Manar staff who was persistent. The team which included Haidar Al-Jawahari- who escorted me throughout 33 days-, technician Ibrahim Karaki and cameramen: Samir Iskandar, Mohammad Saleh and Ali Fahs. It was an experience of high risk for it was a decisive battle that thwarted a great scheme in our region.”

Source: Al-Manar


What Happened Behind the Scenes of the Interview With Sayyed Nasrallah? ماذا دار في كواليس اللقاء مع نصرالله؟

By Imad Marmal – Al-Joumhouriya Newspaper

The televised interview with Hezbollah Secretary-General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah carried a lot of connotations due to the positions and sensitive information that it revealed. But not everything appeared on air. There are things that unfolded behind the scenes. The full picture would be incomplete without these details.

At around 7:00 pm Friday evening, the Al-Manar crew began its journey to the location where the interview with Sayyed [Hassan Nasrallah] was to be conducted. The security measures adopted for this particular interview were the same as those on other occasions. Black curtains covered the windows of the cars used, making it impossible to know the route the vehicles took and their final destination.

Remarkably, at each stop, the security detail of the party [Hezbollah] was very polite with us and apologized for any inconvenience those precautionary measures caused. Perhaps the enthusiasm of conducting the long-awaited interview with Sayyed at a time of great complexity and vital issues contributed to alleviating the stress caused by those necessary security measures. In addition, the security escorts were courteous, making it easier and adding a level of smoothness to the whole process. Not long after departure, we arrived at the location chosen for the interview. It was a large hall. A part of it was allocated for the studio where the episode would be broadcast. On the other side, there was a reception hall lined with sofas and a table in the middle that was filled with teacups, plates of sweets, dates, walnuts and raisins.

We were immediately received by Sayyed’s aides and warmly welcomed. Meanwhile, the crew was finalizing details concerning the studio, which was “engineered” in a way that suits the status of the interviewee and the memories of the July war. The walls were decorated with Quranic verses and pictures that captured the experiences of the war and its different stages.

At about 8:30, Nasrallah arrived with a smile that showed an early indication of his satisfaction. After an exchange of handshakes and hugs, Sayyed entered the studio, examining it and expressing his opinion regarding some of its features. Before zero hour, he sat on the seat allotted for him to test it. He noticed that it was not comfortable enough and suggested replacing it with a more suitable one.

Minutes before the interview was about to start, Sayyed addressed us.

“Tonight I will surprise the “Israelis” with a plan that will show them that they are exposed to the rockets of the resistance,” he said.

At that moment, we were confident that the interview would be exceptional. The leader of the crew was quick to ask the cameraman to zoom into the map as Nasrallah began to explain its content.

We asked Nasrallah about his health. He assured us that he is fine. We told him that he appeared to be keen in trying to reduce his weight. He smiled and replied that there was a “breach” during the month of Ramadan when his weight increased a little more than the limit approved.

It’s nine o’clock. The interview is now live on air. It starts with remembering the July anniversary and the equations it set. Nasrallah did not wait long to send messages to the “Israeli” entity. During the first break, one of Sayyed’s aides walked in and presented him with initial reactions to his positions, especially among the “Israelis”. He pointed out that “some circles within “Israel” called his speech the ‘map speech’.” Nasrallah seemed delighted, hinting that the first ‘salvo’ of his messages hit its target.

As the discussion resumed, Nasrallah returns to addressing the challenges facing the region and Lebanon, as he continues to draw the strategic equations.

During the second break, Sayyed catches his breath as he sips on a glass of carrot juice. As the interview resumes, he picks up where he left off. Three and a half hours later, the curtains falls on Nasrallah’s longest interview. The people around him begin to give their impressions about the interview while signs of satisfaction and fulfillment appeared on his face despite the lengthy exchange. After chatting about the content of the episode and its potential effects, Sayyed allows the room to take personal photos with him. In the meantime, one of the attendees brought up the question of the official exams and their results. Nasrallah did not miss the opportunity to make a funny remark.

“If my son had achieved an excellent result, some would have linked it to Hezbollah’s strength and its weapons,” he said. “I am satisfied with him just passing. This is better.”

Sayyed bids us farewell and then departs smoothly. As for us, we return the same way we came using the same procedures and measures.

ماذا دار في كواليس اللقاء مع نصرالله؟

حملت المقابلة التلفزيونية مع الامين العام لـ»حزب الله» السيد حسن نصرالله كثيراً من الدلالات، بفعل المواقف والمعلومات الحسّاسة التي انطوت عليها. لكن ما ظهر على الهواء ليس كل شيء، إذ انّ الكواليس تخفي في جعبتها تفاصيل، لا يكتمل المشهد من دونها.

نحو السابعة مساء الجمعة الماضي، إنطلقت الرحلة نحو اللقاء التلفزيوني مع «السيد» عبر قناة «المنار». الإجراءات الأمنية هي نفسها في مثل هذه المناسبات، لجهة تبديل السيارات أكثر من مرة، وفي أكثر من مكان. الستائر السوداء تغطي نوافذ السيارات المستخدمة، بحيث يستحيل عليك معرفة معالم المناطق التي يتمّ عبورها أو تحديد موقع المحطة الأخيرة التي ستنتهي فيها «الجولة التمويهية».

واللافت، أنّه عند كل محطة نزول وصعود، كان الاشخاص المكلفون من «الحزب» بمرافقتنا يتصرّفون بتهذيب فائق ويعتذرون عن اي إزعاج قد تتسبّب به التدابير الإحترازية والإلزامية. ولعلّ الحماسة لإجراء الحوار المُنتظر مع «السيد» في توقيت مفصلي ومزدحم بالملفات الحيوية، ساهمت في التخفيف من وطأة الإجراءات الضرروية. كذلك، فإنّ دماثة أخلاق المرافقين سهّلت الأمر، وأضفت نوعاً من السلاسة على مسار التنقّل. بعد مضي مدة ليست طويلة كثيراً على الانطلاق، وصلنا الى مكان إجراء المقابلة، وهو كناية عن قاعة واسعة خُصّص جزء منها للاستوديو الذي ستُبث منه الحلقة، بينما وُضع صالون للاستقبال في جانب آخر، حيث اصطفت بعض الكنبات، تتوسطها طاولة توزعت عليها أكواب الشاي وصحون ضمّت الحلوى والتمر والجوز والزبيب.

على الفور، استقبلنا مساعدو «السيد» بكثير من الترحاب والحرارة، فيما كان فريق العمل يضع اللمسات الاخيرة على تفاصيل الاستوديو الذي تمّت «هندسته» بطريقة تتناسب وخصوصية الشخصية وذكرى حرب تموز، خصوصاً لناحية تزيين الجدران بالآيات القرآنية والصور المستقاة من تجربة الحرب ومراحلها.

عند الثامنة والنصف تقريباً، وصل نصرالله ترافقه الابتسامة التي أظهرت مؤشراً مبكراً الى ارتياحه. بعد المصافحة والعناق، دخل «السيد» الى الاستوديو، مستطلعاً جزئياته ومبدياً رأيه في بعضها. جلس على المقعد المخصّص له لاختباره، قبل أن تدقّ ساعة الصفر، فلاحظ أنّه غير مريح كفاية، مقترحاً استبداله بآخر أكثر ملاءمة، وهكذا كان.

