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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Saudi Opposer Maan Al-Jarba: Partition is Inevitable

jarba
This interview was conducted a week ago, before the latest Saudi developments in Saudi Arabia.
He is one of the political opponents of the Saudi regime’s policies, and he belongs to the “Shammar” tribe that extends from Saudi Arabia to reach Kuwait and Qatar, and is based in Iraq and Syria. The tribe also ruled “Najd” for almost a century before Abdul Aziz bin Saud robbed it to restore his predecessors’ rule backed by the Englishmen who failed to seduce “Shammar”. Al-Jarba is one of those who have strong connections due to the affinity with prominent figures in the kingdom’s authorities such as former Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, and former Crown Prince Mohammad bin Nayef, granting him a sort of immunity to express his views.
“Maan al-Jarba’s” name has been emerging lately, dressed with the costume of the Arab island, yet with another speech: he emerged from Damascus where he decided to settle amid the sludge of the political crisis in 2014, for no reason; but to be honest with the stances that reflect his beliefs that defending Syria is defending the Arab resistance feature that is wanted to be changed. The (militants’) bombs at the time were targeting the neighborhood where he resides. One of them hit the same building. He, however, didn’t decide to leave Syria until things started to settle down, when the victory of the Syrian Army and its allies started to be tangible.
Before that time, at the end of 2011 when he was still in Saudi Arabia, a website affiliated with him had been closed for the stances that it showed revealed a sort of supporting resistance. He was offered to have a weekly column in the Saudi Okaz newspaper. He warned of sectarian strife, drawing attention to the dangers of the scheme of partition that was infiltrating from Iraq. At every point he showed support for the choices of resistance, until he was forced to stop writing in 2013 without being held “accountable.”
Two days after leaving the Saudi lands forever in 2014, Maan al-Jarba appeared in a televised interview speaking of ISIL and its Wahhabi reference. From inside a studio in Riyadh, he saluted Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and then Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki for supporting the resistant Syria. Saudi authorities closed the studio from where al-Jarba appeared, and since then the counter war against him has started.
From the Lebanese capital, Beirut, Mr. Maan al-Jarba had an exclusive interview with the al-Manar website. He tackled the Saudi inside, clarified the scene talking of the religious formation of the Saudi society and the role of tribes, exposing the possible future outcomes amid an escalating political struggle going on inside, and imminent foreign schemes of partition.
Wahhabism Doesn’t Belong to Sunnah
The Saudi society is composed of 85% of the Sunnis and 15% of Ismaili and Twelver Shia. Al-Jarba says that “Wahhabism doesn’t belong to Sunnah at all, recalling that it is only 300 years old.”
“Wahhabism is a status that is differentiated from other Islamic sects and groups,” al-Jarba noted, rejecting the logic of Takfirism it provides.
According to the Saudi opposer, the Arab island’s families were Sufi Ash’ari Maturidi before Mohammad bin Abdul Wahhab appeared in the 17th century, and they still conserve some of their privacies.
“In the Hijaz areas, for example, besides embracing the Sufi Ash’ari Maturidi doctrine, most of houses there belong to the Hanafi and Shafe’i doctrines, like in the Medina. While the Ismailis weigh in south of the kingdom, the Shafe’i doctrine is the most spread there. Twelver Shias are based in the eastern areas mainly in al-Qatif and al-Ahsaa,” he explained.
“Most of the Saudi families are Sufi and Ash’ari, but the official doctrine is Wahhabi and is imposed on them and taught in the educative curriculum,” al-Jarba sums up this point.
The Al Sheikh Family… the Family of Cheques
“Despite some families’ attempts to preserve their regional privacy, the pattern of the detective state imposed inside the kingdom, and its huge financial power, in addition to the international cover and foreign benefiting, here I name the United States, allowed this religious pattern to spread. Wahhabism has served the American goals in the Afghan war against the Soviet Union, and in Iraq and Syria. It devoted the religious institution inside the kingdom to grant rulers a legitimate cover, a paid one, so that Saudis themselves name the Al Sheikh family the family of cheques, in reference to the money they receive,” al-Jarba added.
Despite the religious power, the relationship between the religious institution and the Saudi inside is under control, as long as no armed appearance against the state was detected by non “Wahhabis”. This reflects the containment the state is intending to use sometimes against some “political” targets, just like what happened in Awamiyah recently.
Yemen, Awamiyah and Qatar… for Compensation
Al-Jarba believes that those incidents are related to Saudi dire efforts to create a victory through which it can prove to the Americans that it is still strong and reliable in playing functional roles in the region. “It is worth mentioning that the setbacks in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria were not compensated by the Kingdom in Yemen, they were rather worsened. Targeting Qatar was also for compensation, it however proved being useless, then they hadn’t any choice but to use their force inside the country and attack Awamiyah.”
Al-Jarba went on to say that “the Saudi media exposed the targeting of Awamiyah as a conquer, and they used words that described it as an operation to liberate al-Qatif from Shias, who are shown by Saudi media as intruders, noting that the al-Mosawara neighborhood existed 400 years ago, which means it is a 100 years older than the first Saudi state. This means that the people of Awamiyah are inveterate and deep-rooted in the region more than the Al Saud’s “inveteracy” and authority there…”
“The fade and sterile “victory” in Awamiyah was used under the official media system’s efforts to boost up the “Iranophobia” and “Shiaphobia.” At some point, we have to confess that they have succeeded in devoting this phobia, the barrier that has been worked on to frighten the peoples from resistance.”
Palestine Is In the Sentiment
Unlike the coldness the ruling system shows towards the Palestinian cause, al-Jarba stresses that the Saudi people sympathize with Palestine beyond imagination.
He considers that “The axis of resistance defends Palestine. Despite this phobia, things are going better everyday thanks to the uncovering of Saudi relations with ‘Israel’ that appeared to the surface, as well as the Saudi efforts to secularize the state and try to use the Emirati model in Saudi Arabia, which awakened people. The state that considered Iran and the Shia in general as a Satan under the titles of religion and defending the country of the Two Holy Mosques, appeared today having reconciliation with ‘Israel’ and allowing mixed celebrations and dances, exposing the real danger to religion and the country of the Two Holy Mosques.”
Normalization is the Saudi Fall
“The flagrant fall of the Saudi regime will happen with normalizing ties with ‘Israel’,” al-Jarba predicts.
“Relationship with ‘Israel’ exceeds a very sensitive redline for those who boast belonging to the country of the Two Holy Mosques. They have a decisive stance against the occupiers of the ‘Muslims’ First Qiblah”, and those committing crimes against the Muslims of Palestine, Lebanon and elsewhere. To these limits in particular, the Saudi regime loses its legitimacy. What would then oppress the Saudi people? Are they the Fatwas that prohibit opposing the ruler unless he commits the bold blasphemy? The bold blasphemy for the Saudi people is the waiver of Palestine. Can the authority preachers justify this waiver?”
In the era of major internal transformations, half of the kingdom’s preachers are in prison. According to al-Jarba, it is not about the stance from Qatar, the issue is deeper and greater.
