Hezbollah, Lebanon

Hezbollah, the Basij, and the Iranian Green Movement

Hilal Khashan, Professor of Political Studies and Public Administration at the American University of Beirut, recently claimed that Hezbollah sent several hundred members to Iran last year to help clamp down on the anti-regime protests.

Khashan, who is frequently quoted in the foreign press on Lebanon-related stories, says that his source for this information is a Hezbollah official whom he has known for twelve years and who asked to remain anonymous. The information provided by the source is as follows:

Hizbullah had airlifted to tehran 300 men to help in clamping down at the protesters in the aftermath of Iran’s presidential elections in June 2009. The Iranian riots police used an additional number of about 200 Hizbullah trainees at Lavizan training camp and Imam Ali garrison training grounds. There are no Hizbullah men attached to Iranian security police at the time. Hizbullah men assisting Iranian police were mostly enlisted men with a few junior officers. Hizbullah men felt it was their duty to assist the Islamic Revolution and many others in Hizbullah would not have hesitated to go to Iran and lend their services to the regime. There is no doubt that Hizbullah would send men to Iran to perform security duties in the future should need arise.

I initially received this information from Ghassan Karam, and then contacted Dr. Khashan asking him to verify his connection with the story, which he did.

Obviously, I have no way of knowing whether his source was telling the truth, but he was clearly someone that Khashan trusts enough to put himself out on a limb.

The floor is open for discussion…

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Discussion

51 thoughts on “Hezbollah, the Basij, and the Iranian Green Movement

  1. This story seems patently ridiculous to me. The Basiji militiamen are numbered at somewhere between 500,000 and 2 million souls. Why would Tehran send for 300 enlisted Hezbollah recruits in a move that would embarrass both Hezbollah and the Islamic Republic in their respective domestic politics?

    I heard the same claims about Hamas fighters last year, something that’s even less plausible. More likely to be true is that Tehran sent out for Basiji reinforcements from outside of the capital, and since Iran is only about half Farsi, many of these militiamen are likely to speak Farsi with an accent. From there, we get the accusations that it was Arabs cracking skulls on behest of the regime, and if it’s Arabs, then it must be Hamas and Hezbollah recruits, right?

    Posted by sean | June 28, 2010, 11:44 am
  2. I remember when it was happening there were Iranians claiming Hezbollah was there. Some of the most credible sources of the whole debacle were tweeting and blogging about it. So this isn’t something new, and there just might be some truth involved. Would be interesting to dig up that old information, but I just don’t have the time right now.

    Posted by Cathie Glover | June 28, 2010, 12:03 pm
  3. Makes little sense, from an operational standpoint. Consider the language difficulties to overcome, in the field, as well as the unfamiliarity of Tehran’s urban sprawl. And any Hezbollah training is going to consist of specialized training in light infantry tactics, not antiriot crowd control.

    I’ve poured over all the photographic and video evidence available over the internet, and have found only NAJA police forces (Special Guards, Special Forces, Cadre, attached Army conscripts, Local, Regional and Border Protection) and Basiji (Ashura and Local Volunteers). Even the IRGC rapid reaction force was never deployed in any meaningful way, so why deploy such a relatively small unit of foreigners?

    There is credible evidence that the Hezbollah rumor was initially sourced on Twitter, being placed their by Israeli intelligence, in an effort to drive a wedge upon the Iranian people, between them and their Lebanese ally.

    Also, the chant made public on YouTube, “No Gaza, No Lebanon – My life is for Iran” was originally sourced from Washington DC, on a VOA broadcast.

    So these types of things are externally sourced, and can be categorized as further evidence of a soft power projection against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    Posted by Pirouz | June 28, 2010, 1:49 pm
  4. I would not dismiss this information so quickly. Shooting your own countrymen while they are protesting the government is not easy. I would not do it even if given a direct order. Better to serve 30 days in jail.

    Furthermore, there are reports that even some of the republican guard are losing faith in the current leadership. I saw a video report about it but can’t remember where.

    Under these circumstances it is only natural that the Iranian leadership wanted a force that was absolutely loyal and also less reluctant to shoot at Iranian protesters.