دقائق قبل انطلاق الحوار، خاطبنا «السيد» قائلاً: «الليلة سأفاجئ الاسرائيليين بخارطة تُبيّن انكشافهم أمام صواريخ المقاومة». في تلك اللحظة، تأكّد لنا أنّ المقابلة ستكون استثنائية، فيما سارع مسؤول فريق العمل الى الطلب من المصور بأن تغوص الكاميرا في عمق الخارطة وتأخذها «كلوز»، حين يباشر نصرالله في عرضها وشرح محتواها.

نسأل نصرالله عن صحته، فيُطمئن الى انّها جيدة. نقول له إنّه كان حريصاً على السعي الى خفض وزنه، فيجيب مبتسماً أنّ «خرقاً» حصل خلال شهر رمضان حين زاد وزني قليلاً عن الحد المرسوم.

انها التاسعة. الحوار ينطلق مباشرة على الهواء من بوابة استعادة ذكرى حرب تموز والمعادلات التي أرستها، ونصرالله لا يتأخّر في توجيه الرسائل المدوّية الى الكيان الاسرائيلي. خلال الفاصل الاول، يدخل أحد مساعدي «السيد» ويعرض له ردود الفعل الأولية على مواقفه، ولاسيما في الداخل الاسرائيلي، مشيراً الى «أنّ بعض أوساط العدو أطلقت على كلامه تسمية خطاب الخارطة». تنفرج اسارير نصرالله، موحياً بأنّ «الصلية» الاولى من الرسائل أصابت هدفها.

مع استئناف النقاش، يعود نصرالله الى محاكاة التحدّيات التي تواجه المنطقة ولبنان، مستكملاً رسم المعادلات الاستراتيجية.

وأثناء استراحة الفاصل الثاني، يلتقط «السيد» أنفاسه مع كوب من عصير الجزر، قبل ان تدور محرّكات المقابلة مجدداً، ويستكمل ما كان قد بدأه. عقب ثلاث ساعات ونصف الساعة تقريباً، يُسدل الستار على أطول مقابلة أجراها نصرالله. يبادر المحيطون به الى إعطاء انطباعاتهم حولها، في وقت بدت علامات الارتياح والرضا على وجهه، على الرغم من الساعات الطويلة التي استغرقها الحوار. وبعد دردشة حول مضمون الحلقة ومفاعيلها المحتملة، يفسح «السيد» المجال لالتقاط الصور الشخصية معه. في هذه الأثناء، أعاد أحد الحاضرين طرح مسألة الامتحانات الرسمية ونتائجها، فلا يفوّت نصرالله الفرصة هنا كي يمرّر تعليقاً ظريفاً، بقوله وهو يضحك: «لو حقّق ابني نتيجة متفوقة لكان البعض سيربط ذلك بقوة «حزب الله وسلاحه». كان يكفي أن ينجح. هذا أفضل.»

يودّعنا «السيد» ثم يغادر بانسيابية، قبل أن نسلك نحن طريق الإياب، وفق الآلية نفسها التي اعتُمدت في الذهاب، وقد سبقتنا الأصداء الى الداخل والخارج.

Media on the Frontlines: Differences between the July Victory and the Joroud Victory إعلاميون على الجبهة.. ماذا بين انتصاري تموز والجرود؟

By Ali Ibrahim Matar

Beirut – The media has become the most powerful weapon in the modern era. It has become an integral part of the modern war machine due to its ability to create ideas, market ideologies and promote victories.

The media has become so important that it has crippled the ability of a large segment of the population to think objectively. The rapid flow of news, information and analysis, whether true or false, is being utilized. The threat posed by this weapon has been amplified with the rapid rise of social media.

This media system has a pivotal role in covering wars. In the July 2006 aggression, for example, it was an essential part of showcasing the victory of the resistance against the “Israeli” enemy. It also played a major role during the war in Syria. Social media showed advancements during the media’s coverage. The information war was highly fundamental during the Syrian war. Those watching some media channels such as Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya would think that Syria has fallen. But the truth on the ground was very different. There is no doubt that the two media experiences of the July 2006 war and the war in Syria starting from 2011 were different. This is what journalists who covered these two conflicts explained to us.

There is no doubt that the media experience differed when it came to the war with the “Israeli” enemy and the war with the Takfiri groups.

“The experience varies between the two arenas according to the region and the environment. In Syria, the movement was slow due to the lack of knowledge of the area. There was always more caution to it. You must be with a certain group, for instance certain combat groups, residents of that area or existing correspondents,” Al-Manar correspondent, Dia’ Abu Taam, points out.

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He tells al-Ahed News “the situation in the South was different. The coverage was often made individually. There was only the reporter and the cameraman. There were days during the July war when I was alone in the Qaqa’iya al-Jisr area, where I did media coverage on my own.”

“Opening up to a new operational reality gives the reporter greater experience. By dealing with new challenges, it allows him to develop his professional performance significantly,” he adds.

Abu Taam talks about other factors including the development of the resistance’s capabilities.

“This coverage varies because the different capabilities have also evolved,” he insists.

“The extent to which the strength of the resistance in 2006 and 2012 differed was clear. We have seen some kind of fighting from the resistance that cannot be measured in any way to previous years. It was clear that the resistance has developed its performance greatly in terms of equipment, man power, skills, experience and strength,” Abu Taam said.


There is no doubt that social media was very important in the entire process. Abu Taam confirms this by underscoring  “the significant difference between the kind of media used in 2006 and in 2012 and onwards.”

“In 2006, the new media was in its early stages. The internet was limited to emails. There was no social media. The price of the internet was very high. It was hard to send the materials, including the videos and audio because of their size. The only method used was through the satellite that was detected by spy drones. This posed many difficulties. There was scarcity in sending visual materials,” Al-Manar’s veteran reporter explains.

“In Syria, the issues differed greatly. The means of communication helped to send the material we wanted easily. It also helped broadcast entire reports from the site without any difficulties. We broadcast the moment of entering the sites live using the phone. This helped a lot in refuting rumors and lies the enemy spread,” Abu Taam said.

Another Al-Manar reporter, Mohammed Kazan, echoes his colleague’s assessment regarding the media coverage and the differences between the July 2006 war and the war in Syria.

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“In the July war, we were bombarded by “Israeli” aircraft and artillery. In Syria, I was in Qusayr, Zabadani and al-Joroud [outskirts]. There was coordination between the operations command in the resistance and with the war media. There was someone who helped us move. But the danger lied in IEDs, sniper rifles and artillery shells,” Kazan tells Al-Ahed.

As for the importance of social networking sites, Kazan points out that for him “using them has been essential since the Mosul war in Iraq. We were in a desert area and in great need of the internet to compensate for the absence of satellites. The situation was the same during the Joroud war against Nusra [Front] and Daesh. The new media made up for the blocking of Al-Manar’s satellite frequency. Meanwhile during the July war, we always used transmitters, which exposed us to spy drones of the “Israeli” enemy.”

Al-Jadeed channel’s senior reporter Nancy Sabeh also spoke to al-Ahed about her experience.

“I was a correspondent inside and at the outskirts of the southern suburbs during the aggression. The means to send messages to the audience were very difficult in the past. There was no new media. There was also no interaction as it is today through social networking sites,” she said.

Image result for Nancy Sabeh

Sabeh stated that the most beautiful thing she witnessed during the July war was the return of local residents to Dahiyeh after the aggression.

“At 7 o’clock in the morning, I entered Dahiyeh as a reporter. There were a lot of people. They started to return to see their homes,” she recalled.

According to Sabeh, “today’s journalism depends more on social media than on traditional journalism. Unlike what we have seen in the past, during the July war work was more accurate. Our work was patriotic. We were not looking for fame as it is today through these sites.”

