Sunday, 10 April 2016

The Beacon!

A joint “Israeli”-Saudi operation against Lebanon and the country’s resistance movement, Hizbullah, has claimed its latest victim.
The Beacon!
On Wednesday, Nilesat – a leading Arab satellite operator based in Egypt – cut transmission of Hizbullah’s television channel al-Manar [or ‘The Beacon’].
Saudi Arabia has showered Egypt with aid since the overthrow of President Muhammad Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013. The successor government headed by former army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi – whose first major career posting was as military attaché in Egypt’s embassy in Riyadh – has broadly followed Saudi Arabia’s lead on regional politics.
Nilesat’s decision to pull the plug on al-Manar came conveniently just ahead of a planned visit by Saudi King Salman to Egypt.
According to Beirut-based political commentator Ibrahim al-Moussawi, “everybody knows that the Saudi Arabian regime has always been trying to dictate some of its wishes upon most of the Arab governments. It’s not at all surprising to hear that Saudi Arabia is exercising such policies against resistance movements like Hizbullah and against the media outlets of the resistance, like al-Manar.”
Softening the Target
Silencing the voice of Hizbullah is only the latest in a string of measures adopted by the Persian Gulf Arab monarchies in recent months against both Lebanon and the resistance movement.
Last month, Riyadh led a chorus of Arab states in designating Hizbullah- a legitimate political force in Lebanon’s governing bloc – as a ‘terrorist’ organization.
The move has only served to deepen sectarian strife in a country with no functioning government, gasping under the weight of more than a million Syrian refugees and increasingly finding itself in the middle of a whirlwind that has virtually been consuming the entire Middle East.
And earlier this year, Saudi Arabia halted a 4 billion dollar program of military aid to the Lebanese army, in apparent protest of what Riyadh called “the stranglehold of Hizbullah on the state”.
The actual purpose of Riyadh’s move is a brazen rebuke of Hizbullah, which has served as Lebanon’s stabilizing force for almost a decade and more recently proved to be extremely effective in fighting terrorist groups like Daesh, for its direct challenge of the geopolitical interests of the Saudis and their global allies.
With arms deals being cancelled at a time when terrorist groups are wreaking havoc throughout the region, the UN, IMF, and, in fact, the international community have failed to provide Lebanon with any form of assistance, leaving the Lebanese national army poorly armed and – as is the case in the entire country – notoriously cash-strapped.
Whetting the Appetite For War
According to a report published by Lebanon’s al-Akhbar newspaper in March of this year, the Saudi decision to suspend military assistance to the Lebanese army and the consequent move to designate Hizbullah as a ‘terrorist’ organization have “whetted “Israel’s” appetite” for war with the resistance movement.
Citing anonymous officials in Washington, the report alleges that the Americans warned their counterparts in Lebanon, “not to give “Israel” an excuse to start a war.”

The report also goes on to claim that Tel Aviv had informed US officials that the “Israelis” are interested in attacking Lebanon, particularly in light of Saudi Arabia’s strategic shift in policy.
Ibrahim al-Moussawi believes that the Saudis and “Israelis” are no longer trying to conceal their true motives.
“It’s time to shake hands and say that they have a common enemy – the resistance movements; namely Hizbullah. They are getting closer and closer to fighting Hizbullah. The “Israelis” have been very happy. They expressed their joy when Saudi Arabia and some Arab regimes tried to designate Hizbullah as a terrorist entity. Now they are very happy over Nilesat’s decision concerning al-Manar,” al-Moussawi said.
Shoot the Messenger
While the decision to remove al-Manar from Nilesat constitutes a violation of all international laws pertaining to radio and television and the exercise of media liberties, as well as the right of citizens to information, it is hardly uncommon practice.

In 2012, both Nilesat and Arabsat took Syria’s state-run television channels off the air in a move widely believed to be an attempt to control the media narrative concerning the Syrian conflict.

In another violation of international laws guaranteeing the freedom of the media, Nilesat also suspended the transmission of the Yemeni broadcaster al-Massirah in May of last year.
This year Arabsat halted the transmission of the pan-Arab al-Mayadeen news network, which has also been highly critical of Riyadh’s military offensive in Yemen.
Responding to allegations by Nilesat that al-Manar airs “programs that provoke sectarian strife”, the channel’s general manager, Ibrahim Farhat told AFP, “This is a political decision, not an industry decision. al-Manar has nothing to do with sectarian strife.”
As is the case with the conflicts in Syria and Yemen, silencing media outlets that dare to report the truth is essential to having a free hand in carrying out mass murder and atrocities against an entire populace.
Following a decision by Apple in July 2012 to pull an al-Manar application off its iTunes store, the channel’s TV Director-General at the time, Abdallah Qasir, said that the move indicated al-Manar’s, “ability to cause great harm to Israel, and that “Israel” is extremely annoyed by al-Manar becoming so widespread.”
In fact, in 2004, al-Manar was estimated to be averaging between 10 and 15 million viewers daily.
With the “Israelis” increasingly itching for another war in Lebanon, the Saudis are expected to continue mounting efforts to peddle their own version of the narrative, and make sure that channels like al-Manar reach as few households as possible.
Source: al-Ahed News
9-04-2016 | 10:31
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