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”.

Tomorrow:

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

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

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

  1. Throwing the first stone? Predictable, ever since the times of Prophet Isa, someone always does. Impressive how emotions turn people into a wolf pack, when facing situations way out of their groking capacity. What happens between Hezbollah and Mr. Magnier is for them to solve and clarify, in time, and most aspects of the clarification cannot and will not be made know to the public at large, for obvious reasons, only their, we hope, positive consequences.

    An attempt is being made to smear someone who, right or wrong, by way of an enormous human effort, has been at the forefront of making knowledge of cardinal, historical events in the ME, available to the world at large for more than three decades now, from as objective a perspective as constraining circumstances allow. From a purely professional journalistic ethics and while the imbroglio gets clarified, Mr. Magnier cannot but stand by his sources, not for his own deniability, irrelevant to the circumstances, but given the high confidentiality of the information and the consequences of making them public, neither the sources nor the top secret info can be taken lightly. Otherwise he’d be disrespectful and ingrate to his sources, most probably the result of years or decades of contacts, by dismissing their word at the first signs of changing winds.

    On another note, even fierce and beautiful “Axis” tigress Marwa Osman called Mr Magnier yesterday “part of the same ‘Axis’”* which means, if we follow her statement to the letter, this is a kerfuffle between people who are, generally speaking, on the same side.

    There are some obvious aspects of this little drama worth to make evident.

    Ever heard the first casualty of war is truth? Well, I can assure you, is true.

    Ever heard of Mossad’s motto, “By way of deception thou shalt do war?” Though not original from Mossad (they are just copy-cats in most of what they do), the concept of “deception” to wage war is as ancient as Sun Tzu, who said,

    “…18. All warfare is based on deception.

    19. Hence, when able to attack, seem as if unable to attack; when using forces actively, seem inactive; when nearby, make the enemy believe you are far away; when far away, make the enemy believe you are nearby.

    20. Hold out baits to entice the enemy to act. Feign disorder, and strike him when he seeks to take advantage.

    21. If your enemy is secure at all points, prepare for his attack. If he has superior strength, evade him.

    22. If your enemy bares a short temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, so he becomes arrogant.

    23. If your enemy takes his ease, give him no rest. If his forces unite, separate them.

    24. Attack your enemy where he is unprepared, appear where he does not expect you.

    25. These military deceptions that bring victory must not be revealed as deceptions before they succeed.

    26. Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations in his headquarters before he fights a battle. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand. Thus do many calculations lead to victory and few calculations to defeat. What need be said of no calculation at all? It is by observing the points of these calculations that I can foresee who is likely to win or lose in battle…”

    Sun Tzu, The Art of War

    Chapter 1, “Laying Plans,”

    Lionel Giles translation, 1910.

    Whether Hezbollah used Mr. Magnier to send a message, then retracted the message for tactical/strategic considerations, while disavowing Mr. Magnier sources, we will never know. Whether there was a premeditated plan to do that, or the decision came late after the leak had been approved, we will never know. Whether Mr. Magnier sources went beyond their limits, that’s for Hezbollah to decide, and we will never know either. The issue is, no one knows nothing about what possibly happened, besides those directly involved, and what has transpired publicly is the tip of the iceberg, most of it cannot be told. For most people on this planet, this issue is way over our heads, and only a few know the truth and can disentangle the mess. Or not.

    Patience.

    Regardless, we had a “surge” on judges who put Mr. Magnier on trial, proving beyond any doubt he is a liar, a careerist, a traitor, a CIA agent, a Mossad agent, a NATO mouthpiece, a GCC stooge, a slanderer, and with his responses, just making a “preposterous” and “sad” attempt at staying “relevant,” he’s finished as a “serious” and “reliable” source, last “preposterous” line courtesy of jurist expert Sayed Hasan below, who knows the “true” story “inside out,” and has all the “evidence” available.

    It is a war, ain’t it? No one is dying as of yet, nevertheless, it is a state of war, at least in some relevant IQs.

