Sunday, January 28, 2007

Gimme a Freakin' Break

It is not enough they dragged us back past the Stone Age, our politicians and media are now up in arms about a bunch of poison balloons infiltrating from Israel.

Sorry to burst your bubble (pun intended), those are simply part of a promotional campaign for something called “Ha’ir”, a “Schocken group newspaper”. Or is it Ha’Ayr” (pun intended)? can’t quite make the writing… Leave that to the Language students at B.A.U. to figure out, after they're done beating up one another...

So Here is the True Story, Folks:

The balloons were Israeli poison gas, The snipers were all evil Syrian and Palestinians fiends bent on dividing a united people, and the rioters were all … you guessed it; Mossad Agents. Moi good Lebanese. Us united. Us One People. Us make mother Teresa blush with envy. Hugggh.

It is noteworthy the news comes from the sorry-state run Lebanese “National News Agency”. Still a long way to Orwell’s ministry of truth, but I think we’re making progress… I guess someone forgot to read their freakin’ balloons. Well, L.U "beating" curriculum leaves little time for reading and logic...

And Here is Another Doozy (Follow-up / Jan. 28th, 2007)

Thanks to G and "Boul" for the links... It seems Tayyar is learning for Hezb in the Lies deparment. Is Nasrallah rubbing in on Aoun? Herr General jumped on the story, and displayed the pictures on Al-Manar…

Few people may like Geagea and his kind, but fewer are downright idiots, and most would hate to be taken for morons. Whatever the merits of one’s cause, it cannot justify Lies and deceit. True, the FL had weapons; every one did. But maybe not in those particular instances.

Chill, dude; you won't win this way... And now, you gave them a heck of an argument; even two, and may be more … Many may want you to be president it, but not this way.

Not Anymore, Not Ever...

Oh, and the poison cases?

What do you expect, with a country falling back into civil war? Mass hysteria, simply put. Yes, the phenomenon is much more widespread than we care to think; it is called “psychogenic illness”, soon coming to a neighbourhood near you. The human mind is a powerful thing. Especially an Arab mind fed on inane theories, nonsense, or worseAnd even more a Lebanese mind focused on fighting rather than learning...

Or more simply, the story is made up.

Bless their heart, why you anyone do such a thing?

Follow-Up (Jan. 28th, 2007)

An important issue was raised by Nadine in her comment below; when she pointed out that the Western mind is as prone to conspiracy theories that the Arab mind. Indeed, an example of such mass hysterias in the west about, the most famous of which were caused by CBC Radio's “War of the Worlds” Broadcast on October 30th, 1938

Indeed, Nadine points out my own display of bigotry, driven by my hysteria about mass hysteria, forgetting, as she rightly points out, that there is “no such thing as an ‘American mind’, a ‘Jewish mind’ or an ‘Arab mind’" Ghassan Karam saves my hind (a little) when he points out that “the belief in simple and easily refutable conspiracies” appears wider in Lebanon and Syria.

All of us on God’s green earth remain essentially Homo Erraticus.

I think the real difference here is not in “minds”, but in different political “mindsets”. In the Arab world, our conspiracies tend to be more “political” than others, as highlighted by Fubar when he cites the Iranian newspaper stories. The West indeed still have their share of crackpot theories. And the groupies that flock around our political version of the Beatles, the local cockroaches, tend to be of the bearded kind, and sing a tune with far deadlier consequences, as highlighted by Solomon2...

Ghassan further raises an intriguing question, asking whether “the level of education and access to information helps shape our beliefs”. This may well be, but there is evidence that shows that intelligence and education may not affect many aspects of our decision making as much as subjectivity and impulsive thinking. This may be related to our human intuition; it seems that even vision and perception is more complex than we think, and could even un-coupled, and more “subjective”. Disclaimer; the link is wrong to state that science is perception (he's jumping to conclusion) but he makes an interesting point, worth investigating further.

In short. Thank you for “beating me over the head” with the fact(s) that I ignored. I deserved it, and it may happen again, so, in advance;

Ouch!