“Mainly, nothing indicates that they have been detained due to the crisis with Qatar, those are just popular analyses. The crisis with Qatar was just an excuse because they know that they are against the leadership and against secularization, and even against normalization with ‘Israel’… would they tell people that they have detained them because they are against secularizing the state? The best excuse is to purport that it is because of Qatar, which would allow them to silence any voice that would object their new policies, starting with mixed dances to public normalization and others.”
Saudis against Normalization
Maan al-Jarba stresses that the Saudi state is a “perfectly detective state”. However, social media networks became an important scale that is measured through the public opinion’s tendencies. A while ago, ‘Israeli’ media leaked some news about the Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman’s visit to the occupied territories. Saudi official institutions shut up and the Saudi-funded media didn’t say a word.
“Only Twitter was on fire with the “Saudis against normalization” campaign that ranked the first trend in Saudi Arabia and the Arab world. Hence, there was a need to form an anti electronic army to promote the official campaign under the title of countering terrorism. However, in front of Palestine, the army cannot endure those opposing the betrayal of the Palestinian cause, in front of Palestine, everybody fails,” al-Jarba stressed.
Breaking the Silence
He further considered that there are three factors that would break the Saudi silence:
1.    The ruling family’s struggle, which exists and is escalating. It will give the people a chance to take to the streets. Those who are leaking the palace’s news to “Mujtahidd” are members of the ruling family. It is also said that the number of imprisoned princes are five until now, including Mohammad bin Nayef and Abdul Aziz bin Fahd who were put under house arrest. The news of the inner conflict have been known and publicized.
2.    Taking off the religious cover and moving towards secularization, in which people would find the direct cause to take to the streets, especially that the Saudi curriculum provides and teaches since 80 years that secularization in blasphemy, and obeying the ruler is a duty unless he commits the bold blasphemy. According to Saudi curricula, disobeying the atheist ruler is allowed, and is even considered a fight in the path of Allah, therefore, the religious factor which the state used as a pillar to immune the ruler will fall as the state heads towards secularization.
3.    Pulling the international cover off Saudi Arabia, this is neither difficult nor impossible in the meantime. The Americans need the oil and the money. The US President was clear on this level. In case of any internal chaos and struggle, the Americans won’t leave their interests for any alliances; they would rather have other alliances with any alternative.
Partition is the Inevitable Project
The Saudi opposer assured that the US knows nobody above its interests. Amid the new colonial scheme, the US is working to divide Saudi Arabia into four countries. “Partition is on the table, and it is serious. The map is available at the US Ministry of Defense’s (War) website. Saudi Arabia will be divided into four countries. In the United States itself, there are some wings that support partition and others that oppose it. But everybody wants to play with us.”
The four regions are:
•    The Great Jordan: It is composed of Tabouk, Yunbu’ and al-Hejaz, it would be added to Jordan to be the alternative home for Palestinians, in which the crisis that bans the occupation entity from announcing its Jewish state will be solved.
•    The Eastern area: It is composed of al-Qatif, al-Ahsaa and al-Dammam, the oil-rich areas that are close to Kuwait and Bahrain, allowing the Americans to enter easily and control oil there. Eastern province sources have previously noted that the Americans have suggested partition, but they have refused.
•    Najd: The central areas where the Al Saud’s rule would be limited
•    The South: The areas of Assir, Najran and Jizan that were Yemeni areas rented by Saudi Arabia for 99 years, and that period ended in the era of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh who “waivered” in favor of Saudi Arabia.
Al-Jarba considers that the Americans have much benefited from their Iraq experience. They will not deploy their troops to any Arab country unless they would appear as the hero and the savior. This would happen in Saudi Arabia in case the struggle between the ruling family’s princes escalated and turned into confrontation. It will grant the Americans and opportunity to be with more numbers inside Saudi Arabia. On the other side, al-Jarba stressed that the partition scheme is inevitable, and that in 2017 we witness the centenary of Sykes-Picot agreement that divided the Arab region between France and Britain, and that the new centenary is the new division.
Tribes, the Time Bomb
Besides religion, the tribes play a major role in implementing or lacking domestic settlement inside the kingdom, al-Jarba noted.
He further noted the following:
“In 1902, Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman Al Saudi returned to Riyadh after he was a refugee in the English-protected Kuwait, to assume power at a time when the northern Arab Island was controlled by the leadership of “Shammar” tribe, and entirely belonging to the Ottoman Empire. “Shammar” was offered to cooperate with the Englishmen but they refused and got engaged in the World War I besides the Ottoman Empire as an Islamic state against the Englishmen…
The Englishmen provided Ibn Saudi with weapons, and they considered that his control of Najd and al-Hejaz will revoke the Ottomans’ religious legitimacy. When the Ottoman state was defeated in the World War I, Abdul Aziz entered the regions and formed the emirate of Najd, he then besieged Ha’el for a whole year during which his army used to hear the calls for prayers from inside the area wondering that “they are Muslims” while others say it is “Prudence”. Ibn Saud’s army killed children inside the mosques. And when they entered al-Hejaz they killed people inside the mosque”
The Saudi oppose uncovered that under the name of religion, Abdul Aziz mobilized tribes that were known at the time as the “brothers of he who obeyed Allah” for his wars against the other emirates.
“When he reached the English-drawn borders, he used English drones to strike the tribes that were looking forward to continue their resistance and restore the entire Islamic world! Until then, Al Saud eye tribes with worry, they respect the position and notability of the tribes, they marry from them and know that the tribes are a time bomb that would decide any domestic conflict that would erupt in the kingdom.
The Worrying Princes
Today, eyes are on the tribes as the struggle escalates between the princes themselves. Mut’ab bin Abdullah, for example, is the most worrying figures to Mohammad bin Salman. He owns a national guard that reaches 150 thousand fighters from the tribes that married from his family, and which are now getting prepared to fight with him until the last soldiers. The national guard on the level of numbers and equipments is a major power that weighs as much as the Saudi Army does.”
Besides Mut’ab, stand Ahmad bin Abdul Aziz, the brother of current Saudi King, and the sons of Nayef, Fahd and Sultan.
Al-Jarba says that “their discontent with the crown prince’s policies has been heard all across the royal palace. There are many letters that were sent to the king demanding to stop the non-qualified prince from reaching the throne,” the last of which was the armed attack against the Palace of Peace in Jeddah.
“The latest attack indicated that the princes’ letters are very serious, which caused Mohammad bin Salman at the time to disappear,” which was detailed in a previous report for al-Manar website.
The Magic Turns on the Magician
Briefly, the Saudi opposer views Saudi Arabia as a country living on the top of a volcano that would erupt anytime. All the factors inside the kingdom are worrying: the princes’ struggle, Mohammad bin Salman’s craving to rule, and the new tendency towards secularization as well as the tribal role amid all of that.
The escalating struggle won’t end but with “partition” in case the keys to deal with everything were handed to the Americans, al-Jarba warns. He further noted that the kingdom won’t be afar from what is taking place in the entire region. The schemes to divide and partition conducted by Saudi Arabia would definitely turn against it. Then, the magic will turn on the magician…
Translated by website team
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Europe to blame for the existence of Ashkenazi Jews