    Posted by AIG | June 28, 2010, 2:54 pm
  5. Hilal Khashan is a mere Wahhabi Hariri sympathizer. What’s laughable is that he sends the information a “Hezbollah source” allegedly gave him left and right and then asks those who received it not to reveal the source’s name! I bet he is among those who got a piece of the 500 million dollars Jeffrey Feltman spoke about recently in front of a US Congress committee in order to try to tarnish the image of Hezbollah. And Hilal Khashan’s is trying hard.

    This ridiculous claim rehashed by Hilal Khashan first appeared in the wake of the June 2009 Iranian presidential elections and the actions that the authorities took against the opposition followers. Even a pro-Pahlavi (not to say Zionist) website published a photograph of a person that (mis) represented an Iranian civilian as a member of a Hezbollah’s security team that was sent to Iran to “help” in the crackdown on those opposed to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    When one reads the “pearls of wisdom” Hilal Khashan dispenses especially in a rabid Zionist publication (Middle East Quarterly) while praising rabid Zionists and racists as Daniel Pipes and Martin Kramer, he/she can understand very well how an AUB guy can recycle trash as credible information and pretends to be original although the product is outdated.

    Finally, I read the comment made on the link you provided. I think its writer needs to take Aspirin to return to rationality.

    Posted by Jihad | June 28, 2010, 3:09 pm
  6. The Zionist media in the West and the Wahhabi media in the Arab world even claimed that the Iranian nuclear scientist Massoud Ali Mohammadi, who was killed by a car bomb in January 2010, was assassinated by a Hezbollah member. Here is “Hariri Now” site playing the same game the unoriginal Hilal Khashan is playing:

    “The Sunday Times weekly magazine reported that Iranian nuclear scientist Massoud Ali Mohammadi – who was murdered in a bomb attack outside his home – may have been killed by a Hezbollah member known by his pseudonym “Abu Nasser,” according to Iranian opposition groups.

    However, the death of Mohammadi was blamed by the Tehran regime on “mercenaries” financed by Israel and the US, because of his role as a nuclear physicist. Other reports claimed that Mohammadi was targeted by a pro-regime demonstrator, said the weekly.

    The magazine also said that Abu Nasser had been allegedly spotted alongside Revolutionary Guards in recent anti-government demonstrations.”

    http://www.nowlebanon.com/Sub.aspx?ID=125478

    Posted by Jihad | June 28, 2010, 3:29 pm
  7. Speaking of this funding nonsense. I’m surprised it hasn’t been brought up here given the latest hypocritical comments by Hizbullah about transparency and lawsuits…

    What kind of idiotic nonsense is that now? An organization known for its secrecy, clamoring for transparency?
    Did Hizb publish their sources of funding? Did they make some kind of SEC filing detailing their pay structure, budget allowances, military and non-military expenditures and forget to let us know?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 28, 2010, 4:42 pm
  8. QN,

    Will you be covering the pro-Palestinian demonstations going on in Lebanon in a separate thread? I’m just wondering if it’s newsworthy since Israelis and Jews aren’t involved;)

    http://www.thememriblog.org/blog_personal/en/28133.htm

    Posted by Akbar Palace | June 28, 2010, 5:02 pm
  9. You know BV, there is a difference between Hizbullah and the Lebanese state.

    Posted by Nasser Victor | June 28, 2010, 5:03 pm
  10. AP

    There were two posts on Palestinian rights in Lebanon just a few days ago! With enormous comment sections!

    When I get around to finding that extra 3 hours in the day that I lost somewhere, I’ll do it.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 28, 2010, 5:14 pm
  11. Nasser,

    Not sure I follow your drift. Or are you being sarcastic?

    Posted by Bad Vilbel | June 28, 2010, 5:19 pm
  12. US says that it won’t speak to Hizbullah until it changes its behavior.

    Hizbullah says it won’t speak to US until it changes its behavior.

    This is the storyline that no one ever gets tired of in the Middle East.


    Hizbullah not interested in dialogue with US
    Bassem Mroue
    Associated Press

    BEIRUT: Hizbullah’s deputy chief said Monday his group was not interested in a dialogue with Washington until the US changes its Mideast policy, which he said is totally biased in favor of Israel.

    Sheikh Naim Qassem was responding to leading US expert on the Middle East Ryan Crocker who told Congress earlier this month the United States should break with long-standing policy and start talking to the Iranian-backed group.

    Crocker, who retired from the foreign service last year as the State Department’s most experienced Mideast hand, told a Senate hearing that the United States stands to gain more than it would lose by negotiating with Hizbullah, which the US government classifies as a terrorist organization.