Follow-Up (Jan. 29th, 2007)

The "Ouwet" are having a field day with this...


38 comments:

fubar said...

Jeha,

Spoiled sport. Just had to spoil the whole Zionist poison balloons of death myth, didn't you?

Since you have turned mythbuster, they could use your help in Persia. They have a tremedous UFO and mysterious explosions problem going on there. Some of the locals even thought they were under attack last week due to some of the explosions. It caused so much ruckus, the officials had to address it in the media to put an end to it.

Valium anyone????

ghassan karam said...

Jeha,
Many of the Lebanese newspapers led with this stupendously foolish balloon story. If there was anything sinister about it then why send ten balloons to Nabatieh? Nobody bothered to ask whether anyone saw the Israeli jets eject these balloons and if so how come no one bothered to take a picture. Did the army really conduct tests on the balloons and if so what did they find? What a hysteria ? And please dont forget the irony that Fubar had already mentioned, the Lebanese Army supposedly issued a warning on Friday not to get close to the balloons although the alleged sinister plot occurred on Saturday!!!

BTW, did you notice that Tofaili had raised again the question of how can Nasrallah and his group possibly justify destroying a country when their demand is simply limited to a cabinet reshuffle? What do you think will be the reaction of citizens of say the US, the UK or Germany if the minority party paralysis the whole country in its effort to get a cabinet or two for its people? Only in Lebanon .

Nadine said...

I love your blog and almost always agree with you, so please take this as constructive criticism :

While it is true that there are numerous conspiracy theories floating around in the Arab World, opinion polls conducted by Pew Institute indicate that the percentage of Americans or Germans who believe in conspiracy theories is higher than the percentage of Arabs who believe in these same theories. So please don't propagate this orientalist myth about "the Arab mind" being inherently irrational. There is no such thing as an "American mind", a "Jewish mind" or an "Arab mind". Leave this kind of simplistic talk to Daniel Pipes, Patai and the other bigots.

Best,

Solomon2 said...

ghassan karam is right to mention how "Nasrallah and his group [can] possibly justify destroying a country" in the same breath as the balloon story. What if Hezbollah uses them as justification to break the cease-fire and attack Israel with missiles from northern Lebanon? You'll have the July War all over again, just the distraction Hezbollah needs from its failed coup attempts of the past two months.

Even if you believe the balloon story is true, if you don't want to yield to Nasrallah the power to destroy your lives and livelihoods through war, you have to debunk this story immediately.

ghassan karam said...

Nadine,
Could you please supply a reference for the Pew study regarding belief in conspiracies. I have no doubt that belief in conspiracies is world wide but I suspect that the type of conspiracies that people believe in differs from one society to another. Based on my personal experience I have always found the belief in simple and easily refutable conspiracies to be much wider in Lebanon and even wider still in Syria than it is in the European and North American countries that I am very familiar with. Don't you think that the level of education and access to information helps shape our beliefs?

John said...

Thank you je7a for posting on the balloon story. You are most certainly living up to the reputation of your historical namesake.

The big problem is the way in which the story was picked up so uncritically by certain news outlets and even the Lebanese security forces. That's something that you definitely wouldn't see in North America or Israel for that matter. Reminds me of this silly story al-Jazeera had on its website a while ago about thousands of Israelis purchasing property on the moon. I'm not sure if they ever printed that on the English language version, but the Arabic version had some pretty predictable reader comments as well. For the record: a small Israeli online store is indeed selling worthless "title deeds" to property on the moon. It's a scam that originated in the US. Some ambitious scammer appears to have opened a "Moon tabu" and began issuing title deeds. The al-Jazeera article in question, however, made no attempt to look at the whole thing critically or humorously. These are the kinds of stories you expect to find in a marginal tabloid not in a "respectable" news outlet.

Jeha said...

John,

From a Lebanese paranoid perspective, I could not see why Israelis would want to take over the moon; but there is water on Mars. We could spin that nicely. There are also stories about a company selling star names in the US. Maybe we can spin this in showing how godless Americans are taking over the Universe and trying to detrhone God.

fubar said...

