The Sahhaf Mentality!

The former Iraqi Minister of Information, Muhammad Saeed al-Sahhaf, who was the last such minister to serve under Saddam Hussein, has long gone down in history as the man who kept on denying the reality of what was actually taking place in the country with regard to the unfolding battle and kept on issuing defiant statements as he had clearly been instructed to do right until the moment US troops stormed into Saddam’s palace in Baghdad.

Albeit far less comical, Nasrallah’s own televised pronouncements and assurances appear to reflect the same Sahhaf mentality, an inability to accept reality driven in part by ideology, in part by self-interest, and in part by the natural necessities of propaganda.

Indeed, no one can deny the fact that Israel has incurred more losses than it had anticipated due to the resilience and preparedeness of Hezbollah’s fighters. These are clearly not some beaten down Iraqi soldiers who had been defeated long before the battle had begun. These are ideologically-motivated fighters who have been engaged in active combat of sorts for many years, and some of them have even conducted a number of operations over the years behind “enemy lines.”

Still, resilience is not victory, and the destruction that Lebanon had suffered is not easily reversible, and, for all its losses, Israel seems bent on continuing with its current campaign for at least another month, so where is this redefined victory that Nasrallah is promising? Nasrallah said that the victory that his fighters can deliver will be defined in their continued ability to inflect heavy casualties on the Israelis. Indeed, his fighters and his rockets are doing just that to the surprise and enchantment of many. But, if this is not going to be enough to stop the Israelis from pushing forward with their campaign, what is the point behind such “victory?”

The nationalists have given us the moral victory of ’73 and the political victory of ’82, and now the Islamists seem on the verge of achieving another moral victory, albeit coupled with a good propaganda coup this time, after all, the world is jeering Israel, so will that suffice?

Well, if the endgame is to preserve the status quo in certain countries and shore up the ruling regimes there, then, indeed such victories could suffice (if they were achieved that is, after all, we are still in mid-combat). But they will come at the expense of our freedom and our living standards. Indeed, we, the people, are the ultimate losers of our imagined victories and all too real defeats. Yet, most of us are cheering this on!? Thank Heaven I am a heretic.

28 thoughts on “The Sahhaf Mentality!

  1. Ammar-You make an excellent point. If Nasrallah is saying he is defending Lebanon…well then who needs enemies? Personally, I don’t think he anticipated anything like this type of reaction from Israel. And since it is OPM and OPL he is playing with (Other People’s Lives and Other People’s Money)…well he can pretty much only win hero status from blasting a few soldiers and lots of Israeli grandmothers and grandchildren.If he cared about Lebanon…he would step back right now and make a deal…no grandiose poetic speeches…but do what he has to do to prevent Israel from launching a major ground attack. He can send word from the kidnapped soliders and stop the rockets…that would be a starting point…ask for a cease fire. But will his “honor” and his “ego” allow it? Nope…he will fight until the last death…except his own I would think

  2. Howie, he is also playing with OPA and OPP (other people’s anuses and other people’s pussies), because we are the ones who are getting fucked at the end.

  3. Ammar-Tried the expression:”I got fucked and I didn’t even get kissed”.I know you are not religious much…but I tend to be. I pray…I mean I pray every day that this will not only stop…but there will be a genuine peace.Still like what Isaiah says in Chapter 19 I think…that Egypt and Assryia will rise again and be very tight partners with Israel. And that Lebanon will rise from ashes and be a righteous nation and a major merchant power uses the money to promote good. Stop laughing…I didn’t say..but it really is in there…shocked the shit out of me.

