Friday, July 14, 2006

Hezbollah Is Controlled by Syria and Iran, Regardless What L.A. Times Says

In an exhibition of its frequently nonsensical and cravenly weak positions on the war on terror, the Los Angeles Times this Friday morning suggests in a front-page article that Hezbollah may have acted alone in kidnapping two Israeli soldiers and raining rockets on Israeli territory.

The article by Paul Richter, Josh Meyer and Sebastian Rotella directly contradicts the position of the Bush Administration, this time backed by many outside observers, including even a commentary in the very liberal Guardian newspaper in Britain, that the present crisis represents an attempt by Iran and Syria to cause new trouble and tensions in the Middle East by striking at Israel, a country they have vowed to destroy.

I'm not surprised that Richter would participate in such an article. He is frequently guilty of loose thinking. Meyer and Rotella, however, are usually perceptive reporters. From them, it is a surprise.

The fact is that Hezbollah would be little or nothing without support in the form of weapons and money, and guidance it receives from Iran and Syria. The people who say otherwise are likely the same as those who argued years ago that the Viet Cong in South Vietnam was independent from North Vietnam. After the Americans retreated from the country in 1975, that idea lasted about as long as it took North Vietnam to rename Saigon "Ho Chi Minh City." (The same day Saigon fell).

"We are not out to get the President," wrote Times editor Dean Baquet in an Op Ed page piece not long ago. It was a Freudian comment, proof of the very reverse. Any casual reader of the Los Angeles Times realizes it is out to get President Bush day in and day out, both in its news and editorial pages.

But it is not only President Bush which the Times is flying in the face of this morning.

The Daily Telegraph in London, says editorially, "Sponsored by Damascus and Tehran, it (Hezbollah) makes a mockery of Lebanese sovereignty. That one party in the government coalition should have an armed wing operating with foreign support in defiance of central authority is intolerable."

The Guardian carries a commentary by Jonathan Spyer that remarks that Hezbollah "does not act independently. Hezbollah is dependent on its Iranian and Syrian backers for its continued existence and for its hardware. It is unlikely that the incursion of July 12 could have taken place without a nod from the real masters."

The Washington Post says editorially this morning, "When Israel withdrew its troops from southern Lebanon in 2000 after more than two decades of occupation, it also issued a warning: Any cross-border provocations by Hezbollah, the military Shiite group, would elicit a severe military response. So there can be no surprise at the violent reaction to Hezbollah's ambush of an Israeli patrol Wednesday, in which three soldiers were killed and two others taken captive by the guerrillas. And there can be no doubt that Iran and Syria, Hezbollah's chief sponsors, bear responsibility for what has instantly become the most far-reaching, lethal and dangerous eruption of cross-border fighting in the Middle East in recent years."

The main commentary on the New York Times Op-Ed page this morning, by Michael Young, is headlined, "Israel's Invasion, Syria's War." The article begins, "Israel's incursion into Lebanon after the kidnapping on Wednesday of two Israeli soldiers by the militant group Hezbollah is far more than another flareup on a tense border. It must also be seen as a spinoff of a general counterattack against American and Israeli power in the region by Iran and Syria, operating through sub-state actors like Hezbollah and the Palestinian organization Hamas."

The latest probable illustration of Iranian sponsorship of Hezbollah came Friday when a drone packed with explosives struck an Israeli ship participating in the Lebanon blockade, doing heavy damage. Reports tonight say eight such drones were supplied by Iran to Hezbollah.

Considering all this evidence, the L.A. Times front page article makes the paper very much the odd man out. But it is not the only disappointment in Times coverage this morning. The Times editorial on what is happening in the Middle East is another example of cowardice and stupidity by an editorial page often guilty of the same.

Andres Martinez, it has been clear for some time, is no friend of Israel. In fact, there is a sheen of anti-Semitism on the Times editorial pages, either the responsibility of Martinez or Op-Ed Page editor Nick Goldberg, whose wife, Amy Wilentz, is pro-Palestinian, and who claims to be neutral in the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Again, this morning the L.A. Times editorial accuses Israel of over-reacting and disproportionate counterstrikes.

Were it up to Martinez and Goldberg, there would be no Israel at all. As others recognize, any nation that allows cross-border villains to rain rockets down on its territory and people and cross the border to kidnap its citizens will not be long for this world. I'm afraid we're beginning to see an illustration of this in Afghanistan.

The Times editorial this morning, entitled "Israel's risky response," says Israel is "running the risk of emboldening Arab rejectionists."

As if these scoundrels wouldn't be doing all they could to destroy Israel anyway. The Arab rejectionists certainly have a friend in Los Angeles.

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