Jeha,

Star names are sold because everyone wants to be the first star blown away with our new Star Wars weapons system. It's like playing the lottery. The winning star gets blown into tiny bits in outspace and it's namesake preserved indefinitely in the history books. Sound weird to you? Well, we like to blow stuff up. Go figure. Hey, it happens, I know of some Lebanese who like to fish with dynamite. Same principle, smaller scale.

But until the Star Wars lottery ends with a winner, we have to settle for THAAD just blowing stuff up at the edge of the atmosphere.

http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/186290.php

SCORE!

If that doesn't make your day, I'm betting fishing with dynamite doesn't peak your interest in the least. LOL

Solomon2 said...

I could not see why Israelis would want to take over the moon; but there is water on Mars. We could spin that nicely.

Something like that story has already been written: it's the future, Mars is colonized, but still imports water from Earth. One Earth politician builds his political campaign against this, claiming that water exports are the reason why farmers are experiencing drought and the economy is in recession. Proofs to the contrary don't stop the momentum of the media campaign.

The Mars settlers come up with a rather neat solution to "spin" the media in the other direction. Too bad I can't remember the title of the story or find it on Google.

ghassan karam said...

Jeha,
Since I have never been able to let sleeping dogs lie and I am fond of beating dead horses may I suggest that there is a big difference between the mindset of one group of people and another. To say that there is no such thing as a Lebanese mind or a Japanese mind etc,, but only a human mind is not credible. We are to a very large extent a product of our environment and our history. I don't believe that it is a stretch to argue that we in the 21st century think differently that our great great great grand parents. There is ample evidence that conscious experience plays a vital role in shaping the mind. Actually Jerome Bruner has written extensively about the role of education and culture in determining how we think and respond to different issues. Even the idea that the physical shape of the mind is constant has been shown to be conclusively wrong. "There is no longer any question that stimulation of various kinds actually changes brain structure and affects the way people think, and that these transformations go on thoughout life" is the way that Marc Pensky puts it in Digital Natives.

The above is not arguing that a Lebanese mind would be different than that of a British one if both are subjected to the same type of education, cultural experiences and other stimuli but it would be naieve to even hint at the possibility that the representative US individual shares the same mind shaping experiences of that of a Kenyan or a Bahraini. Of course we think differently , we are taught to hold different values and beliefs. To develop a universal mind is possible but not very highly likely in the near future. A universal mind would accompany the End of History and we know that no segment of the world can claim to be living there with the possible exception of the EU.

Jeha said...

Ghassan,

you make a helluva point. I think this goes along the nature/nurture debates. I personally think that there is a lot of evidence to support a balance between both nature and nurture. There are 3 key elements to this;

1- studies do indeed show that an infant mind is shaped by the language they hear. A french speaking baby progressively loses more ability to discern tonal nuances that a chinese baby learsn to distinguish. This is also illustrated with the trouble many Arabs have in pronoucing "p", or the habit of hebrews in turning "h" into "kh"... The brain apparently loses the ability to process those sounds.

2- This filtering has an effect of more than just sound processing. When shown a the drawing of a cube in a given context, Lebanese students tend to think "cartboard", while Americans tend to think "box"... The emphasis in one mind is on "material", while the other mind thinks about "functionality". This does have far reaching implication that we are only now beginning to comprehend, hence part of the new interest in "diverse"companies...

3- Even colour processing is affected by this, to some extent. There was a recent study that appears to discuss this, but I had no time to read in detail yet.

Still, when it comes to basic right and wrong, there is only one human mind. Countless studies have shown that most phobias (snakes, for example) and revulsions (theft, murder...) are essntially universal. In this, George Bush was right (statistically, it was bound to happen);

There is a universal sense of right and wrong... I think that this was Nadine's main point.