    The Obama administration, however, appeared unwilling to change course. Jeffrey Feltman, the State Department’s chief Mideast official, told the same Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing: “Our policy is nonengagement with Hizbullah, for all the reasons you know, and I don’t anticipate that policy changing.”

    Feltman said the United States might reconsider its policy if Hizbullah became “a normal part of the political fabric” in Lebanon. He added that as long as Hizbullah maintained a militia and “is undertaking activities in the region and beyond that basically are terrorist activities, we’re not engaging with them,” Feltman said.

    Hizbullah has been known for its anti-US stance since the group was created in 1982 after Israel invaded Lebanon.

    The group says its weapons are needed to face any future Israeli attack.

    “There is an American behavior that has to change first, and then we can discuss the possibility of a dialogue,” Qassem told The Associated Press from a secret location in the group’s southern Beirut stronghold of Dahiyeh. The AP team was taken to Kassem’s office in a Hizbullah van with drawn black curtains.

    “America is playing the role of troublemaker in the region,” said the white-turbaned cleric in an apparent reference to the US invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Washington blames Hizbullah for the explosion that killed 241 US military personnel at the Marines’ Beirut airport base in 1983, as well as for two attacks on the US Embassy in Beirut and the 1985 TWA hijacking that killed an American serviceman on board. Those attacks were blamed on pro-Iranian Shiite Muslim militants.

    However, since the 1990s, Hizbullah has denied links to the attacks, insisting it opposes terrorism and its fight is only with Israel. The group is represented in Parliament and the Cabinet, but still has a powerful military wing that fought Israel in the 2006 war.

    Qassem also said he does not expect a war with Israel, but the group is preparing for it “as if it is happening tomorrow.” Israel and Hizbullah have exchanged threats in recent months and many in Lebanon feared a new round of fighting.

    The summer 2006 war, which left some 1,200 Lebanese and 160 Israelis dead, ended in a stalemate.

    Tensions have also risen in recent weeks after Israel accused Syria of smuggling Scuds and other types of missiles to Hizbullah. Syria denied the charge.

    Israeli officials have said they believe Hizbullah has managed to triple its prewar arms stockpile to more than 40,000 rockets some of which can hit anywhere in Israel.

    Qassem declined to discuss the group’s arms arsenal and whether the group had acquired long-range Scud missiles, saying Hizbullah’s strength was in the “secrecy” with which it conducts its military operations.

    Qassem said “the balance of terror” that Hizbullah has achieved with Israel as well as its “devastating defeat” during the 2006 war have made Israel think twice about any future attack on Lebanon.

    But he said the party was highly prepared and ready “at any time” to fight Israel.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 28, 2010, 5:22 pm
  13. QN,
    Seriously? You are giving time and space for a story so patently ridiculous it beggars belief that anyone buys it?

    So on the one hand we have these Revolutionary Guards who control the state, run businesses and number in the hundreds of thousands and they need to bring in a couple of hundred Lebanese to do crowd control?

    Why? Where they expecting the Green Revolution to turn up on the streets of Tehran in Merkavas? Thats the only explanation that makes sense.

    These type of Memri/Debka stories pandering to the propaganda Israelis like to spew about Hizballah cadres having no qualms attacking unarmed civilians is beneath you and Im surprised and disappointed you should post it.

    Posted by mo | June 28, 2010, 5:24 pm
  14. Mo

    The piece was intended to provoke shock and disappointment in you, if only to demonstrate the fact that you regard this blog as (usually) meeting your lofty standards. 😉

    But seriously, do you not recognize why this is worth posting? The whole point is that it is NOT a Memri/Debka story. It’s a story from a well-known political scientist at AUB (a former chair of the department). It’s not a Siyasa or Rai hatchet job.

    That said, I do find it somewhat unconvincing. Why, then, would Khashan attach his name to something like this?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 28, 2010, 5:53 pm
  15. Why, then, would Khashan attach his name to something like this?

    Have you asked him about his ties to the AIPAC founded and funded Washington Institute for Near East Policy?

    Its a debka story alright. They are just trying different channels.

    Posted by mo | June 28, 2010, 6:15 pm
  16. Mo

    As I said, I can’t vouch for the credibility of the story. But what are you suggesting, exactly? Are you saying that Khashan is acting on AIPAC’s instructions?

