Middle East


Islamic News Sources Examine Events in the Middle East

A man reads a newspaper featuring a picture of Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah delivering a live speech on Al-Manar television, next to displaced Lebanese southerners sitting outside shops. (Photo: Mahmoud Al-Zayyat / AFP-Getty Images)

Much of the coverage by the Islamic press on the conflict in Lebanon depicts Israel and the U.S. as the true instigators, in no uncertain terms. A report published on Lcparty.org (Aug. 10), the Lebanese Communist Party Web site, said: "Regardless of the resistance operation on July 12 in which two Israeli soldiers were captured — an operation that some have regarded as the direct reason for the aggression — the scale of the aggression, its extent, and the fact that it has affected all the regions of Lebanon make it impossible to regard the aggression as a response to that particular operation. This is, rather, an act of aggression ordered by America and carried out by Israel that was prepared well in advance and serves as a part of the 'New Middle East Plan' that the United States has been working to bring about since it began its invasion of Iraq."

The article also takes aim at a perceived lack of action by Arab governments: "The extensive growth of the popular movement in the Arab world in response to the feeble position taken by the Arab regimes has impelled some of these regimes to modify some of their original stances out of fear of such popular movements and because they cannot conceal the true aims of the aggression and the total American alignment with Israel. This has made things difficult for many of America's friends. In addition, the savage and barbaric character of the aggression both in Lebanon and Palestine as well as the fear that the war might spread throughout the region will put those regimes between the hammer of their people and the anvil of their friendship with America and Israel. We must also note here that the policy of trying to isolate Syria and Iran has not yielded benefits for those who have pursued it so far. In fact it can now be observed that Syria and Iran are being brought back into the arena of negotiations as one hears calls from several international parties, saying that they cannot be excluded from the solution. The meeting between Manuchehr Mottaqi, the Iranian Foreign Minister, with French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy is proof of such a change."

The scathing condemnation was echoed by a report in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine's Web site, Pflp.ps (Aug. 1): "The latest war has revealed the fact that the official Arab regimes have sunk to an even lower level than they previously occupied. They have gone from impotence to complicity on their way to open partnership in the war against the people they claim to represent. The war has revealed the depth of the chasm between the masses and those regimes and the gap between their hopes and aspirations and what those regimes are actually doing. It is therefore no longer of any use to seek anything from the Arab regimes. Counting on the impotent or the complicitous is no longer anything but political blindness. The Arab popular movements that reject the new colonialist project should go beyond their modes of work, ending all reliance on these regimes, and move with the masses to a higher mode of struggle."

In a speech published on the Lebanese National News Agency's Web site (July 14) at the beginning of the conflict, General Secretary of Hizballah, Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah said: "I say to you that in this battle we are faced with two choices — not 'we' as in Hizballah, or as in the resistance, the Hizballah resistance — but Lebanon as a state, a people, an army, a resistance, and a political power — we are faced with two choices: either to submit today to the conditions that the Zionist enemy wants to dictate to us all, using the pressure, support, and backing it has from America, from around the world, and, I'm sorry to say, from Arabs. Either we submit completely to its conditions, which means taking Lebanon into an Israeli age under Israeli domination — in total frankness this is the extent of the matter — or we stand steadfast."

Support for Hizballah was expressed in a statement issued by the Political Bureau of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (July 17): "The fighting people of Lebanon, their vital forces and heroic resistance under the leadership of militant Hizballah, with his excellency Sayyid Hasan Nasrallah, the image of pride and honor and defiance, at their head, are today writing an epic that will go down in history and have the most profound effect on the present and future of the whole region. This epic marks the beginning of the foundation, formation, and construction of a new stage in the history of the Arab-Zionist conflict."

"The heroic hands that fired the missiles of resistance at the cities of Haifa, Akka, Safad, Tabariya, and Nahariya inflicted dozens of killed and wounded in the ranks of the Zionist forces. Those hands are reasserting respect for the idea of struggle against this rapacious entity with which there can be no coexistence after it has become clear to everyone how false and useless are calls for peace and negotiations with gangs of murderers and criminals who understand nothing but the language of weapons and resistance"

Lebanon's As-Safir (July 14), an Arabic-language daily newspaper, implicated the U.S. in the Israeli attacks: "The American President George Bush was as clear as could be when he said he wanted to rescue the Siniora government and the Lebanese 'democracy' that he regards as a personal accomplishment and support it so that it can regain control of affairs in Lebanon. And in order for this American goal to be achieved, the resistance must fold its banners and withdraw from its land (Israel has already specified that it should be pushed 20km away from the borders) leaving the sovereignty, independence, and unity of Lebanon in the protective care of Resolution 1559 and the Israeli Defense Forces — who are so well known for their total commitment to and meticulous observance of all United Nations resolutions."

"This is why the Israelis, and then the Americans, have emphasized what they call the responsibility of the Lebanese government for this 'war' and the need for Lebanon to take matters in hand. In other words, they want to put the Lebanese government in the position of confronting the resistance and thereby transform the war into a civil conflict."

The July 30 Israeli bombing of a building in the Lebanese village of Qana which took the lives of more than 50 civilians, most of them women and children, sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world.