This truth applies across cultures, and some studies even show that this applies even in the animal kindgom. The exception is in the context of some "social studies" academic departments, especially those who strictly follow the "nurture" creed.

hezbeleb said...

you proved nothing.
General Aoun could have been talking about something completely different.
I will believe you if you showed Genearl Aoun while illustrating the picture you displayed.
As far as I am concerned you provided no proof.

Jeha said...

Jeremiah 5:21.

hezbeleb said...

I just read that tayyar.org did mention that one of the pictures they displayed was doctored.
I will assume it's the one you displayed in that little video.
It shocks me though, because it's clear to me that the picture is blatantly a fake.
Having said that, do you have any other proof that the perpetrators were not who the opposition claimed they were, or is that it???

Jeha said...

Hezbeleb,

That's not my point. My point is that they are all lying; look at the balloon story, the many pictures...

But Tayyar has done it more blantantly than others, Hezb style. And for the oppostion to complain that there are armed militias is, at best, hyprocrical; Hezb is a militia, after all, whether you call it "resistance" or otherwise.

Free Cedar said...

"Jeremiah 5:21" :)) Says it all indeed.

hezbeleb said...

Well, I see your point about Hezbollah being an armed militia, but you must admit that up to this point and I hope that it will always be that way they haven't used it for the internal struggle. You just can't ignore the strong message by Nasrallah making it a religious duty *NOT* to engage in an armed struggle.
As for the balloon story, I admit it's not solid with proofs, but it also cannot be discounted on the premise that the Zionists are the supreme liars in my books because their lies can go unchecked. So it is a charge and not a conviction.

Roman Kalik said...

Heh, Jeha, Ha'ir means "The City", and it is indeed a newspaper. But you don't have to take this lying Zionist's word for it. ;)

Jeha said...

hezbeleb,

I used to think this way, until my memory "resurfaced" and my skeptic mind came back with a vengeance... I cannot "admit that up to this point [...] they haven't used it for the internal struggle"; they did, both directly and indirectly.

Directly, they did fight during the civil war, and few of us will never forget what we've seen back then. More close to current events, they used it quite well against Christians and Sunni Moslems in Southern Lebanon. Go there, and ask the people.

Indirectly, the threat of their weapons have allowed them to push the envelope and increase their role in government. This is not to say that Shiites do not deserve their fair share, but Shiites deserve the option not be represented by Hezb.

Still, you do have a point when you say that "Zionists are the [supreme] liars"; they tend to tell a few doozies. But one should objectively so do all others; this is politics, after all. Worse, this is Middle Eastern politics. I feel that the use of the word "supreme", however, may not apply to Israelis; wouldn't a worse liar be the one who lies to his own people? In that case, our current crop of leaders would all be contenders, as shown in the video in the previous post. We have to realize that the worse modern Israeli leader has yet to massacre his OWN KIND; there was never a Hama in Israel.

In any case, the Israelis told the truth about the ballons (and a few other things). I look at hard evidence, and I analyze accordingly. In addition, I know that there are far more efficient methods to release poison gases than those crappy balloons. And far more efficient gases I can think of. 8 people? surely they have the means to kill more people.


Roman,

In Lebanese, "Ha'Ir" and "Ha'Ayr" have a sightly different meaning; "Ha'Ir" means "lowlife", and the others is more prejorative... It was the first that came to my mind when I heard the story and realized how many otherwise smart people bought into this affabulation. Has we stooped so low, are we in such "Ha'Ara", that we need to invent such stories to distract ourselves from our sorry predicament?

Leauki said...

"you must admit that up to this point and I hope that it will always be that way they haven't used it for the internal struggle."

Do you believe Hizbullah could do more damage to Lebanon by directly attacking other Lebanese than by getting the Israelis to do it?

ghassan karam said...

Hezbeleb,
Don't just dismiss a major attempt at deception and fabricating evidence by saying, "Tayyar has admited that one picture was doctored". It would be logical to assume that this evidence was doctored by Tayyar and possibly ordered by Aoun himself who was more than glad to parade it as evidence on TV. But what is even more disconcerting is your initial attempt not to even consider the evidence and later on when the party higher ups had to admit their wrong doing you still feel obliged to make light of this major event. Furthermore I would have expected Tayyar members to show some outrage when falsified evidence is used by their leadership to make a point. Actually I believe that the use of fabricated evidence is considered a punishable crime.