For her part, LBCI’s Hoda Chedid told al-Ahed that “during the July war, we saw through the coverage that most Western and Arab countries were waiting for “Israel” to triumph and for the resistance to be defeated. This provided material for the other side of the story to each reporter to show how the people of the South challenged the war, how they resisted and how they triumphed over the “Israeli” enemy.”

Chedid explained that “during the war against terrorist groups, the situation completely changed. There was a consensus on the need to confront the terrorist groups and to show it in the media. Social media was a very supportive and important factor in this coverage. The whole country was engaged in confronting Daesh’s terrorism. It was a very important experience that meant a lot to me. I proudly experienced it as a result of the importance of this coverage of the war, the victory and the liberation of al-Joroud.”

As in the battlefield, the fronts are always wide open in the media, between the righteous side on the one hand and falsehoods on the other. It is the responsibility of media professionals to show and champion righteousness and keep up with the victories.

To read the article in Arabic click here


Hezbollah Threatens Israel / Gaza / Yemen


Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwqjQdeIrj8
Translation: unz.com/sayedhasan
On the evening of Friday, November 30, Hezbollah’s war media broadcasted this video addressed to Israel and subtitled in Hebrew, in response to recent Israeli military exercises simulating an aggression against southern Lebanon, an escalation of violations of Lebanese airspace –from which aggressions against Syria are usually carried out– by Israeli drones, and new threats to assassinate Hezbollah Secretary General. The statement in the video is excerpted from the latest speech by Hassan Nasrallah on November 10, 2018, and the footage shows in particular the precise coordinates of Israeli military bases that would be targeted in case of aggression. Let us remind that Hezbollah’s policy is to target exclusively the military, and to hit the colonies and cities of the enemy only in response to the ongoing Israeli aggression against Lebanese civilians. The civilian/military ratio of the victims of the 2006 war was 1/10 on the Israeli side, and 10/1 on the Lebanese side, a striking proof of the fact that Israel strikes civilians above all, and that Hezbollah favors military targets.
Despite the August 2006 ceasefire, Lebanon and Israel remain in a state of war, and if direct clashes have ceased, information & psychological warfare continue to rage, as are indirect clashes in Syria or even Yemen, where Israeli planes are directly involved in the conflict. At a time when the Gulf countries are openly engaging in the normalization policy of relations with Israel, when yet another futile attempt to strangle Iran economically is at work, and where MBS is touring North Africa to promote Israel’s peace agreement with Israel, Hezbollah recalls that its hostility to Israel remains irreducible, demonstrating its solidarity with the Resistance in Gaza that has recently scored a new victory, which foreshadows a real disaster in the event of a confrontation with such a powerful actor as Hezbollah. Hassan Nasrallah has several times announced as imminent the Great War to Liberate Palestine, in which the extended Resistance Axis (Iran, Syria, Hezbollah, Iraq and Yemen) would participate.
This video made headlines in Israel Friday night and throughout the weekend, and senior military officials of the Zionist entity reacted to it. In accordance with its policy of anti-Nasrallah censorship, Youtube immediately deleted this video broadcast, among others, by Al-Manar (French) and Sputnik (English) for alledgedly “violating Youtube’s Terms of Service”, but Israeli media like Ynet were able to broadcast it on the platform without fear of censorship –proof that the content itself has no valid reason to be censored according to the Youtube’s Terms of Service. Only sources that are a priori favorable to Hezbollah are tirelessly hunted down by IDF cyber-soldiers and deleted.

Sayed Hasan

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Starving Yemenis Reduced to Eat Tree Leaves

Report of the Lebanese channel Al-Manar, November 13, 2018.
Translation: unz.com/sayedhasan

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Hamas Unveils Thwarted Israeli Operation in Gaza that Sparked Recent Escalation

Report of the Lebanese channel Al-Mayadeen, November 12, 2018.
Translation: unz.com/sayedhasan
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Hassan Nasrallah: In Yemen’s Quagmire, West Only Cares About Rescuing Saudi Arabia

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on November 10, 2018, on the occasion of Martyr’s day, commemorating the November 11th, 1982 attack on Israeli Barracks in Tyre (South Lebanon), killing 76 officers.

Revision & subtitles: unz.com/sayedhasan

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[…] Thirdly, I will speak about an important development in the region, before talking about the internal situation (in Lebanon). From about one month and a half ago, the world became preoccupied with the heinous crime which was perpetrated against the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The whole world was also astonished by the details of the crime: the kidnapping, killing, dismemberment with a saw, and the melting (of the corpse) with acid, and the throwing out of what was melted in the sewerage. The world is right to be astonished, amazed, and to condemn (this crime).

Of course many are looking for ways to get this issue to be forgotten. In the Arab world, no one was astonished, amazed, nor did they condemn. To the contrary, the (Arab rulers) stood in solidarity (with Saudi Arabia). That is normal in the Arab world: to dismember using a saw, to cut using a sword, to melt using acid, this is normal (to some).

It is natural for the world to be astonished, amazed, and to condemn (this crime). However, what is strange of this world, is that it does not take notice of, nor is it astonished by, the daily images of the heinous massacres in Yemen. The world’s conscience was not moved by the Yemeni children –the United Nations itself saying that 100s of children, maybe 400, 500, face death every single hour in Yemen. The United Nations –not us– are speaking of 14 million people threatened with starvation, and this figure may have risen in recent days. Hundreds of thousands of Yemenis have been infected by cholera and face the possibility of death. But the world is silent.

(Just) now the world has begun to talk, the Americans have begun speaking, the Europeans have begun speaking –of course, let us underline the Arab silence, and silence in the Islamic (world), except for a few states. In general, silence! No one dares to open their mouth. God is the Greatest (expresses wonder)! How great is (the fear) of the sword, and how great is the allurement to money and the glitter of gold,  and how great the (level of) submissiveness in the Arab world! The terrible state of affairs in the Arab world is clearly expressed by the Arab stance towards developments in Yemen.

In any case, we are before a new situation. I don’t want to just talk and condemn. No, we are before a new situation. Perhaps the Khashoggi event caused some change, it is a possibility. Perhaps it was exploited as an incident for another purpose. In any case, it is good that we hear American, European, and UN statements, calling for the cessation to the fighting and a stop to the war. This issue requires some comment: perhaps (this call for an end to the war) could be serious, this is a possibility. It is also possible that this is merely a (deceptive) ploy and a way to buy time.

It is possible that this is a serious (call to end the war), and this possibility has valid reasoning to support it. However, this possibility has not arisen because of the killing of Khashoggi, nor is it because the conscience of the world would (supposedly) awake now. The world has been seeing the children, the immense massacres, bombardment and killing on a daily basis for four years. Why does the world say only now that this war must stop? This requires some contemplation.

Simply and frankly, because the Yemenis remained steadfast in this battle. This is a huge lesson. Because they remained steadfast in this battle, and because the Saudi, Emirati, American coalition failed in this war. If this possibility (i.e. the call for ending the war) is serious, then the aim of it is to rescue the Saudis and Emiratis more than it is about rescuing the Yemenis. Because this coalition failed to invade the north (of Yemen), and failed to administer the south, and they are losing both the north and south of Yemen. The north because of the steadfastness (of Yemenis) and military failure, and the south because of the popular movement (of Yemenis) and administrative and political failure.