  4. Ammar, I am afraid that Baghdad Bob was in a completely different environment, Let me explain. Nasrallahs’ view of HA is similar to the boxer who was expected to be knocked out in the early part of the first round but who manages to stay standing during the 9th round although very much bloodied and physically exhausted. Baghdad Bob on the other hand never even got into the ring and yet declared victory .The results in both cases are the same. Delusional behaviour that finds it impossible to accept reality. In the current conflict/carnage in Lebanon even the image of the bloodied boxer who declares victory because he surpassed expectations needs to be elaborated upon in order to provide an accurate description of what is going on. Some might argue that the fighter is free to choose to take a beating for whatever reason, after all it is his own body that is at risk. In the Lebanese case things are not as straight forward because Nasrallah ; the boxer; has managed to deflect most of the pain unto non combatants. He and his group do not have to carry the total cost of their miscalculation and misadventure but they do good all the benefits and accolades.May I highlight another aspect of this conflict that has thus far gone unexamined. Let us assume for a moment that HA achieves the impossible and they KO the Israeli opponent. Does that change for a moment their status as a private armed group, thugs and vigilantes that are operating above the law? Of course not.It is sad to note that so many have either become cheerleaders for HA or have chosen to become a silent opposition. Lebanon , the state, is the institution that is paying dearly for Nasrallahs grandiose dreams. The price being exhorted is so dear that unwittingly we might be witnessing the demise of the short lived Lebanese dream of sovereignty and statehood. Furthermore, Nasrallah is only a two bit actor in this tragedy and the truth of the matter is that Emile Lahoud is the major conconspirator who has sold a nation for thirty of silver to Damascus and Tehran. Another party that has participated indirectly in this destructive scenario is the current Lebanese cabinet led by Fouad Siniora. They have failed to undertake ANY measures to implement their constitutional duty to protect the state. Their ineffectivness and lack of resolve is so clear to all. And finally we, the citizens, have failed to hold the politicians responsible and have allowed them to play their deadly and unprincipled game. Their is enough blame to go around but all of the wounds, have been self inflicted as a result of a belief by some in a bankrupt ideology; a willingness by others to serve non-national interests; an inability or even incompetence on the part of the government and the failure of individual citizens to demand accountability from their representatives.All is not lost, their is still a slight chance to redeem ourselves and restore the dream. Form a strong effective cabinet, disarm HA and empower the citizen to play an active role.

  5. Karam-What many Lebanese say is that..”it just ain’t that easy”. Remember there was a long, terrible civil war in Lebanon which is likely still an accident waiting to happen. 1/3 of the Lebanese army is Shia and they won’t turn on Hiz. I don’t think. Then you have the Sunni who don’t trust the Christians, the Christians that don’t trust the Moslems and the Druse who probably don’t trust anybody. And lurking in the background are Syria and Iran with their own goals. Israel would love a peace with Lebanon…but Lebanon could not stand up to the Moslem world that would likely boycott them or worse.To me…it is enormously complex. Meanwhile…Lebanon is being destroyed, the north of Israel is on fire, grannies are dying on both sides along with young men and, we are creating yet another generation of folk who will be physically and/or mentally disabled for the rest of their lives. But your point is basically correct, Lebanon has to control the south and hopefully the outside world can get it together to help out and then stand up to Syria and Iran if they try to gum up the works.

  6. The longer the war lasts and the resistence continue the fight the more Israel,s economy suffer ,lack of ceasfire might end up to the benifit of peace if the US can use Israel shortcomings to convince Israel and it,s people that their only hope is for a comprehensive peace built on 1967 borders with comprehisive peace treaty between Israel and all it,s Arab neibors then with other moslem countries.with only 4000 Hizballa fighters causing so much damage to Israel i think Israel,s time is running out and their chance is for peace before the Arab recognize that a long term war will destroy Israel starting with it,s economy.

  7. it’s really simple..all of this has nothing to do with land or has everything to do with israelis right to be.please remember that lebanon HAD a peace treaty with israel until syria/assad made it go away.iran is using syria and hezbollah to try to cause a “islamic” war against far, not one arab country has really stepped up to battle, and it’s week 5…if syria tries to mettle, it will loose it’s tanks, then the battle for syria can happen. get ready ammar, it’s time for you to be the new syrian ghandi..