I would have loved to see you and others show some spine and protest the use of such unethical and immoral evidence fabricating schemes. Your silence after all is nothing short of your lending these shameful acts your full support. And that is a shame.

Roman Kalik said...

In Lebanese, "Ha'Ir" and "Ha'Ayr" have a sightly different meaning; "Ha'Ir" means "lowlife", and the others is more prejorative... It was the first that came to my mind when I heard the story and realized how many otherwise smart people bought into this affabulation. Has we stooped so low, are we in such "Ha'Ara", that we need to invent such stories to distract ourselves from our sorry predicament?

Heh, I can see how this may have led to some confusion. Still rather lame though, as even an insult on the balloons doesn't equal poison in them. ;)

And man, it's not like this is anything new. Using us Zionists to distract the local population from internal issues has been a tactic 'round these parts for several decades now. And yes, this does indeed mean that you're in deep shit. Sudan's in deeper shit though, where Al-Bashir says all them death-tolls and rapes and ethnic cleanings in Darfur are all made up by us Zionists.

Leauki said...

"Al-Bashir says all them death-tolls and rapes and ethnic cleanings in Darfur are all made up by us Zionists."

At least his victims will notive that it's not made up.

Maybe the Zionists were made up?

Anonymous said...

Jeha,

Read (if you have not already done so) Gerald Edelman's paper "naturalizing Consciousness: a theoretical framework." Your quest for universality has my deepest sympathy...I guess this is not as far a destination as some might think when we realize that "high-order consciousness" is a property of every human mind, except that this would never come only from education or experience but from learning, from active engagement with experience like the sort of things you are doing. Hats Off. Thank you.

aboujahl

Roman Kalik said...

Maybe the Zionists were made up?

Heh, had we not existed the pan-Arabist nationalists would have probably invented us. ;)

Anonymous said...

well-said Roman Kalik; this reminds me of Brecht enticing the totalitarian East-German government to reinvent or dissolve the people and its problems would be over!

aboujahl

aboujahl@gmail.com

Leauki said...

"had we not existed the pan-Arabist nationalists would have probably invented us. ;)"

I think the Zionists the nationalists have in mind have pretty much been an invention of theirs.

hezbeleb said...

"...Directly, they did fight during the civil war, and few of us will never forget what we've seen back then. More close to current events, they used it quite well against Christians and Sunni Moslems in Southern Lebanon. Go there, and ask the people...."

Jeha, I am earnest in the search for truth and I am not an apologist for Hezbollah or any other faction.
Please provide proofs about the Hezb's involvement in wars against Lebanese Christians. I have never heard of this, but I would like to find out. As for the Sunni Muslims, this claim is a bit far-fetched and can be easily rejected as mis-truth because the only major Sunni population is in Saida and Hezbollah had never had any major presence there.
Also bear in mind, that this faction had metamorphosed quite a bit and is now a different organization under the leadership of Nasrallah regardless of what you think of the man.
Still, I will not be queasy about the possibility of finding out that they have had a dirty past.
But they certainly have accumulated a bad reputation with not much evidence to back the claim such as the charge of being an international terrorist organization when the state department itself cannot provide evidence (check link).
Let's move beyond rhetoric and hearsay and anecdotes.
Let's make of an inexact science the most we can to make it quasi-exact and remove all prejudices and deal only with empirical data.

My pessimism spawned by the grim outlook of last week's events is peppered by optimism that we at least have started talking about it rather than fight.


http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/65472.pdf

Leauki said...

"But they certainly have accumulated a bad reputation with not much evidence to back the claim such as the charge of being an international terrorist organization when the state department itself cannot provide evidence"

I can. I was a student of Haifa University when Hizbullah hurled rockets at the city.

Jeha said...