Surprise: Ashkenazi Jews Are Genetically European
An Orthodox Jewish man with the traditional peyos, or long sidelocks.
The origin of the Ashkenazi Jews, who come most recently from Europe, has largely been shrouded in mystery. But a new study suggests that at least their maternal lineage may derive largely from Europe.
Though the finding may seem intuitive, it contradicts the notion that European Jews mostly descend from people who left Israel and the Middle East around 2,000 years ago. Instead, a substantial proportion of the population originates from local Europeans who converted to Judaism, said study co-author Martin Richards, an archaeogeneticist at the University of Huddersfield in England

  • The origin of the Ashkenazi Jews, who come most recently from Europe, has largely been shrouded in mystery. But a new study suggests that at least their maternal lineage may derive largely from Europe.

Though the finding may seem intuitive, it contradicts the notion that European Jews mostly descend from people who left Israel and the Middle East around 2,000 years ago. Instead, a substantial proportion of the population originates from local Europeans who converted to Judaism, said study co-author Martin Richards, an archaeogeneticist at the University of Huddersfield in England.
Tangled legacy
Little is known about the history of Ashkenazi Jews before they were expelled from the Mediterranean and settled in what is now Poland around the 12th century. On average, all Ashkenazi Jews are genetically as closely related to each other as fourth or fifth cousins, said Dr. Harry Ostrer, a pathology, pediatrics and genetics professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and the author of “Legacy: A Genetic History of the Jewish People” (Oxford University Press, 2012).
But depending on whether the lineage gets traced through maternal or paternal DNA or through the rest of the genome, researchers got very different answers for whether Ashkenazi originally came from Europe or the Near East.
Past research found that 50 percent to 80 percent of DNA from the Ashkenazi Y chromosome, which is used to trace the male lineage, originated in the Near East, Richards said. That supported a story wherein Jews came from Israel and largely eschewed intermarriage when they settled in Europe. [The Holy Land: 7 Amazing Archaeological Finds]
But historical documents tell a slightly different tale. Based on accounts such as those of Jewish historian Flavius Josephus, by the time of the destruction of the Second Temple in A.D. 70, as many as 6 million Jews were living in the Roman Empire, but outside Israel, mainly in Italy and Southern Europe. In contrast, only about 500,000 lived in Judea, said Ostrer, who was not involved in the new study.
“The major Jewish communities were outside Judea,” Ostrer told LiveScience.
Maternal DNA
Richards and his colleagues analyzed mitochondrial DNA, which is contained in the cytoplasm of the egg and passed down only from the mother, from more than 3,500 people throughout the Near East, the Caucusus and Europe, including Ashkenazi Jews.
The team found that four founders were responsible for 40 percent of Ashkenazi mitochondrial DNA, and that all of these founders originated in Europe. The majority of the remaining people could be traced to other European lineages.
All told, more than 80 percent of the maternal lineages of Ashkenazi Jews could be traced to Europe, with only a few lineages originating in the Near East.
Virtually none came from the North Caucasus, located along the border between Europe and Asia between the Black and Caspian seas.
The finding should thoroughly debunk one of the most questionable, but still tenacious, hypotheses: that most Ashkenazi Jews can trace their roots to the mysterious Khazar Kingdom that flourished during the ninth century in the region between the Byzantine Empire and the Persian Empire, Richards and Ostrer said.
The genetics suggest many of the founding Ashkenazi women were actually converts from local European populations.
“The simplest explanation was that it was mainly women who converted and they married with men who’d come from the Near East,” Richards told LiveScience.
Another possibility is that Jews actively converted both men and women among local populations at this time, although researchers would need more detailed study of paternal lineages to test that hypothesis, Richards said.

Another False Flag Terror ADMISSION: Snipers In the Ukraine “Protests”

Source

Snipers Fired At BOTH Police and Protesters In Ukraine

Remember the protests in Ukraine which led to the old leader being replaced?
If you’ll recall,  the ruthless slaughter of people by snipers was the event which turned world opinion against the Ukrainian Prime Minister, and resulted in him having to flee the country.
Italy’s 11th largest newspaper – Il Giornale – reported on an admission by several of the snipers (Google translation) :
“Everyone started shooting two or three shots at a time. It went on for fifteen, twenty minutes. We had no choice. We were ordered to shoot both on the police and the demonstrators, without any difference. I was totally outraged.
So Georgian Alexander Revazishvilli remembers the tragic shootout of 20 February 2014 in Kiev when a group of mysterious snipers opened fire on crowds and cops massacring over 80 people. That massacre has horrified the world and changed the destiny of Ukraine by forcing President Viktor Yanukovich accused of organizing the shootout. But the massacre also changed the fates of Europe and our country, triggering the crisis that will lead to sanctions against Putin’s Russia. Sanctions revealed a boomerang for the Italian economy ( Watch the video ).
Revazishvilli’s confessions and two other Georgians – gathered by writers in the documentary “Ukraine, the hidden truths” aired tonight at 23.30 on Matrix, Channel 5 – reveal a different and disconcerting truth. The truth of a massacre and the same opposition that accused Yanukovych and his Russian allies.Revazishvilli and his two companions – met and interviewed in the documentary – are a former member of the security services of former Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili and two former militants of his party. Hired in Tbilisi by Mamuka Mamulashvili, Saakashvili’s military adviser, are tasked with supporting – along with other Georgian and Lithuanian volunteers – ongoing demonstrations in Kiev in return for a $5,000 final fee.
***
The following day, Mamulashvili and the leaders of the protest explain to volunteers who will face a police assault at the Conservatory building and at the Ukraine hotel. In that case – he says – we must shoot at the square and sow the chaos. But one of the protagonists confesses to having received another explanation, much more comprehensive. “When Mamulashvili arrived, I also asked him. Things are getting complicated, we have to start shooting – he replied that we can not go to the pre-election presidential elections.But who should shoot? “I asked. He replied that who and where it did not matter, you had to shoot somewhere so much to sow chaos. “
“It did not matter if we fired at a tree, a barricade, or the molotov. confirms another volunteer – what counts was sowing confusion.
BBC interviewed the head of the opposition’s security forces at the time, who confirms that snipers were killing both sides … protesters and police:
And the former Ukranian government security boss said the same thing. Specifically, he said:
Former chief of Ukraine’s Security Service has confirmed allegations that snipers who killed dozens of people during the violent unrest in Kiev operated from a building controlled by the opposition on Maidan square.
Shots that killed both civilians and police officers were fired from the Philharmonic Hall building in Ukraine’s capital, former head of the Security Service of Ukraine Aleksandr Yakimenko told Russia 1 channel. The building was under full control of the opposition and particularly the so-called Commandant of Maidan self-defense Andrey Parubiy who after the coup was appointed as the Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Yakimenko added.
So the chief of the government’s security forces, the head of the opposition’s security forces, and the snipers themselves  all admit the snipers were killing both protesters and police.
[Ukrainian Health Minister Oleh] Musiy, who spent more than two months organizing medical units on Maidan, said that on Feb. 20 roughly 40 civilians and protesters were brought with fatal bullet wounds to the makeshift hospital set up near the square. But he said medics also treated three police officers whose wounds were identical.
Forensic evidence, in particular the similarity of the bullet wounds, led him and others to conclude that snipers were targeting both sides of the standoff at Maidan — and that the shootings were intended to generate a wave of revulsion so strong that it would topple Yanukovych and also justify a Russian invasion.
And the Estonian foreign minister – after visiting Ukraine – told the EU foreign affairs minister that the Maidan opposition deployed the snipers – and fired on both the protesters and the police – to discredit the former government of Ukraine.

The Snipers Were Associated with the Maidan Protesters

While the mainstream media has proclaimed that the sniper fire was definitely from government forces, some of the above-cited sources dispute that claim.
Additionally, BBC reported at the time:
Reporting for Newsnight, Gabriel Gatehouse said he saw what looked like a protester shooting out of a window at the BBC’s Kiev base, the Ukraine Hotel.
BBC interviewed a Maidan protester who admitted that he fired a sniper rifle at police from the Conservatory, and that he was guided by a military veteran within the Maidan resistance. Here are actual pictures a reporter took of Maidan snipers, recently published by BBC:
gunmen at Kiev Conservatory 20 February
(There were reportedly at least 10 Maidan snipers firing from the Conservatory.)
The Frankfurther Allgemein reported that Maidan commander Volodymyr Parasjuk controlled the Conservatory at the time:
Volodymyr Parasjuk – the leader in “self-defense units” of the revolution who had called the night of Yanukovich’s escape, on the stage of Maidan to storm the presidential residence one year ago.
On the day of the massacre Parasjuk was staying with his unit in the colonnaded building of the Kiev Conservatory right at the Maidan. In the days before the death toll had risen, and the fighters grew the conviction alone with limited power as before will not be able to overthrow Yanukovych. “There were at that time many guys who said you have to take the weapon and attack,” said Parasjuk recalls. “Many,” he himself had since long ago it had firearms, often their officially registered hunting rifles.
Tagesschau – a German national and international television news service produced by state-run Norddeutscher Rundfunk on behalf of the German public-service television network ARD – also reported in 2014 that at least some of the sniper fire came from protesters.
And remember, the snipers who admitted firing at both sides were associated with Mikhail Saakashvili and his party.  Saakashvili was a huge supporter of the Maidan protesters from the very beginning.  As Newsweek reports:
Saakashvili was a supporter of the Ukrainian revolution since the beginning of Euromaidan ….
Indeed, the Maidan protesters who deposed the old Ukrainian prime minister were so pleased with events that they rewarded Saakashvili by appointing him leader of Ukraine’s largest region.
Former AP and Newsweek reporter Robert Parry summarizes what kind of guy Saakashvili is:
The latest political move by the … regime in Ukraine was to foist on the people of Odessa the autocratic Georgian ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili, a neoconservative favorite and currently a fugitive from his own country which is seeking him on charges of human rights violations and embezzlement.
***
According to a New York Times profile last September, Saakashvili was there “writing a memoir, delivering ‘very well-paid’ speeches, helping start up a Washington-based think tank and visiting old boosters like Senator John McCain and Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state.”
McCain and Nuland were key neocon backers of the coup that ousted Yanukovych and touched off the bloody civil war that has killed thousands of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine, while also reviving Cold War tensions between the West and Russia. Before the coup, McCain urged on right-wing protesters with promises of U.S. support and Nuland was overheard hand-picking Ukraine’s new leadership, saying “Yats is the guy,” a reference to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who became prime minister after the coup.
***
The Georgian prosecutors also have charged Saakashvili with human rights violations for his violent crackdown on political protesters in 2007.

