Tag Archives: Shia

Syrian Ambassador to UK: “Israel behind Syrian Revolution.”

Sami Khiyami: "Israel could be behind any bad thing in world."

Sami Khiyami: "Israel could be behind any bad thing in world."

It was an almost comic exchange on BBC’s Newsnight (the exchange begins at 17 minutes) last night when Jeremy Paxman interviewed Sami Khiyami, the Syrian Ambassador to the UK, over who was behind the plot to destabilise Syria.

It went like this:

“Ambassador: Syria is not a one party state, it is not a one family state. It is the nicest and most beautiful state in the Middle East.

Paxo: Ok, now you’ve got that off your chest, tell us about this plot, who’s behind it?

Amb.: I think all those who thought Syria is at a time when it will cash in on the result of the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia. The changes that occured in the Arab world were about to help the Syrian position a lot towards Israel and the expansionist policies of Israel.

Paxo.: Basically, it’s the Israelis behind it, is it?

Amb.: I’m sorry?

Paxo.: Is it the Israelis behind it, is that what you’re saying?

Amb.: Well, the Israelis could be behind it. They could be behind any bad thing in the world.”

As ever, Paxman looked in on disbelief.

Then again Khiyami was only parroting the line of President Assad of Syria who spoke of an “Israeli agenda” in his speech yesterday about the violence currently taking place in Syria.

The Times reports that a 14 year-old boy was yesterday shot in the head while carrying an olive branch. And many dozens so far have been murdered in cold blood at the hands of Assad’s forces (has anyone seen Judge Richard Goldstone lately?).

Some claim that Assad is basically a reformist President, but one who is kept in a straightjacket by hardline conservative elements in his Ba’athist administration.

Nevertheless, Syria hosts Hamas, supports Hezbollah in Lebanon and will do anything that Iran commands it to, especially considering that the Assads are Alawite, an offshoot of Shia Islam. The majority of Syria are Sunni Muslims.

I would have liked to have seen Paxman ask Khiyami whether there could be a repeat of events in Hama in 1982 when Assad’s father massacred up to 20,000 of his own people the last time they were impertinent enough to attempt a revolt against Assad totalitarian rule (Here is Robert Fisk reporting on his visit to Hama in June 2000).

But then we know what Khiyami would probably have replied: “Israel slaughtered them!”

Welcome to Lebanon; now part of Iran.

Ahmadinejad and Sheikh Nasrallah (Head of Hizbollah)

Ahmadinejad and Sheikh Nasrallah (Head of Hizbollah)

Imagine your father was murdered and five years later the man that sent his killers pays you a visit.

You let him in because you fear the consequences if you don’t. Additionally, you see tens of thousands of this man’s supporters lining the roads and cheering his arrival.

This was the tragic fate of Saad Hariri, Lebanon’s Prime Minister, last week when President Ahmadinejad visited Lebanon.

As one former Lebanese Sunni MP put it: “This wasn’t a visit to Lebanon but a visit to Hizbollah”.

While there Ahmadinejad called Lebanon a “university of jihad” and said that both Iran and Lebanon have much in common, primarily their war with Israel.

I am sure that Iran and Lebanon have far more to their national identity than enmity torwards Israel, not that Ahmadinejad makes it appear so when he speaks.

But there is no war between Lebanon and Israel. The problem is purely Iran.

The Times reported that before Ahmadinejad’s visit a group of 250 politicians, activists, journalists, doctors and teachers in an open letter called on Ahmadinejad to stop meddling in Lebanese affairs and end the financial and military support for Hezbollah:

“Your talk of ‘changing the face of the region starting with Lebanon’ and wiping Israel off the map through the force of the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon gives the impression that your visit is that of a high commander visiting his front line”.

It seems certain that the United Nations is about to hold Hizbollah and Syria responsible for the murder of Lebanon’s then Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in 2005 and issue indictments.

Both Hizbollah and Iran have previous including deadly bombings of the Israeli Embassy and a Jewish Community centre in Argentina in 1992 and 1994 respectively. Over 100 dead.

Then there were the 1983 deadly truck bombings that destroyed the American Embassy, the headquarters of the US marines and that of the french paratroopers all in Beirut. Nearly 400 dead.

It was Hizbollah that in 2006 that started the Second Lebanon war when it ambushed Israeli troops inside Israel killing seven and kidnapping two.

The remains of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, were later returned in exchange for the freedom of child-killer Samir Kuntar.

Even now Hizbollah still controls the whole of southern Lebanon and has 40,000 rockets at its disposal. It has relatively easy access to Israel’s northern border.

The UN troops are no match for Hizbollah and would never fire on them anyway.

Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad continues to pour millions of pounds of reconstruction aid into southern Lebanon after that war, money that could be spent on the suffering Iranian economy. Building a nuclear bomb drains the economy even more.

Not that Ahmadinejad cares much for his own people judging by his treatment of many of them.

And it is still a mystery why thousands of Lebanese people would want to line the streets to cheer a deadly and proven misogynist, homophobe and anti-Semite who has helped tear his own country apart.

Car bombs are already exploding in Lebanon on the eve of the UN’s report into the murder of Hariri as the scent of civil war is in the air yet again .

And Syria has issued arrest warrants against those it accuses of complying with the UN investigation.

However much Ahmadinejad paints a picture of harmony between Iran and Lebanon, there is none. Syria and Iran are resuming their old ways and cannot leave Lebanon alone.

Controlling Lebanon is the route to war with Israel and so to distract the Iranian people from their own troubles and the world from Iran’s progression towards the bomb.

King Hussein of Jordan once had a similar problem. The PLO was fighting to take over Jordan but in 1970 he crushed the Palestinian resistance and expelled the PLO to Lebanon.

This time, backed by Iran, Hizbollah is in Lebanon to stay.

Meanwhile, another war between Iran and Israel, via Hizbollah, looms but at least four years on the world knows the true nature of Hizbollah’s main backer.

(the Elder of Ziyon has a funny story about the gun in the above photo – thanks to Silke)