  8. Norman, Israel is one of the most robust, modern and well run economies in the world. Do not overestimate the extent of the damage that this conflict will cause to the Israeli economies. If the war is to stop in the next few days the direct costs of the first week are expected to shave 1% from the projected growth in the GDP. Some would argue that this is a lot while others would say that it isn’t but definitely it is not crippling.what is “occupation”, You raise an extremly interesting question that I happen to raise often but that does not seem to connect with many other Lebanese and/or Arabs: What has Lebanon gained from all the wars with Israel if the best outcome that we are shooting for( no double entendre intended)is to reestablish the 1949 armistice agreement? Obviously in the case of Syria the situation is even worse. Besides the losses in blood ,treasure and political and social instability Syria has lost the Golan. Rationality demands that we follow the example of Jordan and Egypt.

  9. Marhaba!Hasan did everything he promissed to,and i don’t think he lied once..well the only one who should be compared to Al Sahhaf are the Israelies who change their goals in every week! and they are still appearing on the TV saying they’re winning.or we can compaire some western pro-israeli media by Al Sahhaf as the news changed in few days from:the Israeli forces “chassing” Hizbollah, to a counter of the Israeli csualties.

  10. I appreciate your blog, even though I don’t always understand.After much reading and exploration, why is this the only site at which people of the region don’t sound like Hezbollah cheerleaders?Why do so many others seem like puppets, leaping for joy because someone managed to injure Israel, no matter the cost?Can so many truly be so easily manipulated, or is the pressure to conform so severe? It is hard to believe this apparent unanimity.

  11. “If Nasrallah is saying he is defending Lebanon…well then who needs enemies? “Let’s face it, the hardliners on all sides are de facto allies, and the rest of us are their cannon fodder, dupes and/or enemies. What would Bush and the unproven regent Olmert do without Bin Laden/Hamas/Hezbollah etc., and vice versa. When real pragmatic leaders come along, like Rabin, extremists from their own countries/groups cut them down.

  12. “What would Bush and the unproven regent Olmert do without Bin Laden/Hamas/Hezbollah etc.”____I don’t know about Bush, but I am certain that the Israelis want nothing more than to be left in peace inside their UN-recognised borders, without a constant stream of terror and rocket attacks. They would love to be at peace with everyone.

  13. “What would Bush and the unproven regent Olmert do without Bin Laden/Hamas/Hezbollah etc.”____I don’t know about Bush, but I am certain that the Israelis want nothing more than to be left in peace inside their UN-recognised borders, without a constant stream of terror and rocket attacks. They would love to be at peace with everyone.

  14. Ammar, good post but you are blaming only HA/Syria and Iran for this war. I think US is to blame big time and this war was planned which makes all promises of democracy and freedom in the region go to waist.How can we get out of this mess while Bush keeps flashing at us tricks (such as the exagerated story of London plots) that keep him in power and scare the shit out of ordinary people who see more and more the arabs and muslims as the enemy. Then you have people in Israel saying (I got this from M Simon blog)Carol Herman says:”Arabs, down to a man, are people who don’t take reality seriously. They accept a host of rumors, though. And, their souks, or bazaars, are always open.The thing to really learn, if you should go in to trade, is that they love to sucker Americans. They love to sucker people who don’t barter. So, if you really want something, the best advice is not to look interested. And, then, when you’re given the high price; counter offer with a penny.“It is just so unbelivable the amount of racism in that paragraph and then they attack us for standing up to that shit.