Context: Sniper Attacks As False Flag Terror

Random shootings are a type of false flag terror.    For example, in 1985 – as part of the “Gladio” false flag terror campaign (see number 12) – snipers attacked and shot shoppers in supermarkets randomly in Belgium, killing twenty-eight and leaving many wounded.
Shooting both sides is an especially big red flag for a false flag …
Specifically, when authoritarian regimes want to break up protests, they might shoot protesters. On the other hand, when violent protesters shoot government employees, they might be trying to overthrow the government.
But when secretive snipers kill both protesters and the police, it is an indication of a “false flag” attack meant to sow chaos, anger, disgust and a lack of legitimacy.
This has happened many times over the years. For example:
  • Unknown snipers reportedly killed both Venezuelan government and opposition protesters in the attempted 2002 coup

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Palestinian Farmers to lose their land to settlement parks


These red-roofed square houses could be in any settlement in the Palestinian West Bank. Here they are in the illegal settlement of Avnei Hefetz, east of Tulkarem. The surrounding land is going to be used to build Israeli recreational facilities.
Ma’an news
November 14 /16, 2017
BETHLEHEM– Israeli authorities on Tuesday reportedly notified Palestinian farmers that they intend to expropriate plots of land near the village of Shofeh, southeast of Tulkarem in the northern occupied West Bank, in order to expand the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Avnei Hefetz.
The Wafa news agency, owned by the  Palestinian National Authority, reported that Israeli authorities informed the Palestinian liaison office that the state intends to use land in the village in order to open roads and build playgrounds and other recreational facilities for Avnei Hefetz.
The farmers were reportedly given 60 days to appeal the decision in Israeli courts.
According to Wafa, the farmers of Shofeh “expressed real concern over the decision” to “rip them off the land that is their only source of income.”
The farmers told Wafa that while they have the papers to prove their ownership of the land, “they do not expect the Israeli courts to be fair to them.”
Wafa added that the Israeli army seized lands from the village in March to build a power station and industrial area.
Since the occupation of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in 1967, between 500,000 and 600,000 Israelis have moved into Israeli settlements in occupied Palestinian territory, in violation of international law.
From March 19, 2014: a bulldozer next to a new housing construction site in the Israeli settlement of Har Homa in east Jerusalem. Photo by Ahmad Gharabli/AFP
The estimated 196 government recognized Israeli settlements scattered across the Palestinian territory are all considered illegal under international law.
Meanwhile, Israeli rights group B’Tselem reported that in 2016 Palestinians experienced the highest number of Israeli demolitions since the group began recording the incidents.

Meanwhile, Israeli rights group B’Tselem reported that in 2016 Palestinians experienced the highest number of Israeli demolitions since the group began recording the incidents.

At the same time, Peace Now reported that Israel’s illegal settlement construction in the West Bank increased by 34 percent in 2016, with Israeli authorities initiating construction on 1,814 new settler housing units.

Annexing Palestine settlement by settlement

Peace Now
November 15, 2017
The past few months have seen unprecedented developments in the settlements, causing severe damage to the chances of a two-state solution. Accelerated population growth, approvals of housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, promotion of bypass roads, advancements of Knesset bills, home demolitions and changes in legal interpretations – all lead to a situation of de-facto annexation of area C. Without any official declarations, the Israeli government is preventing the viability and contiguity of a future Palestinian state, while treating lands in area C as its own. The implications of the above-mentioned developments are far-reaching for Israel, the Palestinians and the region as a whole.
Peace Now’s new report summarizes key developments of the last several months and analyzes their impact, individually and together, on the viability of a Palestinian state alongside Israel and the possibility for a two state solution.
To read the full report click here

HEZBOLLAH – CAPABILITIES AND ROLE IN THE MIDDLE EAST (FULL DOCUMENTARY)

Hezbollah is a social and political movement with a strong armed wing. It was formed in 1980s. Hezbollah’s creation was conditioned by the aspiration of the Shia population of Lebanon to meet the challenges of Israeli expansion and Western “new-style” colonialism.
The Hezbollah (“Party of God”) movement was formed in 1982 in Lebanon by a segment of the Shia community displeased with the secular, in their view, nature of the Amal moderate Shia party. There were also disagreements concerning whether Israel should be confronted using new organizational forms and methods of warfare. According to its General Secretary Hasan Nasrallah, since its formation, Hezbollah was a purely intra-Lebanese creation, relying on the support and aid from the Palestinian and Lebanese parties, while the support from Iran and Syria came later.
Since the very beginning, Hezbollah’s activities have been based on three principles. First, Islam is declared an ideological, doctrinal, and practical basis for the organization’s functions. Secondly, its main aim is the struggle against Israeli occupation of Lebanon and Palestine and against Zionist domination. Third, it recognizes the Iranian Shia thesis concerning the necessity of Vilayat-e-Fakih. This Shia doctrine asserts that during the era of the 12thGreat Reappearance of Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi the leadership over the Shia is transferred to high-ranking Shia clerics.

Structure and Decision Making

Hezbollah, as an organization, has a structure based on certain ideological principles and exists within the framework of a state, that has no actual influence on the movement’s activities. The party is led by the Shura Council consisting of 7 members (six spiritual leaders—ulemas—and one secular leader). The members are elected by the Central Council (Al-Majlis al-Markazis), consisting of the 200 most authoritative members of the movement. Shura Council elections consist of three phases. The first is the candidate selection (usually 70-80), both clerics and secular individuals who satisfy the criteria set by the top leaders. Those who pass this stage have the right to participate in the second stage. In other words, they become candidates for the Shura Council. As a rule, 10-15 people make it to the second round. The final phase consists of the direct election of the 7 Shura Council members.
Council decisions are final and religiously binding for all party members. They are adopted either unanimously or by the majority of votes. If there is a deadlock or a split within Shura Council, issues are decided by the party leader, whose decisions are final and obligatory on all administrative institutions, and cannot be challenged. This is how the principle of Vilayat-e-Fakih is observed and splits within the ruling elite are averted.
The actual operations of the party are conducted by the administrative executive apparatus, known as Shura Tanfiz. It consists of five councils:
  1. Executive Council (oversight over political and organizational matters, including social, cultural, and educational activities);
  2. Politburo (addresses intra-movement matters);
  3. Parliamentary Council (concerns itself with Hezbollah activities in the Lebanese legislature);
  4. Judicial Council (issues religious resolutions and carries out arbitration on matters of disagreement, relying on Islamic law); and
  5. Jihad Council (directs the movement, including oversight, recruitment, training, equipment, security).
Each council is usually headed by a Shura Council member.
The movement General Secretary is Hasan Nasrallah, who is also the supreme commander of its armed formations. Leadership also includes his deputy, a spiritual leader who is also the supreme judge, some Lebanese legislators, the military formation commander for Southern Lebanon, and regional leaders of the organization. The Executive Council has various departments responsible for specific areas of activity: welfare, healthcare, information, press, finance, external communications, coordination.

