Hezbollah, Barack Obama And Syria

The news and current affairs website, Politico, has published a number of claims by former government officials in the United States, accusing the Barack Obama presidency of obstructing a series of investigations by the US authorities into the alleged, transnational criminal activities of the Lebanese political movement, Hezbollah. Given that several of the accusers are now associated with conservative groupings, including the controversial American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), I would take some of the allegations with a pinch of salt. There is a growing consensus among the more hawkish think-tanks in the Washington beltway that the near-collapse of the Islamic State in Iraq, and to a lesser extent in Syria, presents a rare opportunity to expand the “War on Terror” against the Israeli bête noire, Hezbollah.

Ironically, the latter movement has been one of the great beneficiaries of the supposed anti-terrorist crusade by the United States, albeit unintentionally. Through its military wing, the Jihad Council, the Lebanese organisation has gained a major foothold in neighbouring, strife-torn Syria, earning the gratitude of the besieged Assad dictatorship in Damascus, and the renewed generosity of Tehran. The Iranians have poured millions of petrodollars into enhancing the fighting capabilities of their Lebanese allies, quite aside from the vast sums of money spent on its electoral and charitable efforts. Meanwhile its political wing, the Loyalty to the Resistance Bloc, forms part of the fractious coalition government in Beirut. As Reuters recently pointed out:

“Hezbollah has emerged as a big winner in the turmoil that has swept the Arab world since the uprisings of 2011 that toppled governments in several countries. It has fought in Syria and Iraq, trained other groups in those countries and inspired other forces such as Iran-allied Houthis waging a war in Yemen.

But its growing strength has contributed to a sharp rise in regional tension, alarming Israel, the United States – which designates it as a terrorist organization – and Sunni Muslim monarchy Saudi Arabia, Iran’s regional rival, which accuses Hezbollah of having a military role on its doorstep in Yemen.

Israel fears Iran and Hezbollah will keep permanent garrisons in Syria and has called for action against “Iranian aggression”. With Hezbollah stronger than ever, war with Israel is seen by many in the region as inevitable, sooner or later.”

If the proactive right-wing lobby in the US can bring the chaotic, aggressively pro-Israeli White House of Donald J Trump on board, sooner seems more likely than later.

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5 comments

  1. Partisan political squabbling in the United States has gotten to the point where I pretty much ignore any story explicitly blaming Obama, Trump, Bush, Clinton or any other individual for single-handedly committing the equivalent of a crime against peace. I simply don’t have time or energy to try and wade through the morass of propaganda masquerading as news. It’s an unfortunate reflection on US media when I can get a better synopsis of events from an Ireland-based blog than most any American news site.

    1. Thanks, CBC. There is so much misleading chaff out there that it is hard to navigate your way through the distractions and biases. I’m as fallible as anyone else when it comes to these things. We all rely on experts and professionals for their judgments and opinions.

      Of course, I have my own prejudices and the accusation of being a partisan is not entirely unfair when it is thrown at me. But at least I’m up front and make no pretence about it. I have a particular point of view, even if I let the facts as I see them guide that point of view rather than the other way around. I hope!

      1. I respect “partisans” who identify themselves as such. We all have biases.

        What I find hard to stomach are those that deploy their biases while insisting they’re impartial. They’re often the ones most unwilling to look at different views as being worthy of consideration, too.

  2. “Cotton Boll Conspiracy” –
    “It’s an unfortunate reflection on US media when I can get a better synopsis of events from an Ireland-based blog than most any American news site.”

    Séamus – “An Sionnach Fionn” runs no ordinary blog – it’s absolutely top-class and he has outstanding subject-matter containing some real gems of information on a regular basis.
    Of course, the main thrust of “An Sionnach Fionn” is the inevitable re-unification of our country – but Séamus covers a wide range of other exceptionally interesting subjects too, which brings him great credit.

    1. Thanks, Turbo. I try. Time is limited and so are my resources, and I frequently piggyback on the work of others. There are some great, independent-minded journalists working out there and they deserve the real praise. Even the “MSM” does a service every now and again. I’m not as dismissive of the press as I sometimes come across. The likes of the Guardian frequently irritate, or at least some of its columnists do, but the world would be a poorer place without it. I just wish we had something similar here in Ireland.

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