BBC’s Jim Muir paints ‘cartoon villain’ Israel

On May 22nd 2013 the BBC News website’s Middle East page included an article by Beirut correspondent Jim Muir titled “Hezbollah plunges deeper into Syrian conflict“.

Muir Hizb

Our colleague at CAMERA Gilead Ini took a look at one particularly strange aspect of Muir’s report.

“In a BBC article about Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian conflict, the reporter introduces readers to a shadowy figure lurking in the background and laughing maniacally over the bodies of the dead. The identity of that cartoonish culprit might not come as a surprise to those familiar with the BBC’s Mideast coverage: It is Israel.

If we’re exaggerating here, it’s only slightly. The May 22 story, “Hezbollah plunges deeper into Syrian conflict” by BBC Beirut correspondent Jim Muir, is mostly about intra-Arab clashes, until the reporter and his anonymous source take readers on a little detour: 

“Yes, it’s a risk for Hezbollah, but it’s part of Iran’s overarching regional strategy: the Syrian regime must not fall,” said one well-placed Shia observer.

“It’s all systems go, and Iran will unleash everything it has to. It and Hezbollah consider this a threat to their political existence.”

“Israel’s interest is to see the civil war continue and Hezbollah sucked in and massacred as it has been in the past few days, when they’ve lost 40 fighters. It’s a grinding machine, and Israel is laughing and happy.”

Indeed, put like that, it is hard to imagine Israel not being happy to see what it regards as extremists and terrorists from both the Shia and Sunni sides of the sectarian divide at each other’s throats in Syria.” [emphasis added]

It is apparently quite easy for the BBC reporter to imagine Israel as a caricature, rubbing its hands together gleefully as it watches the carnage in Syria, but very difficult to envision the real country, and its real sense of concern with the upheaval on its northern border.”

Read the rest of Gilead’s commentary here

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3 comments on “BBC’s Jim Muir paints ‘cartoon villain’ Israel

  1. And now on cue to support the statements made in Gilead Ini’s article by IAF Commander Amir Eshel about the increased likelihood of a “surprise war”, we have the following report from AP of rockets already hitting Beirut:

    “Rockets Hit Beirut Neighbourhoods

    Published: 11:02am, 26th May 2013
    Updated: 6:09pm, 26th May 2013

    Rockets have slammed into two southern Beirut neighbourhoods that are strongholds of Lebanon’s Hezbollah group, wounding four people and raising fears that Syria’s civil war is increasingly moving to Lebanon.

    Lebanon’s sectarian divide mirrors that of Syria, and Lebanese armed factions have taken sides in their neighbour’s civil war. One leader of Syria’s overwhelmingly Sunni rebels had threatened to strike Hezbollah strongholds to retaliate against the Iranian-backed Shiite group for sending fighters to assist Syrian president Bashar Assad.

    Street fighting between rival Lebanese groups has been relatively common since the end of the country’s 1975-1990 civil war, but rocket or artillery attacks on Beirut neighbourhoods are rare.

    The rockets were launched hours after the militant group’s leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, vowed to help propel Assad to victory in Syria’s civil war and warned that his overthrow would give rise to extremists.

    One rocket fired on Sunday landed in the Mar Mikhael district on the southern edge of the capital, striking a car exhibit near a church on the street and causing all four casualties, a Lebanese army statement said. Another struck the second floor of an apartment in a building in Chiyah district south of Beirut, about a mile away from Mar Mikhael. The apartment’s balcony appeared peppered with shrapnel, but no-one was wounded.

    The state-run National News Agency said among the wounded in the Mar Mikhael blast were three Syrians. A security official said rocket launchers were found in woods in a predominantly Christian and Druse area in suburbs south-east of Beirut.

    An ongoing battle in the Syrian town of Qusair on the Lebanese border, which government troops backed by Hezbollah pounded with artillery on Saturday, has laid bare the Shiite group’s growing role in the Syrian conflict. Hezbollah initially tried to play down its involvement, but could no longer do so after dozens of its fighters were killed in the town and buried in large funerals in Lebanon.

    Colonel Abdul-Jabbar al-Aqidi, commander of the Syrian rebels’ Military Council in Aleppo, appeared in a video this week while apparently en route to Qusair, in which he threatened to strike in Beirut’s southern suburbs in retaliation for Hezbollah’s involvement in Syria. “We used to say before, ‘We are coming Bashar.’ Now we say, ‘We are coming Bashar and we are coming Hassan Nasrallah,'” he said, in reference to Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah.

    “We will strike at your strongholds in Dahiyeh, God willing,” he said, using the Lebanese name for Hezbollah’s power center in southern Beirut. The video was still online on Youtube on Sunday.

    Interior Minister Marwan Charbel blamed “saboteurs” and said: “We hope what is happening in Syria does not move to Lebanon.””

  2. Israel has been trying to incite or cause Civil War in Lebanon since at least 1955, as shown by the small portion of Moshe Sharett’s diaries that we’ve been allowed to see.

    Pity that the daughter of one of his ministers, Lavia Rokach, was murdered in her hotel room before she could publish the rest of them.

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