Armed Formations and Their Peculiarities

Assessments of Hezbollah’s armed strength vary. Iran’s FARS news agency data from October 2016 put Hezbollah’s armed strength at no less than 65,000 troops, including reserves. Of them, 21,000 are professional soldiers with constant training. According to the 2017 Military Balance, currently 5-8 thousand Hezbollah troops are fighting in Syria.
Bekaa Valley: the commander’s responsibilities include control over arms shipments from Iran through Syria for the “Sheikh Abdallah” military camp that’s under joint command by the Hezbollah and the Syrian army. According to various sources, this region’s forces consist of at least 7 infantry battalions with 252 people each. Three of them are motorized.
South Beirut: according to various sources, this region includes at least two battalions of 252 troops, one of them motorized.
South Lebanon: after the Taif treaty of 1989, Hezbollah formations were reorganized and placed under a unified command. The current commander is responsible for Hezbollah military and Special Security formations and may also command Lebanese Army units in South Lebanon. This region includes at least 7 battalions of 252 troops each, five of them motorized.
Moreover, one should note the nontrivial fact of the existence of a full-scale, by Iranian, NATO, and Russian measures, tank regiment. In November 2016, near the city of al-Quiseir (Homs province, Syria), there was an inspection of Hezbollah equipment. The photos showed T-55, T-62, and some T-72 tanks, some 2S1 Gvozdika howitzers, BMP-1, and -2, M113 APCs with 14.5mm machine-guns, ZSU-57-2 SPAA. Most of this equipment apparently came from SAA arsenals and was obtained from the Lebanese Army and possibly Iran.
Of most interest are the hybrids assembled using Kvadrat (SA-6) SAM tracked chassis and Soviet-era KS-12 85mm and Ks-19 100mm AA guns. While their effectiveness against modern aircraft and drones is doubtful, they are useful as direct fire support against land targets. Other interesting weapons are the modern Kornet ATGMs mounted on quadricycles. These self-propelled ATGMs are able to effectively fight any modern tank, including Israeli.
By all appearances, this unit was formed to prosecute the war in Syria, where thousands of Hezbollah fighters are constantly on the front lines. The absence of direct fire support such as tanks and artillery undermines the success of operations. Therefore it’s logical to assume that Hezbollah decided to assemble an arsenal of its own armor and accompanying artillery to ensure battlefield success.
Being a fully-fledged political and military organization, Hezbollah understands that it is surrounded by enemies such as Israel and radical Sunni Islamists. Therefore having a tank regiment with experienced crews is of vital importance, as the unit represents a serious force by the standards of Lebanon and the adjacent countries. The prolonged civil war in Lebanon, the permanent stand-off with Israel, and now also the struggle against Sunni Islamists, in other words, the constant balancing on the edge between war and peace, makes the movement flexible in its command arrangements and able to quickly and appropriately react to emerging problems.
One can also draw the conclusion that the paramilitary wing of the Hezbollah, in spite of external attributes of a partisan movement, which it was 20-30 years ago, is gradually becoming a fully-fledged army with a training establishment, a command structure, and a logistical segment.

Cadre Selection and Training

The preparation of a future fighter starts at a very young age. Kids aged 6 are involved in discussions and as they grow, they receive more advanced political and religious preparation. A sample training regimen includes: Studying Koran, A day at the mosque, I love my country, How to run a household, Summer camp, I submit to my leader. Younger kids’ uniform, as a rule, includes blue shirts with epaulettes, white scarves, and pins with the image of Khomeini.
Older boys spend several weeks during the summer in camps in the south and in Bekaa Valley, where they train and acquire survival skills while obtaining more in-depth religious preparation and studying their native language and culture.
Then they transfer to the Imam al-Mahdi Scouts. One of the scouts’ missions is helping the poor. According to the Scouts head, if kids who lost their father or their brothers were left to their fate, they would withdraw inwardly and develop psychological problems such as aggression.
At the age of 17, those who excelled at the Scouts become members of Taabia, or the reserves.
At the same time, education does not seek to promote absolute hatred toward Israel, despite what Western journalists love to depict. The education system is first and foremost based on developing a national and religious identity, the context in which the Shia community of Lebanon exists.
In an interview provided by a Hezbollah fighter, it was noted that those who choose political independence become social pariahs. Such people can’t even visit their villages, given that the family and the society hate them.
Cadre troops are focused on combat training, and each receives a specialty such as an ATGM gunner, a sniper, or demolitions. Regular Hezbollah fighters undergo training in specialized camps in Lebanon, Syria, and Iran (under IRGC officer leadership). They conduct training for the rank and file and select outstanding individuals for special units. Some of them become commanders, others are selected for the Special Security Apparatus.
Taabia reservists are engaged in protecting villages and are selected from the Scouts. Cadre fighters and reservists undergo service in one of the districts: Israel-Lebanon border and the Litania river area—Nasr Brigade, north of Litania—Badr Brigade, Bekaa Valley—Haidar Brigade.
Each Hezbollah brigade in south Lebanon has a sector in northern Israel that it is supposed to occupy. Combat and special training in each brigade take into account local geography. One should also note that border terrain is fortified: there is a large-scale network of tunnels, bunkers, minefields. Using the tunnels, Hezbollah can concentrate large number of troops on the needed attack sector without being spotted and attacked from the air
Due to fighting in Syria, Hezbollah opted to conduct training courses with reservists lasting 60-90 days. Commanders are also sent to the battle zone to obtain experience. Intensive operations and unavoidable losses have forced commanders and troops to remain in the war zone (murabata) for longer than their rotation periods. For the reservists, it was 15 days a year. Before the Syrian war, the border with Israel was considered such a zone. Currently, the rotation period in the Syrian war zone is 20 days and may be increased if the situation demands it. This is considered optimum, as it allows for having trained and rested troops available in case of any escalation on Israel border, and in Syria.
Here’s an example of a news report regarding deployment of Hezbollah units from May 20, 2017. The Radwan special unit and others were fully withdrawn from Syria and replaced by the Badr Brigade which is stationed in the eastern and northern part of the Aleppo province. Aziz Brigade was withdrawn from the outskirts of Palmyra and al-Qaem Brigade temporarily replaced it there.
Moreover, the Radwan unit was brought to an elevated alert level and sent to south Lebanon (Litania river and Shebaa farms on Israel border). Al-Jalil Brigade, intended for operations in Galilee in case of war with Israel, remained on its permanent positions in south Lebanon. Nasr Brigade, which is directly under Hasan Nasrallah, remained in reserve.
The Radwan unit was named after the head of Special Security department Imad Mugniyeh (pseudonym al-Hadja Radwan) who was killed in 2008. The unit has much experience in raids and is the most prepared for urban warfare, which makes it irreplaceable in Syria. If there is a new war between Hezbollah and Syria, it will be in the first line of attack.