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 28, 2010, 6:58 pm
  17. I’m saying that the man has well known affiliations to an organisation that often releases articles that are at best incredulous and at worst pure propaganda and that this organisation’s positions are equal to those of Israel.

    Furthermore, his political positions and beliefs are well known and have been for many years.

    So you asked the question, why would he attach his name to this and I am answering quite simply that since, at the least, one can say that he is happy to associate with pro-zionist organisations, then any claims he makes which also happen to intersect with Israeli propaganda must be taken with all the seriousness they deserve: i.e. none at all.

    Furthermore, don’t you find it just a little bit odd, that such a well known friend of Israeli-positions should have sources within Hizballah?

    Posted by mo | June 28, 2010, 7:09 pm
  18. I’m just trying to understand. Are you saying that:

    (1) He’s lying and has no sources within Hizbullah.

    (2) He may well have a source that fed him this information but the information itself is suspect.

    As for views intersecting with pro-Zionist organizations, I’m sure you’ll agree that there are plenty of people in Lebanon whose views intersect with pro-Zionist organizations, whether or not they know it or care.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 28, 2010, 7:25 pm
  19. QN,

    Would you have posted a note by Daniel Pipes and expected us to take it as seriously as a note by a respected academic? Now you are the one who highlighted a report by an AUB Professor and it is up to you to determine whether he is a trustworthy source. Dont’ turn the tableS around!

    You typically run solid stories, or run sarcastic on under the Qnion; here you seem to to have failed. I wonder if it has anything to do with teh fact that it is a Hizbollah story; while you do not have to agree with HB’s position, you shouldn’t be so overtly biased.

    I hope that I am wrong in my interpretation and that there is no ulterior motive behind running it here…
    Best,

    Posted by Parrhesia | June 28, 2010, 8:01 pm
  20. Ulterior motive? Hmmm, yes, very mysterious.

    I’m sure that if you keep up the interrogation, you’ll soon discover that I am receiving millions of dollars from the State Department to tarnish Hizbullah’s reputation. LOL

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 28, 2010, 8:13 pm
  21. To Sean: a mercenary (not that they were) gets the job done without restraint.
    There is a message here intended to make the news and blessed by the Hizbullah leadership. We, the Hizb, are committed to our cause. Short of annihilation, our clamp on Lebanon is eternal.

    Posted by noble | June 28, 2010, 8:23 pm
  22. 300? You must be joking. There were thousands of security forces on the streets. Even if this story is true, it does not mean anything, it is just symbolic. Iran’s regime has no need for 300 Hezbollah security personals, they had tens if not hundreds of security forces on the street in Tehran.

    Posted by Ali | June 28, 2010, 10:06 pm
  23. The story doesn’t sound very credible. The iranian regime has hundreds of thousands of military personnel at its disposal, why would they want to use few hundred non farsi speaking folks?

    Don’t know, it just doesn’t sound logical.

    Just my two 2roush.

    Posted by Ras Beirut | June 28, 2010, 10:10 pm
  24. I have to agree with Mo (as usual).

    Again, the IRGC rapid reaction force was not deployed in any meaningful way. Why activate a small group of foreign cadets for which they have no training? There are so many obvious disadvantages in doing so.

    On the other hand, look at the obvious potential advantages in disseminating this disinformation.

    This is sort of like using foreign troops allied to and being trained in-country by the US military, for antiriot duties during the Rodney King riots in LA. How absurd!

    Honestly, QN, I’m amused by the mention of this, but really you’re intelligent enough to recognize it for what it is.

    Posted by Pirouz | June 28, 2010, 10:17 pm
  25. Anyone who dare question or criticize the “Party of God” is a “Rabid Zionist”, “3ameel” and now the newly coined term “USAID Agent” 🙂