America is coming today to rescue its guys in the region. Trump and the American do not care about Yemen’s children nor any such thing. Yet what we care about is the result. What matters for us is that this war and fighting ends. What is interesting though is that (the Americans) said (the war must end) within one month. Why one month? Why not now? Why not directly and immediately?! This point also has the careful attention of our brothers in Yemen, or they must pay careful attention to it. It is as if the Americans are telling this Saudi-Emirati coalition: ‘You have one month (left). Organise your affairs, see what (military) equations you can secure, see what (military) achievements you can muster, (because) after one month the world will tell you to stop’.

For this reason, what is strange and noteworthy is that at the same time that American and Western statements were being issued calling for an end to the war, we witness in Yemen the highest escalation (of military attacks) in many months, I mean the current escalation on the southern coastline and the Hodeidah region.  This is presuming that this possibility is serious.

In any case, if this is a deceptive ploy so that the Yemenis would be deceived (to drop) their weapons (and withdraw from their) battlefronts and positions, they must be wary not to be deceived, because usually when fighters sense that the fighting is almost over, their determination, attention, and awareness begins to lessen, assuming that everything appears to be winding down. This happens because it is a (normal) human reaction.

On (the occasion) of Martyr’s Day, and at a time when we take pride in the martyrs of our brothers and people in Yemen, I say to my brothers over there to remain patient and keep preserving in your fight, and hold firm to your weapons, fronts and positions. You today are closer to victory than ever before! And the victory of the Yemenis is in their remaining in their land, (and) in preventing this barbaric aggression from achieving any of its goals. They are persevering and realizing a military miracle, a military legend, (one) that is unfolding every day at the southern coastline and on the various Yemeni fronts.

I conclude on the situation in the region with a last stance. We have condemned the verdict issued against His Eminence Sheikh Ali Salmane (in Bahrain), may God preserve him, and some of his brothers, and what is noteworthy is that the Bahraini Court ruled that His Eminence the Sheikh was innocent of the accusation of conspiring with Qatar.

There is no conspiration. At the time, at the beginning of events in Yemen, Qatar was trying to (reach the Saudi authorities) through a third party, to find an issue (to the crisis). At the time, the Qatari side was very active on all the fields.

The Court ruled in favour of his innocence, and the Prosecution appealed the verdict. And what was the new verdict? Perpetuity! May it please God (ironic) ! From innocence to perpetuity? O my brother, (perhaps) from innocence to 4, 5 or 10 years of jail could make some sense legally speaking. But perpetuity?! This confirms every day that Justice in Bahrain and the likes of Bahrain is nothing but a true oppressive power.

What was expected is for His Eminence the Cheikh to be freed after having served his time for other verdicts, and to get back to his family and people. But this (authoritative) power insists on detaining him and the clerics, leaders, popular figures and personalities, along with thousands of young Bahrainis in prison, to force this people to surrender (and give up on his legitimate demands), but he will never surrender, not on his national stance, nor on his demands for (political) reforms, nor on his attachment to his rights, whatever the sacrifices. […]


When Sayyed Nasrallah Deeply Impacts The “Israeli” Consciousness

Yasser Rahal

“The warrior should be wakeful because if he sleeps the enemy does not sleep.” This is advice from Imam Ali (PBUH) gave. Hezbollah’s secretary general memorized it well. He uses it to advise others and repeats it during every Zionist threat to Lebanon.

The “Israeli” media knows exactly what these words mean. It knows that Sayyed is a meticulous follower of the Zionist entity’s news. From time to time, it acknowledges Sayyed’s superiority in terms of the media and psychological warfare that stems from facts rather than illusions. On more than one occasion, the Israeli media recognized the accuracy and quality of the follow-up and translation of the resistance’s media of everything that is published in the usurping entity in an attempt to expose it to the public.

A week ago, Amos Harel wrote in Haaretz, in a piece titled Nasrallah’s Propaganda that

“in a speech at the end of last week (the liberation of the Jroud speech), Nasrallah quoted Brick’s criticism of the “Israeli” army’s performance. He also mentioned Yaniv Kuovich’s ’s article which he published here regarding a 40 percent increase in the percentage of soldiers visiting psychiatric clinics in the army.”

Harel refers back to Sayyed Nasrallah’s famous “Spider Web” speech on the entity and its media when he delivered it in Bent Jbeil in 2000. It still resonates until today.

“Nasrallah’s firm hypothesis is based on the most famous speech, the ‘Spider Web’ speech in Bint Jbeil immediately after the end of the “Israeli” army’s withdrawal from southern Lebanon in May 2000: the “Israeli” society is weak and pressured. If the Arabs knew how to act against “Israel” with determination and strength, they would be able to demand more concessions.”

We continue with the enemy’s media and “Sayyed’s” impact on it. Channel 10 remarked that “Nasrallah is a brilliant and very clever speaker who did not make a lot of mistakes in analyzing the weaknesses of the “Israeli” society.”

In an interview with the Arab affairs correspondent, Zvi Yehezkeli, the presenter said (while analyzing the second liberation anniversary speech):

“If Nasrallah were not on the side of the ‘bad guys’, we would have said that he was a brilliant speaker and a very intelligent man. In a speech he delivered yesterday, he analyzed the weaknesses of the “Israeli” army and did not made a mistake.”

Yehezkeli replied,

“I agree that Nasrallah is a brilliant speaker in the Arab world. But regarding the content, I see it a bit differently. Nasrallah’s speech reminds us of the speech of the ‘Spider Web’.”

Take note of the choice of the Bint Jbeil speech. Some compared him to Gamal Abdel Nasser for his brilliance in speechmaking. He spoke about the weak society or what he called in 2006 prior to the war as the “Espresso Society”. This description was still present in Yehezkeli’s mind after 12 years. He said that the “Espresso Society” will not go to war for the two captured soldiers. He also said this in a press conference on the day of their capture. The “Espresso Society” went to war. It did not go the way it was planned. It was an implicit recognition of defeat. Once again he says this while speaking about defeatism. I agree with him on this angle at least when he enumerates “Israel’s” failures by saying, “the invincible army may not be the only description for “Israel”.” Then came the recognition that the army is not fit to represent the defeated entity.

“What impressed me is his very modern knowledge of the “Israeli” press. There is someone who reads things to him very carefully, analyzes them very intelligently and never makes mistakes when he points out the weaknesses in “Israeli” society,” the presenter added.

Yehezkeli: There are those who say that the “Israeli” office in Hezbollah is Nasrallah himself. He does not allow others to read it. He sits and reads. In an interview he spoke about how long it takes him to read the “Israeli” press and the “Israeli” society. He is a person whose goal is to analyze things in society that have not been analyzed before. He also has intelligence capabilities. However, he still reads the press, quoting newspapers such as Haaretz, Yedioth Ahronoth as well as opinion polls, analyses, analysts and experts. But he does not know Hebrew.

This was recognition of Sayyed familiarity with the nature of the Zionist society and its weaknesses. It also praised the monitoring and the Hebrew-to-Arabic translation team. This is not the first time that the enemy’s media deals with the quality, experience and accuracy of the abilities of the resistance’s media to keep track of the Zionist entity. A few years ago before the Zionist withdrawal and the humiliating defeat of the “invincible” army, a media specialist conducted a comparative study between the resistance’s media and the enemy’s one. In it they looked at details including the quality of the paper used by the resistance’s media and the nature of the technical production and covers designs. It concluded that the resistance’s media excelled past that of the enemy. We continue with the presenter when he asks about the fear of death complex gripping the families of the occupation soldiers:

“When he said in this speech that the “Israeli” elite wanted to send their children to the 8200 [cyber warfare] unit and less to the front. He recognized something … (signs of admiration and astonishment on the face of the presenter).”