Military Doctrine. Specifics of Fighting in Syria

Hezbollah leadership reviewed its concept of operations after the start of the Syria war. Before the war, the emphasis was placed on defensive ops in built-up areas with small units to inflict maximum troop and equipment losses on the IDF while simultaneously shelling Israel using large numbers of short- and medium-range rockets.
In Syria, Hezbollah realized that it had to wage offensive ops in cities. Therefore it reconsidered its training system, increased its rocket arsenal, and provided more heavy weapons and recon systems.
The first operation where Hezbollah took offensive using large units was the battle for el-Quseyr in April-June 2013. Some 1200-1700 best-trained Hezbollah troops took part in the battle. They were divided into 17 detachments, with later division into teams of 3-5 troops. Prior to the attack, the command performed recon of the city and its approaches, then divided the city into 16 sectors, one for each detachment. Each region had its codename. During the battle, this allowed for command of forces using open channels of communication without the enemy being able to take any countermeasures. Hezbollah command undertook the direction of SAA tank and artillery units near the city. Considering that the city was in the Islamist hands for over a year and was well-fortified, the ratio of losses was nevertheless 5:1 in favor of Hezbollah. The battle showed that with proper organization, a fortified city can be effectively attacked by a small force.
As far as the military direction of Hezbollah units in Syria by Iran is concerned, it seems probable that Iran directs Hezbollah units down to battalion level (sometimes down to company) using IRGC specialists from the al-Quds Force. It can’t be ruled out that IRGC specialists coordinate Hezbollah and local self-defense forces like the Kataib Hezbollah and Asaib Ahl al-Haq. Units smaller than a battalion don’t warrant the provision of specialists. There is a need for a large number of trained cadres able to command and provide assistance. One of the factors influencing cooperation in this instance is the language barrier—Arabic in Lebanon, versus Farsi in Iran.
Hezbollah became one of the factors which allowed to turn around the war in Syria, since its troops were able to fight in cities. The SAA, in 2011-12 was organized along 1970-80 lines to fight combined arms battles mainly against Israel. New realities have shown that this army was unable to fight as small units in the cities. Moreover, the SAA has not fought for a long time. Its last significant operations took place in 1982. Therefore it had no commanders with urban warfare experience. Hezbollah, on the other hand, has constantly fought Israel since the moment of its creation. Generations of commanders have honed their skills in the years of clashes and battles with the IDF, causing it serious losses during the 2006 war. Israel was forced to retreat from south Lebanon, and Hezbollah’s reputation has risen to unprecedented heights.
Israel’s military command is worried about Hezbollah’s operations in Syria, since its paramilitary wing will now be able to wage offensive ops using heavy weapons and a huge number of short-, medium-, and long-range rockets.
The fact that Hezbollah has become akin to a regular army is confirmed by IDF’s rethinking of its approach to the fight against it. First, IDF is preparing for fighting big formations, up to a brigade, whose task will be invading Israel and capturing villages or military bases. Second, it is paying special attention to combating tunnels, including technical and psychological preparation of its troops to fight in tunnels.

Rocket Arsenal

The movement’s distinguishing characteristic is the enormous rocket arsenal which, by various estimates, contains between 50 thousand and 120 thousand weapons. And not merely an arsenal, but a whole system, from rocket part and fuel factories to storage facilities and camouflaged launch sites.
The existing land-based arsenal includes various short-range ballistic missiles, surface-to-surface missiles and multiple rocket launchers.
The existing land-based arsenal is reflected by the following table:
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* –depending on the specific variant.
MRL – multiple rocket launcher
SSM – surface-to-surface missile
SRBM – short-range ballistic missile
Most of the weapons come from Iran and Syria. The possession of Scud-Ds is doubted, including doubts of the Western media. This system requires qualified personnel and specialized equipment, since the rocket uses liquid fuel.
To assess Hezbollah’s effectiveness, let’s look at the shelling of Israel in 2005. At the start, according to Nasrallah, there were over 12 thousand rockets. Official Israeli police reports noted 3770 rocket strikes on the country, including 901 strikes in the cities. Thanks to civil defense, only 44 were killed and 1384 were wounded. One is also tempted to note that Hezbollah mostly used rockets with ranges under 100km and small warheads, as no SRBM strikes were noted. This was due the small number of SRBMs and Israeli effort to destroy them, which was partly successful. Hits by 600-980kg SRBM warheads would have had catastrophic consequences on cities. The presence of SSMs proved a surprise for Israel. On July 14, 2006, Israeli corvette Hanit was hit by a Chinese-made C-802 SSM launched from the short. The ship’s air defense was turned off since nobody expected an SSM attack. 4 sailors were killed and the corvette was incapacitated for 3 weeks. The 165kg warhead most likely failed to explode, otherwise, the corvette would have sunk.
Having a large rocket arsenal made in Iran, PRC, and Syria, raises the question of whether Hezbollah has its own factories of rockets. If it does, they manufacture certain numbers. It’s been a long time since the last war with Israel. Launching a rocket after lengthy storage could be dangerous to its launch crew. It would seem that the war in Syria is being used to use up old Russian and Chinese rockets of which it has large numbers. The situation is more complex with SRBMs. They are very expensive to make. It would make no sense to establish their production on territory which at any moment could be bombed by Israel. With proper servicing, such rockets can be stored for up to decades. It’s likely that some assistance here is provided by Iranian civil and military specialists.
Building a rocket plant on the territory of another country is a whole different matter. In August 2017, Israeli media reported that Iranians are building a ballistic missile plant in north-west Syria. It is built near the coastal city of Banias, tens of kilometers from Tartus where the Russian base is located, and south of Hmeimim where Russian aircraft are based, protected by S-300 and S-400. Therefore the factory can be protected against Israeli strikes. According to experts, the plant will produce Fateh-110 rockets for the SAA and, possibly, Hezbollah.
The rocket arsenal has been modernized and expanded. At the start of the next war, Hezbollah will be able to launch 1500 rockets a day, instead of 200 in 2006, covering the whole territory of Israel and not only the border regions. There are reports that Hezbollah has Russian Yakhont SSMs obtained from Syria, instead of the unreliable C-802.
Therefore Hezbollah rocket arsenal is not a network of warehouses full of artisanal rockets, dangerous to own crews. It’s a whole range of industrially produced weapons capable of destroying land and naval targets at various ranges.
All of the above does not mean Hezbollah seeks war with Israel, whose leadership should be aware that if there is another war in south Lebanon, Israel’s civilians will face unprecedented threats.

Intelligence and Counter-Intelligence

Hezbollah’s Special Security department is responsible for both intel and counter-intel, and implements several missions, one of the most important being professionally carried out operations abroad at the behest of Shura Council. Imad Fayez Mughniyeh was a head of Special Security department until 2008 when he died in a car bomb blast in Kafr Sousa neighborhood of the Syrian capital, Damascus.
Responsibilities of the department’s head in Shura include overseeing the following departments:
  1. National preventive security apparatus, which provides personal security to high-level spiritual leaders.
  2. Internal security and intelligence apparatus, which tracks political and religious reliability of the Hezbollah members.
  3. National central security apparatus, which observes, tracks, infiltrates, and if necessary eliminates military or political individuals or groups seeking to interfere with Hezbollah in Lebanon.
  4. Foreign combat cells and intel apparatus. This department partly overlaps with the central security council, depending on types of requests received by cell leaders.
Imad Mugniyeh is the individual who made this department one of the most powerful secret services in the world. He was born in 1962 in the Tayr Debba village in south Lebanon. He started his career in the mid-1970s in the FATH organization. In 1977-82 he was a member of its intelligence and special units (Force 17, Unified Security Directorate, etc.). After an advanced course under IRGC instructors at the Imam Ali base in Bekaa province, he headed the personal security team for prominent Shia cleric Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah.
Before 2005, Hezbollah was to a large extent integrated into Lebanese intel services, including Amn al-Amn Main Directorate for Common Security which expanded its ability to carry out intelligence and counter-intelligence ops. After Hezbollah was accused of being complicit in the death of former Lebanese PM, Rafik Hariri in February 2005, Hezbollah members were forced to leave Lebanese secret services, which affects the movement’s intel work.
The Special Security department studies Iranian and Israeli experience. According to Israeli intel members, Hezbollah has a large agent network in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and AMAN military intelligence. This opinion is supported by the presence of limited access Israeli MOD maps, manuals, and documents on captured Hezbollah members.
The movement’s intel successes are largely based on exploiting familial and criminal ties between Israeli and Lebanese Arabs, and the well-oiled cooperation between Hezbollah intel and Palestinian Authority armed formations. Moreover, Hezbollah intelligence often uses interrogations of captured officers and soldiers, and data obtained through recruitment of senior Israeli officers. For example, Hezbollah was able to recruit IDF Lt. Col. Omar el-Haiba, a Bedouin. This officer occupied a high post in the Western district HQ. He was one of the most capable Bedouin officers in the IDF. After a serious wound, he was disabled but nevertheless returned to the IDF and earned awards for his agitation among the Bedouins. This officer was arrested on suspicion of giving Hezbollah secret information on IDF forces on Lebanon border and the schedule of patrols. On June 18, 2006 a court martial sentenced him to 15 years in prison for espionage, contact with enemy agents, and drug trade.
Due to the secrecy regime in Special Security Apparatus, little is known about foreign terrorist and intel cells. As a rule, they become known only after major events. Hezbollah selects people for special ops from among its own special units. These people are believed to be well trained and prepared to die for the sake of the mission. Some of them are from Arab and Islamic organizations that have ceased to exist. All of Hezbollah’s special ops are handled by Special Security apparatus, with support from Iranian and Syrian intel and special ops forces, and from the IRGC.
Members of the overseas cells are thoroughly trained. They have knowledge and information about the country where they work. They speak the language of the country. This attracts less attention from civil and military authorities.
Infiltration unit equipment in includes Israeli or other military uniforms, depending on the mission. Units infiltrating Israel speak Hebrew, use Israeli weapons and equipment as camouflage, and are familiar with all types of weapons used in the region. Members of special infiltration units and members of the suicide units differ, among other things, by their uniforms. For example, Jihad Detachments wear green or black clothing, carry Semtex, C-4, or C-9 charges, and usually wear masks on operations.
The following Jihad Detachments are known:
  1. Islambula Brigade: assassination of political activists.
  2. Al-Quds Brigade: two units of suicide bombers consisting of 56 each, the Fathi Shkaki Company and the Ihye Ayasha Company.
On Imad Mugniye’s initiative, in the early ‘90s a special unit of Hebrew-speaking Lebanese Palestinians was formed. It had the task of eavesdropping on IDF army frequencies. Later, SSA sought to improve their language and professional skills at the Center of Islamic Science and Culture and its branches in Iran, Cyria, and Lebanon.
One should note that the Hezbollah units and controlled territories are targets of Israeli human intelligence efforts. Israeli Border Police (MAGAV) includes the YAMAS unit which camouflages its members to look like Arabs. During the 2006 war, Hezbollah counterintelligence located and destroyed an Israeli agent network in south Lebanon and Beirut. The network conducted espionage in Hezbollah HQ and transmitted this data to the IDF. Agents from among local population set up equipment to monitor Hezbollah military installations and used GPS devices to guide munitions, spread glow-in-the-dark powder around buildings and command centers, rocket warehouses and launch sites. Still, IDF and Israeli intel was not able to kill or capture a single senior Hezbollah official or destroy the command system, since the shelling of Israel continued no matter what.

