The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

Hizbullah, the NYT and DRUGS

There are several problems with the Times story on drugs – not least because, it seems, the reporter may be a great investigative reporter but is not well versed in the region or Lebanon. This explains some of the sloppiness and inaccuracies (I mean Fayyad as chief political strategist!) which don’t help the piece.

My central problem, however, with the report is how it ONLY seems to reinforce the preconceptions of the reader rather than challenge some of those preconceptions – i.e. what great reporting can and should be especially in conflict zones with our “enemies.” Given this, it really reads less like a thorough piece than as a a perhaps unknowing hit-back info-ops piece in the wake of the CIA embarrassment and the need to leverage pressure as soon as possible on the somewhat vulnerable resistance axis.

It is unfortuante.

Two points to consider: absolutely NO discussion of how hizbullah has addressed this issue of being involved in drugs – the reporter took fayyad and that was it it seems – even though nasrallah has repeatedly addressed and refuted this subject (whether truthful or not is not the issue – the reader should have more on this aspect. Instead the reporter treated his one interview with Fayyad as sufficient, it would seem, for providing a “response”… it is NOT sufficient, if only because this is not a normal rapid response environment which the reporter is probably used to.) The reporter could have googled the subject and quotes nasrallah’s explinations…. he did not, it seems.

Second, NO DISCUSSION at all of the generally accepted idea that hizbulalh gains most of its funding from Islamic donations and revenue generating enterprises that are quite legal and are vast. The reporter seems unaware of this side of the story… making it seem like as iranian money declined, hizb ramped up the drugs biz!

I for one believe that there may indeed be some associations between Hizb and illegal enterprises… But to agree with and even egg on, the echo chamber (and yes jordanian intel is the echo chamber of course), rather than complicate the narrative which the US and its allies are trying to promote (always remember Judith Miller) does a disservice to readers… The idea we are left with is that hizbullah is a purely terrorist-mafia evil.

While there are certainly aspects of this, this is by far NOT the whole story, nor how the different aspects relate dialectically… to paint it as such critically disables attempts at peacebuilding (no matter how moribund) where it is critical for publics and elites to start to understand their enemies as more nuanced and multifcated (and to understand ones own repsonsibility and occasional hypocrasey).


Written by nickbiddlenoe

December 16, 2011 at 12:03 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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