    Posted by V | June 28, 2010, 10:30 pm
  26. I hope that it is not too late to add a few lines to this discussion.
    The single and most foremost thing is that this is an item that seems to lend credibility to an old story. No one has claimed that it is true but the mere fact that it might be warrants a serious investigation. So many have dismissed it on the basis that it is not true. Fair enough. I ask these same people about what their reaction would be if this can be proven to be true. If they would then object to the Hezbollah role then may I humbly suggest that there is only one way to clear this thing out. Hold a serious investigation. Ask Hezbollah to be forethcoming.
    As we all well know Arabs joined the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan, Salafis fought in Iraq, sociaklist fought in Spain … There is nothing illegal about a group of Lebanese offering their support to a cause outside of Lebanon. But this is a slightly different cast. Hezbollah is an official part of the Lebanese government and it cannot act as if it is a rogue group. Are we suggesting that it is fine for the Lebanese government to help a government suppress a peaceful opposition>
    ? What if the Lebanese government is to help the opposition openly? Would that be acceptable
    This case warrants an investigation because it raises very serious questions about the behaviour of a partner in the Lebanese government, a partner that always and forever wants to be treated differently , wants to be treated as if the laws of the land apply to evreyone else except its members. It is time that comes to an end. This matter lends another credible item to what has been a relatively strong circumstantial case. It begs to be answered clearly by Hezbollah and not by condemning the accuser.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 28, 2010, 10:33 pm
  27. Don’t you love it when advocates of the Iranian or Syrian regimes talk about disinformation.
    Maybe the 300 or so Hezbollah men went on a real life not a simulated training mission sort of on hands training in brutality to be applied in Lebanon when the need arise !

    Posted by V | June 28, 2010, 10:53 pm
  28. Hi QN,

    I did not mean anything by ulterior motive except a possible unconscious bias–that I referred to earlier in the text. I am sorry if that came out implyiong any insidious motive–or even “being on the take.” The reason I enjoy your blog i because you are thoughtfull and very open. My criticism is directed at a poor choice of venue for this “rumour” (unless the professor has written in a respectable media outlet and his sources are on file there). I know you verified the existence of the source by contactin the professor in question, but did you confirm with his editors? Anyway, it is not a big deal. Legitimate criticism of H. (or any other party) is very important; the discourse by which we undertake such a criticism and the methods of confirming and conveying associated truth, however, are even more important!

    Sorry again about the mixup!

    Posted by Parrhesia | June 28, 2010, 11:26 pm
  29. “Maybe the 300 or so Hezbollah men went on a real life not a simulated training mission sort of on hands training in brutality to be applied in Lebanon when the need arise” –V

    Sort of a hands on, impromptu effort at crowd control?

    Do you have any idea how hard that would be, without adequate training? No, you don’t.

    Yeah, let’s have NAJA (Iran’s national police) manage a battalion of foreign speaking cadets, unfamiliar with the Tehran sprawl. Let’s interrupt their intensive, all-important instruction in light infantry tactics. To do the bonehead work of crowd control! All the while, holding back the properly trained IRGC rapid reaction force.

    Incredible how gullible (or intentionally biased) some can be.

    Posted by Pirouz | June 29, 2010, 1:24 am
  30. I tend to not believe this because it is illogical. Like someone earlier pointed out, it doesn’t make sense for the Iranian regime to need some sub par anti-riot foreigners. BUT, who is to say that Hezbollah isn’t there for training purposes only? You know, like an internship. ‘Tis good experience, learning how to oppress :/

    Posted by Nasser Victor | June 29, 2010, 2:12 am
  31. I tend to agree with V and Nasser Victor’s assessment. It is very plausible that Hizb members were brought on the scene for training purposes.

    Pirouz, Do you deny the existence of Hizb members receiving training in Iran? What’s so implausible for a group of these trainees (already in Iran) to witness firsthand how their trainers do a job? From a trainer’s perspective, the riots provide a great opportunity to give students real life experience.

    Pirouz, What if it was LF members who were spotted helping the government suppress a protest in the US? You’d be the first person here accusing them of being Zionist agents and want Geagea hanged. No need for investigation or trial, just hanged.

    All that’s being asked for is a credible investigation to discover the truth. (Reading this again, I now realize how silly this sounds for Lebanon… credible investigation to discover the truth)

    Though I work on USAID projects worldwide, I am a fan of the hizb and think their presence is essential to fend of the Israeli’s in the short term.

    That said, I agree with Ghassan Karam’s comment 25: The Hizb is “a partner that always and forever wants to be treated differently , wants to be treated as if the laws of the land apply to evreyone else except its members.”

    I’d like to raise another somewhat relevant question. There were many reports last week that Hizb MPs (I think it was Mousawi) who said that the National Dialogue is better off without the LF. There was very little reaction to this statement.