The Media: Agitation and Propaganda

Hezbollah places particular importance on the media. It owns a satellite TV channel (al-Manar), four radio stations, and five newspapers. Without any doubt, Hezbollah’s image was to a large extent formed by al-Manar, which has been broadcasting since June 1991, and has gone satellite in 2000. It has become Hezbollah’s face to the world. The channel is unique, before its existence Arab media consisted of newspapers and radio stations. Experts believe its audience is second only to al-Jazeera. Al-Manar became the official channel of the movement, demonstrating accomplishments, particularly in the realm of fighting Israel. Its broadcasts consist mainly of news and political programs, broadcasts dedicated to the memory of martyrs, informational and entertainment shows. It is also unique in that it broadcasts in Hebrew for the Israeli population. While Western media depict the al-Manar as propaganda for a terror group, the channel does not broadcast any information on making bombs, executions of Israeli soldiers, blowing up of checkpoints, and other forms of cruelty.
Hezbollah radio stations al-Nour and al-Iman broadcast from southern Beirut. Al-Islam broadcasts in south Lebanon, and Sawt al-Mustad’afin broadcasts in the area of Bekaa river valley. There are also newspapers: Al-Bilad, al-Ahd, al-Muntalaq, al-Sabil, and Baquitou Allah.
The movement has a website, www.moqawama.org. Its content includes the most important news from Lebanon and the world, video addresses by movement leader, respecting the memory of martyrs, opinion polls, and memorable dates in the movement’s history. Agitation video broadcast by TV and web channels are of high artistic and directorial quality and take into consideration the preference of the audience and Arab mentality not only in Lebanon but the world.

Social Work

Even though the Hezbollah is known in Western media as a terror organization, it defies that label by the multifaceted aspect of its activities. Apart from fighting in Syria and against Israel, it is part of Lebanon’s legislature, provides education and medical services to the Lebanese. In 2000-2010 Hezbollah spent several billion dollars on humanitarian efforts in Lebanon. The organization builds kindergartens and schools, hospitals and clinics, and even supermarkets. Its fighters and their family members can take advantage of many services with major discounts. Education in Hezbollah-built schools is cheaper than in public schools. The poor obtain stipends. Of course, the education focuses on the Arabic language, Islam, and Shia traditions. But English language and physical sciences are also taught. These schools provide a very high level of instruction by ME standards.
The media also focus on those who fell for the freedom and independence of Lebanon. As a sign of respect for the martyrs, which is how Shia community views them, the funerals are attended by senior officials. They also participate in any funerals of people who perished in battle or in other circumstances. This is apparently due to Hasan Nasrallah’s having suffered a personal loss. His eldest son Hadi became a martyr during fighting in south Lebanon.
If the killed fighter had children, they are taken under care, receive education or jobs. In spite of financial problems, providing money for cadre soldiers and for the families of the dead is the top priority.
Mu’assasat Jihad al-Bina’ or the Fund for Sacred Struggle was founded by the Hezbollah in 1988. It quickly became one of the most visible NGOs in Lebanon. Although it is autonomous, its activities fall under the purview of the social services department of the movement. Its main aim is to “lessen the burdens faced by the poor families by relying on God’s aid in fulfilling their moral and Islamic obligations.” The Fund operates in southern districts of Beirut, Bekaa Valley, and south Lebanon. The fund provides more than half of population of those regions with water, helps farmers with procuring livestock, fertilizers, fuel. It carries out electrification of the most backward villages.
Mu’assasat al-Shahid, or the Martyrs’ Fund, supports the children of killed or captured fighters and civilians. It provides housing, jobs, and support for widows and runs a job placement office for the youth.
Lujnat Imdad al-Khomeini, or the Khomeini Support Committee, was formed right after Israeli aggression of 1982. It helps poor families, particularly those which suffered from Israeli occupation. The aid includes monthly benefits, food parcels, basic necessities, clothing, health services, and education. The committee provides medical assistance, including through medications, diagnoses, surgeries, and rehabilitation, to tens of thousands of patients a year. The financial and technical incapacity of the Lebanese government, particularly the Ministry of Health, forced the movement to take under the control of the Islamic Health Unit the hospitals of south Lebanon.
Hezbollah education department is headed by an office titled al-Ta‘bia’ al-Tarbawiyya, or the Education Directorate. It provides financial aid to needy Hezbollah members. Its expenditures are extremely important to the movement, because public schools suffer from lack of funds for construction and education technology.
The education department also provides needy students higher education in applied sciences, and religious studies in various institutions such as Technical Institute of the Great Prophet, the Technical Institutes of Sayyid Abbas al-Musawi, the Institute of Sayydat al-Zahra’, the Institute of Shaykh Raghib Harb, and the Islamic Shari’ah Institute.
Other types of aid include paying for textbooks and school materials, and part of the tuition in public and private schools.