Here, we pause at the surprise that occurred in the war on Syria, where the number of participants among the ranks of the resistance doubled. Reports were made by families who were insisting to send their children to the battlefronts. Here, we discover the reason behind the admiration and astonishment of the presenter. The resistance’s society does not fear death, especially when martyrdom is one of two choices, victory being the first. This was in contrary to the enemy’s society where the fear of death makes families want to send their son to work behind a desk.

Attempting to create a fabricated picture of the truth Yehezkeli concludes:

“Certainly, I think what he said is part of psychological warfare that shows distress ahead of the next confrontation.”

“But nevertheless, he certainly brought something painful to our stomachs.”

He ends the interview with a passage from Sayyed Nasrallah’s speech about the soldiers seeing psychiatrists.

The speech on the anniversary of the Second Liberation Day opened a deep wound. It was painful for the enemy. It reopened an old wound, which is the May 25, 2000 [“Israeli”] withdrawal from Lebanon.

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عودة «المنار»

Image result for ‫المنار»‬‎

عودة «المنار»

مارس 6, 2018

ناصر قنديل

– ليس المكان ولا المجال ولا الوقت ولا المصلحة للخوض في التفاصيل، فالخبر كافٍ بذاته للاحتفال. عودة قناة «المنار» إلى مشاهديها وجمهورها على الأقمار الصناعية، بعد تغييب مفتعَل وعقابي على خيارها المقاوم. وهي تعود شعلة لا تنطفئ كصوت للمقاومة إلى جانب زميلات لها وقفت مع خط المقاومة، ولا تزال، وقدّمت تعويضاً مميّزاً ولافتاً لغياب «المنار» وستواصل الإضافة النوعية. وهنا تحضر قناة «الميادين» في المقام الأول، لكن عودة «المنار» حدث لا ينعزل عن حاجة جمهورها لحضورها، وما تقدّم له من خدمة إعلامية حية مميّزة في ميادين الإعلام الحربي الذي تفوّقت به، كما في مجال الإعلام الملتزم بشرح خط سياسي مقاوم وتحليل مواقف وخلفيات، بلا الحاجة للمرور في اختبارات إثبات الحياد كمظلة لا بدّ منها لسواها.

– يذكر جمهور المقاومة «المنار» في حرب تموز ويذكرها في الحرب السورية، ويحفظ لها المقاومون في قلوبهم مكانة خاصة، كما لا يعوّض غيابها أداء مميّز لزميلة أو شقيقة، كقناة «العالم» التي تستحق التحية ومعها مراسلوها في ميادين القتال، كما مراسلو قناة «الميادين» والقنوات السورية التي تحوّل مراسلوها إلى محاربين ارتقى بعضهم شهداء، وفي لبنان شقيقتها «أن بي أن»، لكن التميّز عند الزميلات والشقيقات، وقد توسّعت العائلة كثيراً بقنوات تنتمي لخط المقاومة كـ»الاتجاه» و«الغدير» و«النجباء» في العراق و«اللؤلؤة» في البحرين و«المسيرة» و«الساحات» في اليمن، لا يلغي حقيقة أنّ لحضور المنار نكهة مميّزة، تماماً كما لا يلغي حضور فصائل المقاومة العراقية واليمنية، المكانة المميّزة للمقاومة اللبنانية. وعودة «المنار» كيفما كانت معطياتها وظروفها، تجارياً وسياسياً، وتعاقدياً وقانونياً، فهي عودة احتفالية تستحق التحية.

– القضية التي طرحها تغييب «المنار» كانت الحاجة إلى قمر صناعي لا تخضع إدارته لضغوط سياسية تستهدف قوى المقاومة، قادر على توفير التغطية للمنطقة بطريقة فنية مناسبة لا ترهق المشاهدين بترتيبات معقدة أو مكلفة، ويجب التنويه بجهود بذلتها إدارة الأقمار الصناعية الروسية، ونجاحها بتخصيص أحد أقمارها لتغطية المنطقة على محاور الأقمار العاملة في سماء المنطقة، والتي تحمل القنوات التلفزيونية الوجهة إليها، وبدء التعاقد بأسعار مخفضة مع قنوات عاملة لتنويع باقات البث من أقمار آمنة لا تعرّضها لخطر الإيقاف والضغوط.

– واحدة من إيجابيات المبادرة الروسية خلق سوق تنافسية جعلت التفكير بمعادلة العقوبات موضع نقاش، بعدما بدأت العقوبة تتحوّل عقوبات على شركات الأقمار الصناعية التي تلتزم بالعقوبات، كما تصف ألمانيا العقوبات الأميركية على روسيا بالعقوبات على الشركات الألمانية. وهذا حرّر هذه الشركات من كثير من الضغوط كانت تتذمّر منها ضمناً وتعتبرها مخالفة للأصول التجارية التعاقدية ولقواعد العمل المهني، التي يفترض أن تؤدّي لحجب قنوات التحريض على الفتن، وقنوات تشجيع التطرف، وقنوات الإباحية، بدلاً من استهداف قنوات المقاومة، التي تبذل جهدها لتفادي التصادم مع قواعد السلوكيات المتفق عليها.

– مع عودة «المنار» إلى جمهورها، تحية الزمالة، وتحية خنادق القتال، وتحية المقاومين… وألف «مبروك» لإدارتها والعاملين فيها… والعود أحمد.

قناة «المنار» – عودة البث على قمر نايل سات H10971- 6/5

Hezbollah Has Launched Initial Phase Of Next Israel-Hezbollah War


For Israel, the initial phase of its next long predicted war with Hezbollah is focused on neutralizing Iranian arms shipments to Hezbollah while destroying factories allegedly under construction to build long-range missiles. Some Israeli recently bombed sites are also claimed to have been housing chemical weapons. Earlier this month Israeli jets attacked a Syrian military installation near the city of Masyaf that allegedly produces chemical weapons and advanced missiles.

Israel has recently increased its targeting of claimed Hezbollah/Iranian sites followed by diplomatic warnings by Israel’s leadership that it will not accept an enhanced Iranian and Hezbollah presence on its northern borders. Israel has bombed more than 100 targets since 2011 including some Iranian positions around Damascus military airport, West and South Syria as well as in Lebanon’s Bekaa valley and down south. The latest reported attack comes only days after Israel shot down an Iranian-made drone operated by Hezbollah after it entered the demilitarized zone along the border between Israel and Syria on the Golan Heights. Israel insists that it will continue to target Hezbollah’s expanding military operations in Syria and in Lebanon. In addition, this month (9/2017) Israel conducted the largest military exercise in decades in what an IDF/IAF spokesperson suggested was a rehearsal for the certain coming war with Hezbollah.

While Israeli rhetoric has focused attention on the widely predicted soon to ignite Hezbollah-Israel war, it is Hezbollah which this month has launched the first stage of its fateful war with Israel.
Hezbollah’s activation this month of more than a dozen intense initiatives includes but are not limited to those noted below and they enumerate how Hezbollah intends to achieve another Devine Victory by being adjudged the winner of the approaching conflagration. For security reasons, other Hezbollah initiatives now being activated have been omitted from discussion for the time being per a request from Hezbollah’s politburo.

Despite its November 2013 offensives in the strategic Qalamoun region close to the Syria-Lebanon border as an insurgency and then recently switching to becoming a counter-insurgency/conventional force in Syria, Hezbollah will discard the conventional force model to battle Israel. Especially in the early stages of the coming conflict according to a Party of God official in Damascus.