    Personally, I think the National Dialogue is a waste of time, but what if the LF had said that about the Hizb?

    Posted by Johnny | June 29, 2010, 3:41 am
  32. Under the secrecy of sources, any surreal statement is possible.
    Until I get the evidence (sources & facts), I won’t give any credit to this statement – which is moreover so obviously biased.
    Why should a rational person trust a discourse that is based on nothing but some professor’s academic reputation?
    I don’t think that the academic status or reputation necessarily equates with probity.

    Posted by quelqu'une | June 29, 2010, 4:02 am
  33. Qifa,

    I am in no position to make a statement on whether he is out and out lying, whether he is channeling misinformation, or whether, back in 2006 Ali, the butcher/baker/candlestick maker he visits in Ouzai disappeared during the summer and was therefore in his mind obviously a “Hizballah official” and then on his last visit Ali told him some guys went off to Iran (and tbh as this is Lebanon, the last scenario is the most plausible).

    Yes many people in Lebanon have political views that intersect with Zionists but the difference is that it is not only his views that intersect; He has actively written for and been published by WINEP. Surely, at the least that alone reflects a bias that would make his story suspicious. And if I know his connections to WINEP, so do Hizballah, so why would some “Hizballah official” be giving him secret information?

    Ghassan,
    If you are suggesting that governments or parties that are memebers of govt. should not be interfering in other countries politics, then may I suggest that even if this story were true, Hizballah would be way down the list of parties worldwide in need of investigation. If we investigated the US’s meddling in Iran from the 1950’s to present day, that would require a blog all of its own. And how do Hizballah “prove” they did not men on the streets of Tehran? How do you prove the non-occurence of something?

    In regards to “a partner that always and forever wants to be treated differently , wants to be treated as if the laws of the land apply to evreyone else except its members.”

    Where do I start with this statement? If we set aside the weapons for a minute, I will challenge you to find a an organisation in Lebanon more eager to have its members act according to the law. Secondly, with the likes of the Zaims that rule the other parties and their behaviour over the years, claiming that only Hizballah acts as if it is above the law is laughable. Lets find out where the missing billions are to see who is above the law? Lets find out how much our dead judge made out of the Hariris for continuously ruling against the land and property owners in downtown Beirut to see who is above the law?

    And back to the weapons, which is what I presume you meant, again, I ask you the same questions I always do.

    Does the state not have a responsibility and duty to protect me from a foreign aggressor?

    If the state cannot, do I not have a right and a duty (enshrined in international law) to protect myself from that aggressor?

    By what right do you, who will not be at the forefront of that aggression and who will most likely not suffer have his home destroyed or family killed by that aggression, have in demanding I not be able to defend my family and my land?

    Johnny,
    Are you suggesting that Hizballah are training for the day that they have to wade into an Israeli opposition demonstration? What exactly would the point of Hizballah sending men to Iran to train in how to hit people with batons instead of using the latest anti-tank missiles? Are the Israelis planning a mass march into Lebanon? Do you know something we dont?

    I don’t know about Pirouz but if the LF were helping the US suppress opposition in Chicago I really wouldn’t care (but fyi, i would find such a report just a laughable as this one).

    And lastly, if the LF had said that about Hizb, there would be a few guffaws. I think the potenital relevance of their respective participation is just a little bit different! 🙂

    Posted by mo | June 29, 2010, 4:46 am
  34. I suppose there’s folks here that can’t tell the difference between elite light infantry, and law enforcement deployed in an antiriot role. But gentlemen, there’s a world of difference.

    And how many times have critics or foes of Iran and Hezbollah been susceptible to accounts of inherent irrationality by these two? I thought this kind of thing was finally put to rest in 2006.

    But no! It must continue- it must.

    Oh well. He says, she says. Believe what you will to believe. But realize you’ve departed from reality on this one.

    Posted by Pirouz | June 29, 2010, 5:49 am
  35. mo said:
    “Ghassan,
    If you are suggesting that governments or parties that are memebers of govt. should not be interfering in other countries politics, then may I suggest that even if this story were true, Hizballah would be way down the list of parties worldwide in need of investigation.”

    mo,
    That is not what I said and you know it. The fact that governments do interfer with the affairs of other governments doesnot make the practice right. But that is not what I was objecting to. When a party that is a partner in a government takes on such acts that are not in harmony with the policy of the government in which it is a participant then it is the duty of the party in question to split away from the government and it is equally the duty of the government to ask the party in question to leave the coalition. No party should have the right to be or not be at the same time.