  15. “I don’t know about Bush, but I am certain that the Israelis want nothing more than to be left in peace inside their UN-recognised borders, without a constant stream of terror and rocket attacks. They would love to be at peace with everyone.”Many Israelis do want peace, as do many Palestinians, Lebanese, iranians, Syrians, etc. etc. But the hardliners like a good outside threat to keep the focus on “the enemy” and off what they’re doing to their countries and people in order to maintain or increase their power, creating a long, seemingly endless cycle of tit-for-tat violence. And just as there are some Palestinian fascists, for example, who will not be happy until Israel is gone, and some Hez and Iranian jackwads who won’t be happy until they have achieved the “Shi’ite Crescent,” there are israeli fascists who will not be happy until they’ve achieved the “Nile to Eurphrates” zionist dream and pushed the majority of Arabs out of those lands. read some Sharon interviews where he talks about killing Arabs ro blwoing up synagogues to bring Jews into line. read about Irgun and Haganah. There are jackwads on all sides, you’ll see. Look at the settlements in the occupied territories (held despite UN resolutions declaring them illegal). Have you ever seen how Palestinians in those territories are treated? They are not all terrorists. Most of them just want to live their lives, have jobs and families and a future. It wasn’t a Palestinian who killed Rabin, when there was hope for real peace, more or less, in the region, it was a Jewish settler. This sort of thing happens all the time in these conflicts, the moderates and peacemakers too often get killed by their own fascist countrypeople. Here are a few of the many Israelis who want peace: some of their stories about the occupation. There’s some videotape too if you need to see that.It’s a common myth these days that it’s simply not possible to have peace with the Arabs, which is more propaganda — Israel and Egypt have had peace for more than 25 years.These wars are just fostering more anger and inspiring more terrorism, to justify more hardline response. the question isn’t, “which side is most wrong,” but ” how do we get rid of these fascists and break this cycle?

  16. I’m honoured, Fares. I just checked your blog. Hope you’ll clean up my typos! And could you attribute the initial quote to Don Cox? Peace.

  17. ghassan,I agree with most of your comment. But keep in mind that it was Israel that retaliated with a collective punishment on Lebanon. All over two soldiers? It could have easily turned Lebanon to Security Council and threatend aggression if 1559 wasn’t implemented. But it decided to punish Lebanon into submission and take “it back 20 years.” There’s plenty of blame to go around.

  18. Nobs-The outcome was collective punishment…the intent is to prevent resupply of missles which is certainly what would happene.By-the-way Nobs…is the firing of scores of missles per day radomly into civilian neighborhoods warfare or is it terror and/or collective punishment? Just would like your thoughts on that.

  19. War has been for a long time now the art of collective punishment, each side in according to its own resources. Principles have little role to play here. The fact that I am writing this note while in Chicago’s Midway Airport while waiting for my delayed flight serves as a good reminder as to how this whole thing started – pure cold blooded acts of terror. A zero-sum game is victory enough for certain minds, they will do anything for it.

  20. Let’s examine the “peace” that exists between Israel and Egypt/Jordan.*the vast majority of both nations want an end to the peace*dictators rule both nations and enforce the peace*the fact that the leaders support Israel in any way is hurting their support domestically*the vast majority of Egyptians and Jordians wish for the death to IsraelWhat does this teach us? That peace is only possible under the current paradigm if deals are made with dictators who decide that it personally suits them to support peace, and don’t care what their people think about it.Until the education system changes in the Arab world, there can be no peace.Until hate is not taught practically from birth, there can be no peace.I am not optimistic, so I do not see peace within my lifetime.

  21. P.S.:Ammar, keep up the good work re: heresy. You and people like you are the way that peace even has a hope in hell of EVER occurring.

  22. Red Tulips says:*the vast majority of both nations want an end to the peace*dictators rule both nations and enforce the peace*the fact that the leaders support Israel in any way is hurting their support domestically*the vast majority of Egyptians and Jordians wish for the death to Israel”What is your source for these statistics?

  23. Nasrallah’s shows an inability to accept reality by declaring Victory in this latest conflict. Many people in Lebanon have suffered the loss of loved ones and their homes. Roads,Bridges and Buildings have been destroyed because HA hid their rockets in civilian neighborhoods.Those Rockets killed many civilians in Israel and damaged homes there also. How can anyone who is rational say there was a winner. He is not only insane he has no compassion for Arabs,Jews or Christians all of whom were victims in this nonsense.

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