A statement on Lcparty.org (Aug. 1) read: "The blood of Qana is flowing in torrents in Qana and in all the land of southern Lebanon. It covers Lebanon from the Beqaa to the mountain. Qana's blood is flowing in Ghazza, Nablus, and Jenin. Pure Arab blood shed for freedom and emancipation. The blood of a resistance that will triumph over the swords of the modern Mongol hordes, declaring in its purity that the Arab homeland from the Atlantic to the Gulf will never be an American plantation where Zionists can carouse and where a gang of slaves can call themselves rulers. The resistance fighters are rising with their machine guns and rockets, gripping the triggers and crying in rage that their bodies are the impregnable wall facing the march of the new colonialism and that the bodies of the martyrs are naught but a bridge towards liberation and freedom, towards the return with honor and bracing victory."

A declaration from the political bureau of the Lebanese Communist Party (July 30) roundly condemned those responsible for the bombing: "This is the barbarism of the racist-Zionist entity, the experience we have been having with this enemy from the 1948 disaster in Palestine until today. This is the terrorist entity that pays no heed to the United Nations Charter, nor to international and humanitarian conventions, documents and agreements."

In an interview broadcast on Sawt ash-Sha'b radio and reported on Lcparty.org (July 31), the General Secretary of the Lebanese Communist Party, Dr. Khalid Haddadah expressed his disappointment in the official response by the Lebanese government to the Qana bombing: "In fact, before the press conference held by Prime Minister Fu'ad Siniora and Speaker of the Parliament Nabih Berri, we appealed to them to take two quick steps after learning of the barbarous massacre in Qana. The first step was not to receive Condoleezza Rice, who is the decision maker and who, it appears, is about to come up with a new resolution giving another two-week grace period to the Israeli military machine to commit more massacres and cause more destruction. And we also asked them to expel the American Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman. This ambassador has played an ugly role since he first arrived in Lebanon, trying to work in tandem with the Israeli aggression by creating a divisive atmosphere inside Lebanon that would facilitate the spread of internal strife in tandem with the aggression."

Dr. Haddadah further stated: "We believe that a 'New Middle East' will be born from the sufferings of the Lebanese and Palestinian peoples but this will be a Middle East that opposes and resists the plan that the United States wants to impose with steel, fire, occupation and invasion. We do not believe that this Arab world will remain silent or that this subservient Arab state system will remain standing for long because of its complicity and its neglect of the Arab cause and the Palestinian cause. We believe that the Arab people will arise to confront the Zionist and American enemy and to protect their resources and to embark on development and democracy, and change in their political systems. On that basis we believe that new forms will be born in the Arab world on the basis of the victory of the resistance and the steadfastness of the Lebanese people - forms in the creation of which the people will play a basic role. Meanwhile we are striving so that the forces of democracy and progress in Arab society will take their place in the van within the framework of constructing this coming Arab world."

While decrying the lack of action from Arab governments and the international community in response to the attack on Lebanon, one leader — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez — drew plaudits from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (Aug. 5): "A spokesman for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine praised the courageous position taken by the Republic of Venezuela and its president, the friend of the Arabs and oppressed peoples, Hugo Chavez who declared that he was recalling the Venezuelan ambassador to the Zionist enemy government. This measure was taken against the backdrop of the war crimes being committed by the Zionist government on a daily basis against the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples, the latest examples of which were the slaughter of farm workers in al-Qa' and the massacre committed in Rafah, in addition to spreading wholesale destruction and ruin on the infrastructure and basic foundations of human life."

Other incidents in the Middle East drew the ire of the Islamic press. A recent event not covered in Western news sources was reported by the Islammemo.cc Web site (Aug. 10), which regularly carries Iraqi Resistance reports: "In a dispatch posted at 9:44am Makkah time Thursday morning, Mafkarat al-Islam reported that U.S. occupation forces have completely taken over ar-Ramadi General Hospital and turned it into a U.S. military camp for American troops, throwing the hospital patients out of the building."

"The ar-Ramadi correspondent for Mafkarat al-Islam reported that ambulances had to evacuate the patients from the hospital to al-Fallujah General Hospital because the Americans had ordered them all thrown out. Ambulance drivers told Mafkarat al-Islam that U.S. troops in armored vehicles and armor-plated Humvees stormed into ar-Ramadi General Hospital in the northern part of the city and cleared all the patients, despite their illnesses and injuries, out of the hospital and on to the yard in front of the facility. The Americans ordered ambulance drivers and relatives in the hospital to take all the patients outside to the front yard. From there the ambulance drivers transported them to al-Fallujah."

"Meanwhile, the Americans transformed the hospital into a military encampment, erecting barriers of sand and concrete around the building and deploying American snipers on the roof to prevent anyone from approaching the commandeered facility."

Ultimately, according to a statement on Lcparty.org (Aug 1), the conflicts in the Middle East can only be resolved through popular unity: "It therefore remains for others, particularly those who claim to be for 'resistance, opposition, and confrontation,' to say what they will be doing in order that a comprehensive Arab national resistance front can emerge, not on the basis of making country-by-country peace deals or selfish arrangements, but on the basis that the Arab people are able defeat the entire American plan."

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