Not all the members of Hezbollah’s Politburo or its military hierarchy want to give up the idea of developing a regular army. One Hezbollah officer recently explained to this observer: “Since we went into Syria, we have become much stronger. Like a regular army. What was Hezbollah before? We were only defenders. Now, we’ve learned how to attack offensively.”

Despite the gentleman’s confidence, Hezbollah plans to continue employing tactics it learned from the PLO in 1982 and stick with what brought it relative success during its 18 years (1978-2000) guerilla war targeting Israel’s occupation of South Lebanon. Hezbollah learned in the early 1980’s that when the PLO stood its ground or behaved like a regular army, Israel’s superior force quickly destroyed its soldiers despite heroic fighting by the Palestinians. However in 1982 when the PLO mounted urban warfare as a resistance/guerilla force and fought Israel’s army in locales such as the alleys of Ein al Helweh refugee camp south of Beirut in Saida, the PLO twice bested its enemy, causing many casualties and forcing Israel to withdraw from the urban area in humiliation.

As part of its initial phase launch, Hezbollah has already deployed troops and rockets to more than 100 south Lebanon villages for waging attacks on Israeli troops from civilian neighborhoods. The missile launches be fired mainly from built up civilian areas. Israel’s predictable counter-attacks on Lebanon’s civilian population will cause high civilian casualties. Hezbollah and its media allies will immediately publicize in Lebanon and globally via social media the civilian death tolls in order to create international condemnation of Israeli excesses and build pressure, as in 2006 and in Gaza 2014, for a an early UN sponsored ceasefire.

Hezbollah is also beginning work on militia cells on the Syrian side of the Golan Heights, to provide a base for strikes against military and civilian targets in Israeli-held territory during the future conflict.

The Party of God has made clear it intends to remain in Syria, and has established missile bases in Qusayr and Qalamoun to protect its longer-ranger projectiles from Israeli attacks. It has also engaged in sectarian cleansing of Sunnis from this area to secure its Bekaa Valley and Baalbek strongholds across the border to keep open the key route to Damascus.

Hezbollah is known for its careful-even cautious- planning yet it openly admits to making several battlefield miscalculations and errors in 2006 and before. Today it is urging its fighters and civilian population not to be daunted by the past and to be steadfast and to take risks, believing that this has also paid off in the past. With this in mind, Hezbollah has recently started a program to build confidence among its Shia supporters in Lebanon. This reportedly includes training civilians to improve their ability to shoot, move accurately and communicate under fire. A Hezbollah official during a recent media tour of some of its positions in the south, explained: “It’s part of our culture to teach our children and children’s children to fight.”

During the 2006 war with Israel Hezbollah claimed at various times that its rockets were aimed primarily at military targets in Israel, or that its attacks on civilians were justifiable as a response to Israel’s indiscriminate fire into southern Lebanon and as a tool to draw Israel into a ground war. Hezbollah rockets killed 43 civilians and 119 Israeli soldiers during the course of the 34-day conflict (over 1,700 dead on the Lebanese side, including approximately 500-600 Hezbollah combatants).

This month (9/2017) Hezbollah is readying for launch its large arsenal of medium and long-range rockets to fire from day one of the coming open warfare stage. Hezbollah sources report that approximately 2000 rockets will be fired daily at Israel’s military, infrastructure, and civilian neighborhoods across Israel. This number exceeds the total average weekly number fired into Israel during the height of the 34 day 2006 war.

One Hezbollah officer on leave from Syria recently mentioned to this observer in its security zone in Dahayeh south Beirut that Hezbollah can and may well fire as many as 4000 missiles into Israel in less than one hour. By far the greatest number of missiles being distributed to sites in South Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley and readied for launch are Katushya’s. Followed by Iran’s Fajr-3 and -5 (forty and seventy kilometers range), the Syrian Khaybar-1 (100 kilometers), and the Iranian Zelzal-3 (250 kilometers). Among Hezbollah’s rocket collection are the Syrian M600 — based on Iran’s Fateh-110 (250 kilometers), and SCUD-B/C/D missiles (300-700 kilometers). In addition, Russian missiles are reportedly being purchased on the black market.

Hezbollah is reportedly also deploying improved types of man-portable surface-to-air missiles including the SA-18, and vehicle-mounted and SA-17 and SA-22 as well as concealed antitank missiles including the AT-14 Kornet) all supplied by Iran. Israel claims withut proof that the Party of God is stockpiling chemical weapons as well. Hezbollah’s acquisition of the 300-kilometer range P-800 Oniks (Yakhont) can strike Israel’s warships and offshore natural gas facilities and well as targets including the Hadera power plant near Haifa. Also being positioned in various locations in Lebanon is Iran’s M-600 and SCUD missiles. Just as Iranian armed and trained Houthis are using them in Yemen against the Saudi-led coalition.

In addition, Hezbollah has kept many of its anti-tank teams and rocket/missile crews in Lebanon and is deploying hundreds of additional antitank weapons, and improved its air and coastal defense capabilities with modern systems acquired since the start of the war in Syria. Hezbollah continues this week of 9/25/2017 improving its defense capabilities in southern Lebanon, deeply embedding its forces and many of its missiles in tunnels near towns and villages throughout the region.

And while Israel has rocket/missile defenses including 12 Iron Dome missile batteries, three Arrow-2 and 3 missile batteries, and one David’s Sling battery, Hezbollah is confident that its large rocket and missile force will- at least in the early days of a conflict- swarm and quickly overwhelm Israeli defenses.

Hezbollah has also begun using the first stage of its unfolding war with Israel for psychological projects such as instilling fear in Israel’s civilian population and military. Hezbollah leaders have increased the frequency and volume of their threats to Israel including promises that the “Resistance” would move ground forces into the Galilee and Golan Heights. Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah and his deputy Naim Qassim regularly promises that there will be “no red lines” in the coming war with Israel. In April, Hezbollah held a press conference along the border to highlight Israeli defensive preparations and to declare its readiness for war. And in June, Nasrallah pledged that Hezbollah would be joined in its next war with Israel by “tens…or even hundreds of thousands” of Shi’a fighters from Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. In the past few months, whenever US planes struck Hezbollah targets in Syria, Hezbollah-related media to warned of retaliatory strikes against US target is the Middle East region and beyond.

As part of its opening salvo for the widely expected coming war with Israel, Hezbollah has also launched a large scale regional combatant recruitment effort. Having to date lost in Syria approximately 2000 dead and 8000 wounded and with growing doubts among would-be recruits and their families and friends about its continuing killing of Muslims and Palestinians, Hezbollah is working with Iran’s IRGC to swell its ranks. This is proceeding via various attractive recruiting offers while training, deploying and commanding mainly Shia from six countries in the region. Meanwhile Iran reportedly pays the would-be fighters and Popular Mobilization Brigades (PMB) loyal to Tehran; allegedly with high quality counterfeit US dollars and promises of Iranian residency or citizenship for the recruits and their families after the war should the recruits survive. Iran and Hezbollah also provides the Shia recruits with arms and some training inside Iran and increasingly Hezbollah commanders direct them during battles while keeping in mind their potential future use in Lebanon.

As the Hezbollah and Israel military buildup continues ,the coming war, like preceding ones between the parties, including July of 2006 Conflict, is less likely to be the consequence of a calm rational decision than of miscalculations and a misreading of the likely battlefields. Unleashing a rapid and unintended escalation in this unstable region, and public pressure once the war ignites.