Economic and Financial Activities

A variety of sources of funding—donations, business, and Iran’s support—ensure the party’s independence and economic stability. Its assets are held in the Saderat Bank of Iran or in other banks in accounts of front individuals, to prevent the US and the West from freezing its assets. The party is a huge corporation whose assets belong to the whole party, not just specific individuals.
The main sources of funding are:
  • Direct subsidies from Iran, no more than $100 million per year, though $200 million before the fall of oil prices.
  • Contributions by Shia community in and outside of Lebanon
  • Profits from economic and banking activity.
Income from smuggling, illegal sale of weapons and drugs, are not taken into consideration in this context
According to Pew Research Center and the World Factbook (CIA), Shia Muslims represent a high percentage in about 25 countries.
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Total: approx. 200 million worldwide.
One should keep in mind that Pew data have often been criticized by Western experts and Shia diasporas for underestimating Shia numbers.
According to World Labor Organization, average salaries in these countries in 2016 were:
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The Islamic concept of Zakat states that when it comes to deeds performed in God’s name, including supporting warriors waging jihad, the poor, or people propagating Islam, the average worker should contribute 2.5% of theirsalary.
Considering the multi-child families which are the rule in Muslim countries (one does not consider non-working wives and children), zakat may be paid by up to 10% of the community.
In this case, contributions by country look as follows:
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Thus, the Shia diaspora may contribute no more than 1/5, or 120 million USD, for financing Hezbollah.
This calculation does not include income tax, since each country has a different tax law. One should also keep in mind that not all Shia in the West and Persian Gulf are supportive of Hezbollah’s military aid to Syria. For example, NGO surveys of Shia in the Persian Gulf states in the second half of 2013 suggests that the percentage of supporters fell to 30-50%. This is apparently due to the Hezbollah being given an image of the aggressor by the media of these countries, which can’t help but influence financing. After IS was proclaimed in 2014, India’s Shia issued a statement proclaiming readiness to send 30,000 volunteers to Iraq to fight radical Islam. There is no information concerning the Shia of India or neighboring countries providing aid for Syria.
More than 100,000 Lebanese have permanent residence in African countries, including 60,000 in Cote d’Ivoire, 25,000 each in Senegal and Sierra Leone, 16,000 in Nigeria, 6,000 in DRC, 5,000 each in Gabon and Cameroun. The majority of Lebanese in Africa are not Christians but Shia. They have concentrated control of much profitable business, which allows them not only live well but support their historical motherland. In 2008 alone, money transfers from African Lebanese exceeded $1 billion. It is difficult to assess Lebanese Shia affluence in Africa due to the never-ending financial crisis. Since it is Hezbollah that runs active social programs in Lebanon, one can assume the majority of remittances ends up on the organization’s accounts.
Overall, the movement collects no more than $500 million a year. It’s not much, considering it is waging a war in Syria and is financing the social sector of the whole country.

Why Hezbollah became a Middle East powerhouse and its transition to a quasi-state

After the IDF withdrawal from most of Lebanon in 1985, Hezbollah with active support from the IRGC began to create its own weapons arsenals, and the January 1989 Damascus-Tehran agreement allowed Hezbollah to restore its military infrastructure and resume operations in south Lebanon. Thus by 1991 Hezbollah became the leading Lebanese resistance force, operating in the country’s south against the IDF.
Starting in early ‘90s, Hezbollah began a transition away from being a purely paramilitary formation. In the summer of ’92, Iran’s leaders recommended Hezbollah transform itself from an openly extremist organization into an active Lebanese political force. Hezbollah reached an internal compromise between the “moderates” and “radicals”, established a ceasefire with Amal, and began active preparation for parliamentary elections. Hezbollah today acts as the leading political force in Lebanon and as a major Shia social and humanitarian organization (Lebanon has an estimated 2.5 million Shia out of 6.2 million total population). IDF withdraw from south Lebanon in 2006 was a huge victory in the eyes of the Arab world. Hezbollah has truly become a significant regional factor. Growing its influence in Lebanon and Syria and the region with Iran’s help, Hezbollah has become a base for recruitment, training, and preparation of volunteers for battling Israel and radical Sunni organizations. Hezbollah units often fight like regular army nits.
One of the reasons for the rise of Hezbollah’s regional influence is the strategic coordination between the Lebanese and Iraqi Shia, and also Syrian Alawites due to the continuous war in the Middle East. It’s important to note that the organization has proved its worth even in the darkest hours of Lebanon’s history, such as the many years of almost uninterrupted slaughter, but also during the perennial clashes with its external adversaries, even dangerous ones like Israel.
Opinions of Iran’s influence vary. Some experts claim Iran’s aid is so important that it fully affects all aspects of Hezbollah’s decision making process. Naturally, Iran’s authority as the leader of the Shia around the world is near-absolute. It also provides Hezbollah with tremendous military aid. Moreover, the movement has suffered losses in Syria, it’s most professional and best trained fighters have perished there, which weakens the organization. Therefore Hezbollah leaders have to show more flexibility and care in its dealings with Iran if differences of opinion arise.
The most likely explanation is that Hezbollah maintains considerable independence due to its exceptional political standing in the country, and of its nature as a strike force against Israel and Syria’s Sunni. Since the start of conflicts in Syria in 2011, Nasrallah tried to maintain neutrality. Hezbollah became involved only in 2013 when the situation grew out of control and there was a danger of combat spreading to Lebanon. Nasrallah stated in one of his announcements that” Iran should be viewed as the center of strategic influence in the region, as the model of a sovereign state which supports nations in their search for independence and as a force which helps countries and nations of the Middle East become stronger. Syria and Iran can’t force Hezbollah to act against its own plans. They can only argue with us and try to convince us.”
Since its independence, Lebanese government paid little attention to the problems of the southern parts of the country. Therefore Hezbollah has assumed the role of helping the poor and developing infrastructure not for self-promotion, but because it was an objective necessity. Practically since birth, a Lebanese Shia is under Hezbollah’s care. Kindergartens, clinics, schools, and institutions—all of that has been built and is financed by the movement. So it’s no surprise that the movement is hugely popular and service within its ranks is considered honorable.
One should especially note that today Hezbollah is more than a movement. Even though it has not declared sovereignty over part of the country, it has every attribute of a state. It has legislative, executive, judicial authority, institutions for the collection and distribution of taxes, its own education system, a military, intelligence and counter-intelligence, media—all of that exists and functions within the movement’s framework. Moreover, it has control over its subjects, the totality of information about them and, most importantly, it relies on their good will to work with the movement in some form. The concept of citizenship is not after all defined by a passport but by the individual’s willingness to associate to a state or a movement and be loyal to it.
Here’s what is written about it by one of Hezbollah’s ideologues and the deputy general secretary, sheikh Naim Kassem: “From the theoretical point of view, we are calling for an Islamic state, we are drawing others into that process, since only an Islamic state may facilitate the maximum of human happiness. But on the practical level this question depends on the free human choice, in addition to the Quran Ayat 2.257: There is no compulsion in religion. The correct way is quite separate from the false one. Whoever does not believe in idol worship but believes in God, has found a reliable foundation which cannot be crumbled. Verily, God is all-hearing and all-knowing.”
The victory of radical Sunni groups in Syria would mean the possibility of merciless annihilation of all other religious groups, following the Iraq scenario. After the US invasion of Iraq triggered a civil war and later the appearance of ISIS, which proved unspeakably cruel toward all other beliefs, it sent the message that in these conditions of ethnic and religious warfare, only paramilitary organizations like the Hezbollah can ensure their own survival.

Conclusion

Hezbollah’s popularity among Lebanese Shia is based on several factors: its military campaign against Israel, its wholly Lebanese nature, its role as a defender of the historically repressed Shia community, its religious nature and its wide range of social services.
Hezbollah has done more for the Shia community in Lebanon than the official government. Since the very start of its involvement in the war in Syria, the movement leaders that its fighters are defending Lebanon, Lebanese Shia, and Shia holy sites from the spread of extremist Sunni Islam, represented first and foremost by Jabhat al-Nusra and IS. According to Nasrallah, this was not a war of choice but of necessity.
Lebanese NGOs which carried out a survey in 2015 noted that 57% of respondents view the threat of radical Islam to Lebanon as real, and 80% view Hezbollah as making the life in Lebanon calmer. Lebanon today, just as the Middle East as a whole, is experiencing renewed inter-religious and inter-communal slaughter.  People living in unstable and unpredictable countries are trying to find protection and support among their own national or religious community. Therefore it is no surprise that Hezbollah enjoys such unconditional support among the Shia of Lebanon and Syria, even if they don’t fully support the movement’s aims and mission.