    And “all warfare is based on deception.” And “these military deceptions that bring victory must not be revealed as deceptions before they succeed.”

    Get the drift?

    No journalist worth that name will even think to publish such an “incendiary” piece of news without complete approval from his sources, whatever their intentions were. And Mr. Magnier knows the minefields of the ME too well, to fall into a “Breaking News” trap of such gigantic proportions, differently from the yellow press rags CNN/Al-Jazeera, he’s in no need of increasing sales. Knowing the traps doesn’t mean you cannot still be used for someone’s purpose, knowingly or not, willingly or not. You will never know all the traps, you only know them afterwards, and there is a law of unintended consequences.

    Mind you, I am not saying this is what happened, I am not a soothsayer. I am only reminding some people war is not wedged nor won on the trenches only, it is wedged at all times, all the time, and it is won before the trenches. And before the Juris Doctors start my trial and conviction, let me clarify I have not said at any given point in my comment Mr. Magnier is right or wrong. I am not writing an apology, or a defense, I am not here to take sides. All I have said is, WE DON’T KNOW. You don’t know, I don’t know, nobody but those involved in such high-levels of communication and decision making, know and will know the truth. What I’ve done above is to compare his response with basic, professional journalistic principles and ethics, and standing by his sources is the correct response in his circumstances.

    Re: Marwa Osman and Hezbollah response.

    Marwa Osman said on her Twitter video that “it was only a joke” telling Mr. Magnier his article had “influence from outer space.” If she respect Hezbollah as she says she does, she shouldn’t treat news of that caliber, right or wrong, as coming from “outer space.” She better hurry to find out where they come from, instead of making statements with the aim to ridicule the source, not realizing she’s smearing the whole. This is serious business. What it if was a giant leak from a disgruntled Hezbollah commander, unauthorized, endangering the whole of Hezbollah? Does that come from “outer space”? Seeing the trees…As to whether Mr. Magnier was right in blocking her, and those who re-twitted her, I am not to judge, I don’t do social networks, got into Twitter following news about this quarrel, and I don’t know their relations.

    As for Hezbollah “unofficial” response dressing down Al Rai and Mr. Magnier, he’s also correct calling them to follow the procedures they set for themselves, responding officially to any news, instead of disparaging the newspaper and the source. Personalizing, diminishing, launching derogatory insults or putting down people at press or business levels, in public, is totally unprofessional. On another note, if Hezbollah only goal was to make their denial believable, targeting the news source was legit, strangely enough, they did it in a way that is out of character, and for that very reason, made themselves evident. It was not in line with their practiced and professed principles. The reasons? We don’t know. We might never know.

    Finally, I was left concerned by some statements made by Marwa Osman in her video, e.g., “Israel is on a leash,” which is of course, a quote from Sayyed Nasrallah, but she recited it as if it were an established truth, now and forever. Concerning. It is easy to fall into complacency, overestimation of one’s own strength, and a delusional sense of security. You can only believe that at your own peril. Israel is not “leashed,” you begin to believe that you’re going down a slippery slope, that was a figure used by Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah to signify a state of deterrence, not of having handicapped Israel, forever. Israel can unleash hell on Lebanon, any time it wants to, they are evil entities, bastard children of the shatan, and other peoples are just an obstacle and a target for them. They will kill a million Lebanese just to get the gas fields, as they are helping to kill millions in Yemen just to get their oil fields. Do not believe for a second Israel is “leashed,” that’s a figure of speech, not a Quranic law.

    Regardless of how this issue gets resolved, as an apprentice, amateur, “armchair warrior,” and if I were in Lebanon, I’d prefer to stay with Sayyed Nasrallah bleak assessment, and prepare for war, rather than with any glossy “Israel is on a leash” delusion, and find myself unable to believe bombings are being unleashed on us from the allegedly “leashed” dogs of war.

    Lone Wolf

  2. Staying relevant at all costs? It’s so preposterous it’s actually sad. So much for Elijah Magnier as a serious, reliable source.

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