One example of hypothetical miscalculations leading to an unprecedented destructive war between Israel, Hezbollah and various Shia militias with horrific consequences for their civilian populations could result from the following. Hezbollah and Iran ratchet up their building of underground and surface positions between Damascus and the Golan Heights on orders from Iran’s IRGC’s leader Qassim Solemani. Israel immediately conducts intensive air strikes to destroy the new facilities. Hezbollah retaliates from South Lebanon to relieve pressure on Shia villages and the Syrian army near the Golan.

Despite that neither of the two main belligerents may not want a war just now, nevertheless an escalatory all-out war spiral may unleash which cannot be stopped easily or quickly. Especially once high causalities are sustained followed by snowballing violence and both sides upping their commitment, or domestic pressure to achieve victory.

Another not so farfetched script could involve Hezbollah or various regional-drafted Shia militias fighting in Syria responding ‘disproportionately’ to Israel’s attack on their allies and while destroying their arms deliveries from Iran. Israel would likely escalate its attacks and the battle becomes a full-scale war with Iran and the USA considering what if any their own involvement will be.

An additional factor that militates in favor of rapid escalation between the parties are the military advantages of escalating more quickly than your enemy to take the initiative and establish the scope and sequence of operations and influencing the UN ceasefire that would likely be demanded immediately and before long, globally.

Will Hezbollah, eager to burnish its tattered “Resistance” brand risk another war to unite its increasingly questioning base and attempt to unite former supporters and bring back recently lost support from Palestinians? By provoking war with Israel?

Or will Israel be the first to launch the likely catastrophic second phase in reaction to Hezbollah’s launch of the first phase noted above– with an all-out war unlikely to put an end to Hezbollah’s growing military capabilities?

Iranian Students Face Kafkaesque Impediments Challenging Iran’s Theocracy – OpEd

On several occasions, meeting with brilliant, tech-savvy Iranian university students who are thoroughly charming, fearless and outspoken, this observer is presented a very different picture of what Iranians are facing than what is being offered by pro-regimen internet bloggers and water carriers.

It is from Iranian students, among others that this observer has learned during recent scintillating conversations about current events in Iran as well student’s radiant optimism about Iran’s future if what they call the current “theocratic dictatorship” is removed.

More than 1,000 students, most of whom attend Tehran or Beshesti Universities are among approximately 4,000 Iranian civilians who have been arrested, more than 200 in “preventive detention.” This, according to reports from the Iranian Students’ News Agency which quoted Mahmoud Sadeghi, a reformist member of parliament as complaining that “many of those arrested were not even involved in protests.”

One Iranian woman, speaking from Europe, told Fox News by phone on 1/9/2017 that her family member – 31-year-old Alireza Gomar – suffered a “bullet in the heart” while demonstrating outside an office for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Tuyserkan, Hamadan Province, on 12/31/2017. The relative said he was rushed to the hospital by fellow activists but later died and that members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards took his body – and others who had been wounded – directly from the hospital. “Our family had to beg to get the body back. The Guards wanted them first to agree to be silent, to not tell the media what had happened,” the relative claimed. “Only after five days did they get his body back as the family kept up the pressure, but there were IRGC surrounding the funeral.”

Unlike the widespread 2009 election fraud protests, which left at least 30 citizens dead and hundreds jailed with some politicians still under house arrest eight years later, the current protests are not only about various specific economic grievances but rather they constitute an historic challenge to the very presumption of an Islamic republic.

Also unlike 2009, Iranians today have a powerful weapon in social/mass media communication, which, while being frantically targeted by the regime, will survive and it will grow. It’s true that seemingly panicked hard-liner Iranian clerics have recently been calling for Iran to create its own indigenous social media apps, blaming current social apps for the uprising. Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami preached this during last week’s Friday prayers in Tehran. He insisted that when the regime blocked social media “the riots stopped.” Khatami insists that “the nation does not support a social network because its key is in the hand of the United States and that anyone who burned Iran’s flag should be sentenced to death.” This view is agreed to, but qualified slightly, by the Ali Khomeini who blames the usual suspects, the USA, Israel and Saudi Arabia. The regime has blocked much social media but without significant intimidation of protesters.

Regime officials last week also announced that teaching English in Iran opened the way to a western “cultural invasion” and the regime has now banned the teaching of English in primary schools, a senior education official has announced. “Teaching English in government and non-government schools is against laws and regulations,” Mehdi Navid-Adham, head of the regimes high education council, told state television.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei voiced outrage over the “teaching of the English language spreading to nursery schools, insisting that “this is the promotion of a foreign culture in the country and among children, young adults and youths.” A video of the announcement of the ban has become a joke in Iran and is being widely circulated by students and others on social media with Iranians calling it “the filtering of English” while sarcastically comparing it to the recent blocking of the popular apps Telegram, and Instantgram by the government.

The formidable impediments regime internal security forces are currently targeting protestors with, according to students at Tehran and Beshesti Universities, and other Iranians, as well as research by Iran scholar Saeid Golkar include some of the following:
The main security, military, and judicial branches of Iran’s coercive apparatus are the police (NAJA), the Basij, and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). All are under the control of Ali Khamenei.

The NAJA (police) national police commandership oversees all of Iran’s 31 provinces, each of which controls all police stations in a specific province. Each city within a province has one disciplinary area (nahieh-e entezami) that administers all police stations. Normally, according to a Professor at Tehran University, every Iranian police station has deputies of prevention, of intelligence, of inspections, of operations, as well as a judiciary police official. There are approximately 200,000 police with 100,000 additional support staff. Roughly 40% of the latter work for various surveillance organizations that closely monitor more than 4,600 neighborhoods.

In addition to the police, Iran’s notorious Basij target students and other protestors regardless of the subject, should they criticize the regime. Iran’s Basij is the largest civil militia organization in the world, including China and Russia’s. It has approximately six million members working from twenty-four branches with four rankings, regular, active, cadre, and special. The Basij also operate a network consisting of Basij bases, districts, and regions. The Basij bases operate in more than 50,000 locations throughout Iran and students claim not much ever happens, on or off campus, without them keeping close tabs. Each Basij district operates ten to fifteen bases and is home to around 45 sundry, opaque local security and military forces. These districts are controlled by IRGC regional branches.

The Basij also operate security and military units, including the Imam Ali Security Battalions, which are trained in special tactics such as the use of customized bespoke weapons and motorcycles to suppress unrest. Some active Basij members are organized into rapid-reaction battalions called the Beit al-Muqaddas, with responsibility for defending vital installations in their neighborhoods.

In addition, the IRGC operates approximately a dozen regional headquarters with each commanding a handful of provincial corps specializing in neutralizing opposition to the regime such as protests and insurgency. All members of the IRGC Ground Forces and Basij report to their local IRGC provincial corps and focus on quelling internal disorder. The IRGC-IO also has its Basij intelligence staff (stead-e khaberi-e Basij), whose members operates in Iran’s estimated 4,000 Basij districts. Much like the Herasat noted below, the Basij intelligence officers act as the regime’s eyes and ears by monitoring citizen activities and keeping files on local activists.

The Iranian regime also operates two dozen different security organizations, in addition to the Ministry of Intelligence, the IRGC Intelligence Organization (IRGC-IO), and the Intelligence and Public Security Police (PAVA), a branch of the NAJA. All of them are overseen by the Supreme Leader and all work exclusively to protect the regime.

These organizations also have control over Iranian society through the Herasat and IRGC-IO. The Intelligence Ministry has established Herasat branches in every civilian organization and all of the Universities in the country. Their main job is to identify and neutralize perceived security threats. Herasat officials reportedly surveil employees by monitoring their communications and act as informants, and influence hiring and firing practices.

