Response to “Hezbollah media source” And Sayyed Nasrallah’s denial​ 1/2

By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

Al Rai newspaper published an article this Sunday entitled: “Hezbollah leader: The possibility of a war with Israel is very high this summer and I may no longer be with you”. The article went viral in Lebanon and the Middle East with some denying, contesting, others agreeing and surprised. But the biggest surprise of all came from a “media source within Hezbollah” insulting the newspaper and the writer, breaking the rules of conduct and journalistic professionalism that Hezbollah itself has introduced for information related to the organisation.

This media source within Hezbollah is no one but Mohammad Afif, spokesman for Hezbollah. He called Al Rai a “yellow newspaper” and claimed that the article “comes from the imagination and the invention of the writer himself”.

First of all, the Secretary General of Hezbollah has written an Op-Ed on the front page of Al Rai and given three private interviews, of which the most recent one took place afterthe tight security procedures imposed in 2006 on Sayyed Nasrallah and his first line of command. Hezbollah’s leader published his views in what Afif is calling a “yellow newspaper”.

Mohamad Afif should have limited himself – unjustified and emotional response – to an official statement officially denying the (true) content of the article, or have left any comment to Hezbollah’s leader who was giving a speech the next day. 

As far as the content goes, the article did not include all of what Sayyed Nasrallah said. It left out important parts related to plans the Secretary General of Hezbollah revealed to the gathering of commanders and his messages and threats to Israel. Sayyed Nasrallah also spoke about how Hezbollah will react in case of war and what consequences Lebanon could suffer from in the case of escalation. Lebanese high-ranking officials are aware of how tense the situation will be if Israel decides to hit specific targets or even indiscriminate targets. The content of the article doesn’t come from “the writer’s imagination” but from robust information from persons who were present at the meeting.

When the article went viral, it didn’t surprise. informed people like Abdel Bari Atwan, the respected journalist, who wrote about the same topic several weeks ago after meeting a high ranking Hezbollah official. Atwan said that this official had met with Sayyed Nasrallah among others for five hours and was told war is highly probable.

As far as the “media source” goes, it is the Leader of Hezbollah himself who said “there are no informed sources within Hezbollah”. “Either the official media responds to any news or there will be no response”, Sayyed Hassan has repeatedly said. Notwithstanding Sayyed Nasrallah’s recommendation, the official spokesman decided to violate the organisation’s own rules and ignore the basic principle:“Call upon the rule they have committed themselves to”.[قاعد إلزام المخالفين بما ألزموا به أنفسهم]

Hezbollah’s spokesperson may need to remember the famous Arabic poetAbu al-Tay’yeb al-Mutanab’bi al-Kindi al-Koufi who said, mutatis mutandis: “if my defamation comes to you from an nincompoop it is a confirmation that I am accurate” [وإذا أتتك مذمتي من ناقص فهي الشهادة لي بأني كامل].

What most unsettled Hezbollah’s society and supporters in that last article – that local media rushed to criticise, reporting the unprofessional comments rather than the official statement of its spokesperson – is the prospect that “Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah might no longer be among them” (i.e. possibly assassinated by Israel) in case of war.

I remember when I was in Tehran in the late 80s covering the Iran-Iraq war. I was visiting one of the top officials at the Foreign Ministry when the Foreign Minister was Ali Akbar Velayati. This official – whose office was adjacent to that of the Foreign Minister — told me: “Imam Khomeini will not die until he delivers himself the flag to the Imam Mahdi”. It was impossible to discuss the topic rationally with him.

Last night, I talked to my sources within the same entourage who were present at the meeting about the reason why the article found a mixed reaction. I was told, “Many people who read the content approve every single word because Sayyed (Hassan) said it and the information was available before reading the article”. Others found the content logical and understand the critical situation we are in. But many were also shocked by the possibility that the Sayyed will no longer be with them, even if he himself has said so on many occasions in his speeches. It is a fact that all leaders and commanders, including Sayyed Nasrallah, are exposed to death and to possible assassination attempts by Israel.”

When Imad Mughnniyeh was assassinated in 2008, it was a major blow to Hezbollah but it didn’t come as a surprise. Those close to him understood that Imad had enjoyed an extra 25 years, the amount of time he was under the microscope of Arab, Israeli and western intelligence services. When death reached him, the sudden loss was a shock to many but not unexpected. Hezbollah continued and grew stronger since.

In the series of books of Bihar al-Anwar (page 590/para 30), a theologian of reference, Sayyed Mohammad Baqr al-Majlisi, wrote: “It was narrated by Ibn Abi al-Hadid that when the Messenger of Allah Mohammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) died, Abu Bakr came, revealed Mohammad’s face and said: Mohammad has died. Whoever worshipped Mohammad, then, let him know. Mohammad has died. Whoever worshipped God, Allah is alive, he does not die”.


Sayyed Nasrallah said the report was false and inaccurate: why?

Proof-read by:  Maurice Brasher & C.G.B

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