Monday, August 07, 2006

Lebanese Expats Accuse Hizbullah of Complicity in Qana Tragedy

A number of people have drawn my attention to an article published on a French language website called Libanoscopie. All of the articles published on the site are in French and seem to be written mostly by Lebanese expatriates. An article published on July 30 about the Qana tragedy has raised eyebrows by quoting an unnamed "well-informed source" who claimed that Hizbullah had deployed rocket launchers on the building hit by the Israeli Air Force. The source claimed that Hizbullah concocted a Machiavellian plan to undermine Lebanese Prime Minister Fou'ad al-Siniora's 7-point plan for restoring stability to Lebanon through deployment of the Lebanese Army in the south. The Lebanese source accused HA of moving disabled children to the building in order to create a humanitarian crisis that would strengthen its hands at the Lebanese negotiating table. Here is an excerpt from the the French original:
« Le Hezbollah, coincé par les 7 points proposés par le premier ministre Fouad Siniora [...] a voulu faire échouer ces négociations. Il a mis en pace un plan machiavélique [...] Sachant très bien qu’Israël n’aura pas d’état d’âme pour bombarder des cibles civiles, des militants du Hezbollah ont installé une base de lancement de roquettes sur le toit d’un immeuble à Cana et y ont entassé des enfants infirmes... »
I should emphasize here that I am in no way endorsing this theory. For all I know, it is as credible as some of the 9/11 conspiracy theories. I have no doubt that HA is capable of mounting this kind of a deception if they felt themselves to be in a desperate situation. However, it seems unlikely that HA would take this kind of risk at this stage. I guess the most important indicator that this is probably a concocted story is that the Israeli government would have adopted it if it were at all credible. As a result, I see fit to label this another attempt to feed the rumour mill.

Thanks to our good friend Elie from Toronto for raising some of these issues.


Mark G. said...

A surprising number of such stories are making the rounds. Here's one that cropped up on CNN. It accuses the Israeli government of the same sort of thing:.

HOWARD KURTZ: Tom Ricks, you've covered a number of military conflicts, including Iraq, as I just mentioned. Is civilian casualties increasingly going to be a major media issue? In conflicts where you don't have two standing armies shooting at each other?

THOMAS RICKS, REPORTER, "THE WASHINGTON POST": I think it will be. But I think civilian casualties are also part of the battlefield play for both sides here. One of the things that is going on, according to some U.S. military analysts, is that Israel purposely has left pockets of Hezbollah rockets in Lebanon, because as long as they're being rocketed, they can continue to have a sort of moral equivalency in their operations in Lebanon.

HOWARD KURTZ: Hold on, you’re suggesting that Israel has deliberately allowed Hezbollah to retain some of it’s fire power, essentially for PR purposes, because having Israeli civilians killed helps them in the public relations war here?

RICKS: Yes, that’s what military analysts have told me.

KURTZ: That’s an extraordinary testament to the notion that having people on your own side killed actually works to your benefit in that nobody wants to see your own citizens killed but it works to your benefit in terms of the battle of perceptions here.

RICKS: Exactly. It helps you with the moral high ground problem, because you know your operations in Lebanon are going to be killing civilians as well.

John said...

Highly unlikely in my view. Of course Israel is just as spin-conscious Hizbullah. But every rocket fired into Israel serves to undermine the credibility of the government and the army in the eyes of the people. The IDF is desperate for some success. There are other reasons why those pockets of rocket launching squads are still operating - the IDF has simply not succeeded in locating them and is struggling in any case in holding its ground in many villages.