    There is a more fundamental issue that ought to underpin this discussion. No one has asserted the veracity of the numerous reports about the direct involvement of Hezbollah in controlling demonstrators in Tehran and other Iranian cities. The accusations have been made by a variety of sources over the past year, the most recent of which is the allegation by Hilal Khashan.
    These accusations could be totally fabricated or they could be true. Many are arguing without a scentila of evidence that such an event did not take place and could not have taken place. Why are the denials more credible than the accusations? It would appear that both the ones that are asking for an investigation as well as those who are denying the accusations agree that the acts in question are wrong. If we agree on that then there is only one way to find out whether the acts in question took place. If on the other hand we agree that ther is nothing wrong with the act then an accusation that that one has committed no wrong is rather silly and so would the effort to deny the accusation that someone has committed no wrong. ( If I have the right to say, travel then an accusation that I have traveled is meaningless and the idea that someone is denying that I have traveled when I have the right to do so is preposterous).
    So I ask again: Forget for a minute whether this act took place or not and deal with the issue whether the act itself is right or whether it is wrong. An answer to the above will shape then the answer to the original issue raised in this post.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 29, 2010, 6:34 am
  36. Ghassan,
    Right or wrong based on what? Your politcs? My politics? Hizballahs politics? On whose reading of the events? CNN? Fox? Press TV? Al Manar?
    If one believes the whole episode was a clear case of black and white then its an easy answer. If one believes that there were many elements at work, with different agendas, then the whole right and wrong answer becomes an in depth discussion that requires far more than a simple answer.

    Even if you assume the report to be true (and I’d still like an example of proving a non-occurence) we are not privy to how or why such a request was made nor how and why Hizballah agreed to it.

    Just because the accusation come from multiple sources doesnt make it more true, esp. if all those sources can be traced to the same “side” with the same agenda.

    You say:
    Many are arguing without a scentila of evidence that such an event did not take place and could not have taken place. Why are the denials more credible than the accusations?

    Simply because while the accusers cannot even name sources, the denials can point to the well known and public bias of the accusers. Let me know when there is a non-AIPAC funded sighting of Lebanese men on Tehran’s streets beating up on people.

    Posted by mo | June 29, 2010, 6:54 am
  37. Alright, this was clearly a dud with the readership.

    🙂

    Let’s move on to the next topic, shall we?

    Stay tuned for coverage of the Palestinian rights protest fallout…

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | June 29, 2010, 7:37 am
  38. mo,
    Let me go back to the question of right or wrong. I know that this would require a lenghthy discussion but yet I cannot just let your statement stand alone without a short response.
    If you do some relatively serious research you will find out that the position of ethical relativism is not taken seriously by many instead you will find out that objective morality is.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 29, 2010, 7:49 am
  39. Objective morality is taken most seriously by those who believe their morality is right and should be imposed on others. And a Lebanese blog that argues over Hizballah and the Arab-Israeli conflict should be no more than you need as proof of that.

    How anyone can look at history, esp. mans conduct over history and the development of “morality” on a social level and say that morality is “fixed” is beyond me.

    Neverttheless, I wasn’t arguing for ethical relativism, but political relativism. Ones take on the rights and wrongs of the events on Tehrans streets will be coloured mostly by ones political affliations, not moral standards – Even if the condemenation is based on morality, it will be based on a verdict and interpretation of events based entirely on ones politcal leanings.

    Posted by mo | June 29, 2010, 8:17 am
  40. But isn’t it immoral to believe that morality should be imposed on others 🙂 And doesn’t political relativism lead to an everything goes world?
    I grant you though that morality is not a static concept over time. ( remember what I said earlier? This topic could lead us into a lengthy discussion:-)) I do admit that the circle of ethics grows over time as to always include new participants but I am not sure that is relativism.

    Posted by Ghassan Karam | June 29, 2010, 10:40 am
  41. Ghassan Karam,

    You see, democracy and transparency is something you ask for only when you are in the West. Then, these things are crucial and people are willing to demonstrate in the streets for them.

    But demand such things from HA? Of course not. It turns out that the end justifies the means.

