The BBC’s Jim Muir in Lebanon provided us with what I thought was an uncomfortably pro-Hezbollah report this morning on the Today programme (8:32)…perhaps he had some of those Hezbollah ‘minders’ ‘editing’ his report.
Justin Webb told us that the leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, gave a speech which ‘horrified’ Syria watchers.
Muir didn’t seem too concerned…in fact he seemed quite upbeat about it.
Firstly he told us that people have rather overlooked the involvement of Hezbollah in the Syrian conflict.
Could that be because the BBC has been rather remiss in reporting that involvement as I have noted before.…Hezbollah were already well known to be heavily involved in fighting in Damascus on Assad’s behalf.
If you look at this report from the beginning of May by Paul Danahar, linked to on this morning’s Today ‘Live Page’, there is one thing missing..no mention of Hezbollah…he mentions the ‘rebel’ side’s allies…Jihadists and criminals…oh and denounces Saudi Arabia’s involvement as ‘selfish’….but no Hezbollah nor any such link to Iran or comment about Iran’s motives…merely noting Iran is providing arms to Assad….nothing about Iran wanting to wipe out Israel?
‘The situation has been further complicated by the introduction into the arena of al-Qaeda-linked jihadists and armed criminal gangs. The vacuum created by Western inaction has been filled by two of the Gulf states – Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
These are both sorely undemocratic states, they are not champions of democracy either at home or abroad. Saudi Arabia and Qatar are meddling in Syria for thoroughly selfish reasons. Freedom, democracy and human rights have absolutely nothing to do with why they are arming the rebels.
President Assad’s Alawite community is a splinter from the Shia faith – its closest allies are in Shia Iran. Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia hates Shia Iran, so it is using the war in Syria to try and weaken it.’
Fairly strong attack on the Saudis…why not for Iran as well?
Muir in his report, tells us that there is a creeping involvement of Hezbollah….well they’ve been there a long time. He tells us they were there to protect the border villages initially…but they are fighting, and have been for a long time, in Damascus and other strategic towns.
We then get to Nasrallah’s speech which the BBC kindly offer large portions of to us….
What did it say?
Basically that Israel and America are behind the attacks on Syria and the ‘Resistance’ will be encircled if Syria falls…Palestine will be lost and the people and states of the region will face a bad and harsh oppressive future…[ with Israel and the Americans in charge].
Justin Webb comes in and says the danger is that Hezbollah’s enemies will get back at them not in Syria but in Lebanon.
So just who exactly are Hezbollah’s ‘enemies’? Does he mean those nasty, aggressive Israelis?
He might have done. Muir assures us that Nasrallah has done everything he possibly can to head off the possibility of regional war and that he has demanded that the fighting has to stop…Hezbollah won’t allow sectarian fighting to spread elsewhere.
Nice to know we have the peace loving (Islamic so must be ) Hezbollah reining in the war mongering Israelis and Americans.
Nasrallah, we are told, has promised victory…as he delivered over the Israelis in 2006 Muir says.
No gloating from Muir there at all, I’m certain.
Muir introduces Nasrallah’s next clip by saying ‘Let’s listen to those stirring words from him’
This report from the BBC’s Jonathan Marcus gives a much better, not hard to do, perspective on the involvement of Iran and its motivations.
A little bit slack from Muir that he doesn’t mention Iran and its involvement with Hezbollah and their intentions towards Israel…giving the sense that Hezbollah are the ‘peacemakers’ in the region…the Today programme is supposedly the prestige, renowned jewel in the BBC’s news output…but so often it provides half the story…and as in this case seemingly half the story from one side of that story…giving the impression of bias…unintended I’m sure.
BBC Watch has a look at one of Muir’s reports from a few days ago on the same subject which does detail Iran’s involvement…so why not on the Today programme which has such a large and influential audience?.