PAVA, the Public Security Police (PAVA), a branch of the NAJA is responsible for gathering intelligence in neighborhoods and penetrating Iran’s guilds, arresting any workers who are deemed too subversive. To do so, it runs a network of local informers (mokhber mahali) to collect news and rumors. PAVA has also been tasked with conducting religious activities and ferreting out homes used for Christian worship.

The regime controlled judiciary, according to Iranian sources, is another key part of Iran’s coercive apparatus currently being used against protestors. The regime operates numerous extraconstitutional courts, the Special Court of the Clergy specializes in silencing dissident clerics and the Islamic Revolutionary Courts try dissent against the regime cases. These court were used to suppress uprisings, including the 1992 riots in Mashhad and Shiraz (where some demonstrators were sentenced to death during summary trials) and the 2009 Green Movement, where 30 activists were killed, and hundreds were sentenced to long-term imprisonment.

Color coding Iran’s protesters

At any given time, Iran’s security condition, is assigned one of four colors: white, gray, yellow, and red. White is everyday public order. Gray is when unorganized opposition peacefully undermine public order, with no sign of violence. In that case, the police are mainly responsible for controlling the situation and maintaining order. Basij offices help the police quash any strikes, while Herasat personnel help gather intelligence and identify protestors.

If the police cannot control a given situation and the crisis intensifies, the regime invokes condition yellow, in which an organized opposition has begun more violent forms of protest such as disrupting order, blocking public spaces, and attacking public buildings. In response, the Basij are required to work more closely with the police by intensifying their intelligence activities and increasing their patrols and checkpoint stops. Plainclothes Basij officers are responsible for penetrating demonstrations, identifying activists, and misleading protestors. Other Basij members deploy near police personnel, recording videos and occasionally attacking people. In some cases, they use motorcycles to take control of the streets, contain unrest, and intimidate protesters, using force as needed to scatter people.

Finally, if the above measures fail to reestablish control, the security level increases to condition red, defined as a crisis in which revolts have expanded throughout the country and the opposition is using weapons. In this case, the IRGC takes full control of internal operations, and all other forces must work with the Guards to restore control. During the current protests, IRGC forces have reportedly been deployed in three provinces to smash demonstrations.

Following my hosts two-hour detailed description of how government security forces will attack their demands, my Iranian friends gazed at my chagrined face and pursed lips with a touch of concern and empathy. And, bless them, they tried to assure this observer that all was not hopeless. They explained to me that I should take some solace from the fact that they, and many Iranian protesters know a lot of the security forces, especially the Basij some of whose members may be neighbors, friends, or relatives.
Although the regime has spent a lot of money on security groups, Iranian friends question how reliable or disciplined they sometimes are when it comes to beating, terrorizing and arresting their own community.

Many in the security services also themselves suffer from economic and other regime caused problems. Moreover, morale and cohesion are impacted by the social makeup of individual units, as well as the social and class cleavages present in Iranian society. This has been a serious problem for the regime during the current protests because many security personnel are reportedly drawn from the country’s lower and lower-middle classes and its smaller cities. These are the same people they are being ordered to suppress.

I am advised that there is also speculation that cracks may be appearing among the Republican Guards leading to a domino effect shaking the regime. History vaguely instructs that the tipping point for a repressive regime often comes-sometimes suddenly-when those tasked with internal repression sympathize with the protesters and either stand down or declare their rejection of the regime.

Today there is much concern on University campuses in Iran for students and other citizens who have been “disappeared” by regime forces.

On 1/9/2018 Amnesty international called for an investigation of reports that at least five people were murdered in custody among 23 killed among the nearly 4000 arrested. Iranian authorities claim that all five-committed suicide.

Amnesty wants independent autopsies of all of them according to Magdalena Mughrabi, Amnesty Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa: “We have long documented the nightmarish conditions in detention facilities in Iran, including the use of torture. Those suspected of having any responsibility for these deaths must be prosecuted in proceedings that respect international fair trial standards and without recourse to the death penalty.”

Fears for the lives of hundreds of detainees have been heightened by the unexplained death of five students held in the ‘quarantine’ section of Tehran’s Evin prison, where detainees are taken immediately after being arrested. Among the regime claimed ‘suicides’ are of Sina Ghanbari, 23, and Vahid Heydari and Moshsen Adeli, who died in custody in Markazi and Khuzestan provinces. Not one of them, according to fellow prisoners and family members committed suicide.

In this observer’s view the continuing demonstrations constitute an historic watershed moment for the Iranian people. The genie is out of the bottle and humpty dumpty has been splattered.

Regime efforts to turn back the clock of global communication and cut off Iranians from engaging politically with one another will ultimately fail. Nor are most Iranians supportive of the Mullahs insistence to turn Iran into a regional hegemonic power.

Iranians, like most people, want to improve lives in their own country and not subjugate other countries fantasizing about what may have been 2500 years ago during the Persian empire, which, in all events only lasted a bit more than 200 years.

Students report that the uprising is not a question of being pro-West. Rather they simply do not want to be a part of an Islamic Republic. The idea of having Mullahs dictate the conduct of their personal lives and beliefs in the country is simply not acceptable to this generation. Nor for an increasing number of their parents’ generation. They want much more freedom and much more democracy. Not because they seek what Western countries have but because they are universal human value.

One student explained that many regime officials fancy themselves “revolutionaries” and that there is nothing they fear more than a “counterrevolution.” When asked about speculation that the current uprising will die out or be crushed by the regime, the students were emphatic. “This may well be the case. The Mullahs have the highest per capita execution rate in the world, they treat us women like second-class citizens, constantly harass gays and religious minorities. For many Iranians they appear to resemble Daesh (ISIS)! And there is no such thing as free speech. So real change will not be easy.” His friend added. “The more we demonstrate the more brutal the regime will be. Victory will not be fast, nor will it be easy for us, but I promise you that we will succeed.”

While this observer does not concur with all of UK journalist Robert Fisk’s views on Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Iran, he does credit Fisk’s comment published this week: “My own concerns lie in the inherent cruelty of an (Iranian) regime which can send a young and innocent woman to the gallows as a prison official yells taunts at her mother on the daughter’s mobile phone. I’ve said before that the gallows stain Iran far more than the centrifuge.”

Near the entrance to Tehran’s ‘Grand Bazaar’ Souk, an Iranian mother of three beautiful rambunctious children, who teaches in a private North Tehran school explained to this observer when he asked her about reports of growing agnosticism among educated young Iranians, “I am sure there is some of this happening. And its likely due to our religiously bigoted regime. I am a devout Muslim. Islam will always play a role in my life and I think the same is true of most of Iranians. But why not allow us to return Islam to our homes. Religion is a personal, private and family matter isn’t it? That is what the Koran teaches us, and it makes sense. What we Iranians want is to live in an Iranian republic not an 7th Century Islamic republic! We can get that from Daesh (ISIS). Many of these holier than thou Mullahs care less about true Islam. They are quite simply corrupt politicians using Islam to repress us and steal Iran’s wealth and potential. When the Madhi (PBUH) does appear from Occultation, he will surely damn these corrupt Mullahs, every one of them!”

However, whatever happens during the months ahead, a key regime barrier has been shattered. Iranians are no longer contained by the wall of fear. Iranians have demonstrated that they will no longer participate in the political game of “reformist vs. conservative” (better known as “moderates vs. conservatives” in the West). For them, no one from the establishment, including the so-called reformists, can make their lives better.

For them, the entire system must fall for a new Iran to be reborn. Iranians are focused on improving life inside Iran and given the opportunity, Iran’s Steller people can quickly achieve this.

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