    Posted by AIG | June 29, 2010, 10:46 am
  42. Lebanon is a small country. The coordinated, prolonged insertion of 300 Lebanese men into faraway urban conflict zones would almost certainly not go unnoticed by other Lebanese. Plenty of elites have cited anonymous sources attesting to Lebanese Hizballah’s participation in Iran, and of course Twitter users based in Los Angeles have also attested to this. However, have we heard from any Lebanese non-elite sources claiming to have witnessed a simultaneous disappearance of men who would comprise a significant portion of Hizballah’s armed forces? Even anonymously?

    Posted by Harold Turkoman | June 29, 2010, 10:49 am
  43. It is so funny when HA supporters jump at any opportunity to tarnish the image of their political adversaries with venom and vitriol. Not missing any chance to call them “collaborators” etc…and straight up dismissing a report that is not new. There were numerous reports and information from Persian blogs as well as tweets that the main squares where the demonstrations were happening were guarded by Arabic speaking “basij”…I guess they had to acquire HA’s expertise on how to attack their own people with brutality (May 2008 being their crowning achievement so far)!!!

    Regardless as far as no hard evidence exists we could call it plausible or possible!

    mo as usual you are trying to “colour” the discussion based on your political affiliation rather than facts! If you are suggesting that the people in Iran who were demonstrating to demand a recount and were bloodily suppressed were wrong; then voila!

    Posted by danny | June 29, 2010, 10:56 am
  44. * twitting…Tweedy bird was on my mind lol

    Posted by danny | June 29, 2010, 11:01 am
  45. Ghassan,
    of course but I didnt bring up objective morality…! 🙂

    Poitical relativism doesnt so much lead to anything goes world but yes, it certainly leads to scenarios where it is not the act but the actor that decides the morality of the act.

    We could discuss this for hours im sure…:)

    Harold, you are so wrong. We have Hilal’s “Hizballah official” as absolute proof!

    Posted by mo | June 29, 2010, 11:10 am
  46. Danny,
    Funny, I have presented as fact links bwtween Khashan and the AIPAC funded WINEP; I have presented as fact that Hizballah has no riot police expertise and is not in need of it. I have presented as fact that no “Hizballah official” would give Khashan any sensitive info. I have presented as fact that there is no non-affliated, non-partisan sources for this story.

    You present Twitter….

    If there ever was a need for a LOL….

    Posted by mo | June 29, 2010, 11:14 am
  47. Twitter. How many false twitters there were, following the elections:

    – Armored water cannon vehicles being used against the demonstrators (never happened).

    – Armored water cannon vehicles being rushed delivered from China to Iran (total fabrication).

    – Khamenei fleeing the country (yeah right).

    – The Army warning the IRGC to lay off the protesters (counterfeit letter).

    – Toureneh Mousavi tortured and killed (she turned up fine).

    – Police forces going over to the protesters’ side (didn’t happen).

    – Numerous cases of doctored photos (some even fooled me).

    And so on and so on…

    Yeah, quite a tool, that Twitter. Let’s believe everything on it. Why would people post lies? (extreme sarcasm alert)

    Posted by Pirouz | June 29, 2010, 1:54 pm
  48. Mo;

    You said:
    *”I have presented as fact links bwtween Khashan and the AIPAC funded WINEP”

    Please provide us with those factual links!

    again:
    “I have presented as fact that Hizballah has no riot police expertise and is not in need of it”

    …”I have presented as fact that no “Hizballah official” would give Khashan any sensitive info”

    again:
    “…” and again…

    Mo,
    Are your opinions qualified as facts now? LOL…if that qualifies for a belly buster!! 😀

    Posted by danny | June 29, 2010, 4:03 pm
  49. Pirouz,

    Dozens of people shot…It DID happen. The whole world saw it.

    People being beat up by HA (oops Basij)…IT DID happen…

    and more and more! What’s your point? Should we all watch Manar for FACTUAL information?

    Posted by danny | June 29, 2010, 4:06 pm
  50. Danny,
    If you arent capable of going to the WINEP site and doing a search for his name, without being fed links then no wonder you believe everything that you read that simply reinforces your beliefs.

    Posted by mo | June 29, 2010, 6:23 pm
  51. Here is a link from the WINEP site where Khashan’s book is for sale.

    http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/templateC04.php?CID=104

    Posted by Nasser Victor | June 30, 2010, 1:01 am

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