Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Following Casualties in Syria, Revised Logo of Hezbollah Makes The Terrorist Group An Object of Derision

How bad are things going for Hezbollah in Syria?

Daniel Pipes notes Hizbullah's travails in a graphic:
The logo of Hizbullah, the Lebanese terror group, consists of a hand emerging from the Arabic spelling of the group's name ("Party of God") clutching an assault rifle, probably an AK-47.
But with the battle of Al-Qusayr underway near Homs, said to be a decisive confrontation in the Syrian civil war and the scene of significant losses of personnel by Hizbullah, a wit who goes by Aiham VAN Syria edited the organization's logo to fit the moment.

  • First, under a "Before" sign (on the right), he shows the real logo.
  • Then, under an "After" sign (on the left), comes his version. It reads Mishan Allah ("God have mercy" in Syrian dialect) and shows a bandaged hand holding a crutch. (May 26, 2013)
Revision of Hezbollah Logo
Hizbullah's logo, edited to fit the moment. 

Indeed, according to Der Spiegel, Hezbollah has suffered a large number of casualties in Syria:
About 100 rebels and 40 elite Hezbollah fighters were killed on the first two days of the battle alone. For Hezbollah, it was the largest casualty figure since the 2006 war with Israel.
To shore up its image, Hezbollah has resorted to unusually un-deceptive propaganda:
There was an absurd moment in the battle for the small city of Qusair when, last Monday, an old Israeli military jeep was paraded before Syrian state television cameras. According to the state news agency SANA, the jeep, which the army had supposedly captured in Qusair, was clear proof of Israeli involvement in the Syrian civil war. In fact, it added: "This confirms that Israel, Turkey and Qatar are leading the aggression against Syria with a joint operations center."

The SANA report did not explain why they would do so with a vehicle model that was taken out of service 10 years ago. As it turned out, the jeep was from a museum's inventory. Before that, it had been used in the Khima military prison, in southern Lebanon, to transport prisoners until the Israeli army withdrew from the area in May 2000. After that, the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah set up a memorial at the prison, and now it had apparently brought the vehicle to Qusair. This would explain why a tractor could be seen in front of the jeep in the photos.
On the other hand, the increase in casualties has caused a change in policy -- at first, Hezbollah denied their involvement in Syria and those killed were buried secretly. Now Hezbollah is doubling down and burying their dead openly and with ceremony.

Hezbollah is not going to be backing out now, but now it remains to be seen not only what happens in Syria, but also how Hezbollah's involvement plays at home in Lebanon:
But the propagandistic act of desperation with the museum jeep also shows how uncomfortable it makes the "Party of God" to jeopardize its image, developed over the course of three decades, as Lebanon's defender against Israel. Hezbollah, which portrays itself as the Arab "David," repeatedly defying the Israeli "Goliath," has turned into a sectarian army in the fraternal struggle within Islam.
Hezbollah suddenly finds that Israel is no longer its primary concern, and instead of Iran using the terrorist group as a distraction against Israel, Iran has allowed Syrian insurgents to become a distraction for Hezbollah.

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