The German right-wing news site, Die Welt, published a report based on a “Western intelligence source” claiming that Iran sold Hezbollah several hundred tons of ammonium nitrate in 2013. The report explicitly says that there is no known connection between this shipment and the nearly 3,000 tons of ammonium nitrate that blew up in the Beirut port destroying half the city.
If so, what is the point? Why leak this claim and why publish it? And who would leak such information? The answer is Israel: if Israel attacked a Hezbollah arms depot and (inadvertently) initiated the subsequent ammonium nitrate explosion, then it fears its role will be exposed eventually (as it has here). Anticipating this, the Mossad (the agency whose fingerprints appear to be all over this disastrous sabotage operation) needs to spin a narrative that will both distract blame and pin it elsewhere. What better way to do this than to blame Hezbollah and Iran for the disaster?
The other benefit of this story is that it associates in peoples’ mind ammonium nitrate, Iran and Hezbollah. This would be useful at a later date should Israel need to deflect blame from itself.
Specious claims divert attention from the real instigator of the Beirut catastrophe?
Israeli sources appear also to be laying the groundwork for justifying the attack on the Hezbollah weapons facility via this story reported by Israeli TV news:
A Channel 13 report…claimed Hezbollah planned to use the ammonium nitrate stockpile that caused the blast at Beirut’s port against Israel in a “Third Lebanon War.” It did not cite sources.
A Western security expert also told Die Welt Hezbollah may have sought ammonium nitrate for attacks against Israel, noting that the organization was working at the time on digging numerous attack tunnels into Israel, and positing it planned to employ the explosives for attacks using those tunnels.
As a Twitter user tweeted commenting on this post: what better way to prevent a “third Lebanon war” than destroying half of Beirut!
An Israeli TV news report claiming Hezbollah intends to start a war with Israel, which offers no source, is about the most worthless “journalism” you can imagine. Clearly, this comes from a source very much like the one which leaked to Die Welt. The fact that any reputable Israeli media outlet would report such nonsense indicates how bad much Israeli journalism is.
So we’re left with entirely anonymous (in the case of Channel 13) or thinly-veiled sources (Die Welt), likely Israeli, who seek to divert attention from the mayhem Israel caused in Lebanon by claiming it wasn’t Israel which did anything wrong. It was Hezbollah that made Israel do it. If they weren’t planning to attack us we wouldn’t have done what we did (i.e. destroy half of Beirut).
I can’t think of a more patently brazen manipulation that this. Blame the victim. It’s akin to the classic rapist and abuser claim: it wasn’t my fault, it was hers. If it wasn’t for Hezbollah Israel would be able to be the nice friendly neighbor it’s always wanted to be to Lebanon.
This article was published by Tikun Olam