The Ghost of Snapped Shot

Or, welcome to my low-maintenance heck.

Hezbullah's Blatant Manipulation of the Press

Okay, so for weeks we've heard that Hezbullah will be out in the streets en force today, to protest the "pro-Western" Lebanese government and otherwise make life miserable for those opposed to Syria's puppet reign.

Now that photographs are pouring in, we get to see shots like this:

A Lebanese Hezbollah supporter sits on a street light as he waves a Lebanese flag during a demonstration to force the resignation of Western-backed Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, in Beirut, Lebanon, Friday Dec. 1, 2006. Hundreds of thousands of protesters from Hezbollah and its pro-Syrian opposition allies descended on downtown Beirut on Friday in a peaceful but noisy protest to force the resignation of Western-backed Prime Minister Fuad Saniora, who was holed up in his office along with several ministers ringed by hundreds of police and combat troops. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Compare this to previous Hezbullah rallies, and see if you can make out the difference:

Flags, in order: Hezbullah, Amal movement (aligned with Hezbullah), Lebanon, Iran.

As has been noted fairly extensively, Hezbullah is very adept at manipulating the media. The fact that these protesters are so blatantly identifying themselves as "Lebanese"--rather than identifying themselves with the usual Hezbullah, Iranian, and Syrian flags--it is apparent to me that Hezbullah has sent out a little internal memo to its rally organizers, instructing them that it would be most prudent to wrap themselves in the Lebanese flag, to couch the argument in terms that they're somehow "reclaiming" the Lebanese government for themselves.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Hezbullah remains a group whose strings are pulled by the Opthamologist and Dr. Spongebob Nuclearpants. To consider them even remotely pro-Lebanese is farsical at best.

One other possibility here, just as an aside: According to the pro-Lebanese website From Beirut to the Beltway, the March 14th (thanks, Austin) group is planning massive demonstrations in Beirut today as well, to counter the Hezbullah invaders (and really, what better word is there for a group of the population that intends to turn control of one's nation over to a neighboring nation?). It's possible, but not likely, that we're actually looking at a group of March 14th'ers here. The reason I would suggest that this is Hezbullah-in-drag, though, is that most of the signs in the crowd are in Arabic, not generally the language employed by March 14.

As always, events in Lebanon are complex. Hopefully, my Lebanese compatriots can continue to update us with their side of what's going on over there. Stay safe, y'all!

For extensive Lebanon coverage: Jeha's Nail, From Beirut to the Beltway, Free Cedar.

I know I've been silent on the latest AP scandal--and I have a good reason for being so! Everyone else has covered it extensively already, and I don't really have anything insightful to add to their brilliant observations! What can I say? Kurt at Flopping Aces has done a spectacular job of tossing some egg at the AP's face -- or rather, pointing out the egg that the AP put there itself!

To make up for it, here's a "Flatima" wannabe sighting, following the break, from today's Hezbullah rally. Enjoy! (If you read Arabic, I'd be delighted to hear a translation for the sign behind our dear Flatima impersonator!)

UPDATE: I'm not the only person who noticed the conspicuous absence of that disgusting yellow flag. Howdy, GatewayPundit! It's good to be in esteemed company such as yours!

Update: Extensive coverage from Abu Kais at From Beirut to the Beltway, cross-posted at Michael Totten's website.
Lebanese people carrying national flags chant slogans in a rally held by pro-Syrian groups December 1, 2006. Tens of thousands of flags-waving Lebanese poured into central Beirut on Friday for a Hezbollah-led protest aimed at bringing down the Western-backed government,which has vowed it will not yield to the pressure. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard (LEBANON)

"Allahu Hairball!"

 Tags: eric gaillard hussein malla jamal saidi mahmoud tawil mohammed azakir mohammed zaatari ramzi haidar sharif karim AFP AP REUTERS #Israel/Lebanon War 2006


#1 forest 01-Dec-2006
Does anybody know what role the Palestinian "refugees" in Lebanon are playinge in all of this?
#2 Brian 01-Dec-2006
I believe that would be:

se·di·tion (sĭ-dĭsh'ən) n. -- Conduct or language inciting rebellion against the authority of a state. Insurrection; rebellion

#3 Jim Hoft 01-Dec-2006
What a crock! You know it was hard for them to keep their yellow flags at home! I hope the police check their tent city for weapons!
#4 Wake up America>They Should Have Been Spanked More 01-Dec-2006
This has been the story today, so in doing some searching, I found the other article, which states that Siniora has added about 11,000 mostly Sunni Muslim and Christian troops, and has armed them with weapons and vehicles donated by the United Arab E...
#5 Austin 04-Dec-2006
You write an awful lot of analysis and opinion for some one who has clearly not done the research. Firstly it’s the March 14th group your so sure are the good guys in this story, not 13th. Secondly, I was down there and the people on the streets are not there for the good of Syria. While Hezbollah may be allied with Syria and Iran to understand their actions purely as a manifestation of Syrian and Iranian will is as stupid as writing Israel of as completely obedient US Vassal. The Leader of the March 14th parliamentary majority Saad Harriri had spoken the night before the protests on TV calling for all those who support democracy and the Lebanese constitution to put up Lebanese flags.

The carrying of these flags by Hezbollah’s members alongside their Christian allies from General Aoun’s Free Patriotic movement was a clear signal of their intent to keep the protests peaceful.

This, in a country where the spectre of sectarian violence is never far from people's minds, and has been stirred from the shadows by recent events, is a positive development.
#6 Brian 04-Dec-2006

Thanks for the comments, and for the correction. My error was not in a lack of research, but was due to the haste in which I was posting the article. My apologies for mixing the date up, and thanks again for the correction.

As to your remarks that these are somehow the *genuine* democratic people of Lebanon speaking, I'm skeptical. If you have written a firsthand account of what you think is going on, I'd be happy to read and comment on it, but from this side of the Atlantic, it definitely *appears* from the news reports coming from the area, that Syria and Iran are *definitely* pulling the strings of what's going on in the streets over there right now.

There's no question, in my mind, that the leadership of Hezbullah is coordinating with and obeying the orders of the regimes in Syria and Iran. News reports of Syrian weapons flowing into Hezbullah's arsenal only serve to reenforce my position there, wouldn't you agree?

Aoun and his followers seem to be going along with it for political reasons, but the end result is the same--He serves at Nasrallah's pleasure.

Whether or not the strings being pulled are *visible* at street level is another question entirely. I'd love to hear your input, if you'd care to share any. I've heard from a handful of other Lebanese bloggers, who've presented basically the same side of the story that I'm telling you here, so it's interesting to see a different viewpoint be presented. I look forward to hearing more from you, if you have the time.

Again, thanks for taking the time to comment. I'll add your blog to my reading list, so I'll hopefully be more informed of other sides of the story.

Warmest Regards,
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