Hezbeleb,

the answer to your question is right in front of you. All you have to do is look. As a (small) sample, Michael J. Totten posted about Hezb's actions at length, as an example;

http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/001373.html
http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/001369.html
http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/001362.html
http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/001363.html
http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/001367.html
http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/001369.html


I had to remove Anonymous 20:04 and 14:22. While I have no objection to "Making peace with Israel", I hate being talked down to. especially twice. Consider it my reactionary Lebanese genes at work...


aboujahl,

Thanks for the suggestion. I will ook it up.

hezbeleb said...

totten???
He was a the subject of debate on
Angryarab's blog a couple of months ago for claiming right off the bat that he's not objective when it comes to the Lebanese issue.
I ask for objectivity and you give me Totten.
Keep searching my dear compatriot.

Long live a free and peaceful Lebanon.
No war.

Jeha said...

hezbeleb,

You raise an interesting paradox; when someone claims "right off the bat that he's not objective when it comes to the Lebanese issue", he's being objective.

My suggestion that you look at MJT's website was especailly because he provided elements of the proof that you requested. Whatever one thinks of his ideas, he did a good job reporting facts that area rarely heard. I urge you not to discount him based on indirect evidence from another source, but to go straight to the horse's mouth and to make up your own mind.

I will keep searching for answers, But while I may find mine, it appears that I will never find answers that will satisfy you. I cannot force you to consider all the relevant facts.

"No war" indeed. But as long as we talk without listening, this will remain an empty slogan. Keep this in mind;

"dans un dialogue de sourds, ce sont les mains qui parlent"; Les mains, les poings, les armes...

Anonymous said...

Hezbeleb,

I think that you are a bit confused and there is no harm in that. Actually, objectivity in matters of opinion is a figment of human imagination. All is subjective, but one can be objectively (read "honest") subjective and this is what is all about people like Totten. And, before you jump to conclusions, I do not know the man nor have I ever met him...

aboujahl

hezbeleb said...

Making the claim of non-objectivity doesn't make you objective, it makes you honnest.
There's definitely a difference.
This, notwithstanding the fact that he goes on to tell lies. (There I covered my angles :) )
I have already started asking my Maronite friends here in Canada about the claims of Hezbollah attacking Christian areas in the country. So far it doesn't look good, but they are Aoun supporters.

PS: I have already visited Totten's blog once, 2 months ago and thought him a quack. I will take your advice and read him again, but I have to be really desperate for information.

hezbeleb said...

...But as long as we talk without listening, this will remain an empty slogan. Keep this in mind...

That's a very good point and I am really gaining apreciation and respect for you despite our difference of opinion. Don't underestimate this.
But what I would like to say here, is that some people have already spoken and in huge numbers. They deserve to be heard and their demands be fulfilled.
You're a man of Science and you should know better about Statistical samples. Whatever the number is of the opposition and I think it's just a touch higher than 50% (by my own estimates), it's a large enough number to be given relevance and credibility.
This only from the basis that it's a large community that chose to put its trust in a certain leader who trumpets a certain belief.
You can't force them anymore to think diffrently even if you are right.

Jeha said...

hezbeleb,

You make a good point; in all fairness, I "can't force them anymore to think diffrently even if [I am] right", but they cannot do that either.

The trouble with Hezb is that their actions violate at least 4 "principles";

1- Our modern understanding of Democracy is not centered on numbers, it is centered on pluralism and individual freedom. While numbers allow majorities to emerge or fall, and reach or lose power. In this manner, there are checks and balances in modern "representative republics". But they never, ever control everything. Being in Canada, you understand the concept of checks and balances. Without checks and balances, excesses of "number rule" can give you results where people like Hitler can be democratically elected (he was) to Chancellor, only to use the exclusive power of the government to become a dicator. Incidentally, Germany is a federation today. Incidentallt, much of today's understanding of modern democracy is inderectly derived from the reading of Thycidides' "The Pelopponesian War"

2- It is a fact that the "people have already spoken and in huge numbers", but it is also a fact that the current situation is a product of the Leaders they have trusted are the ones who cooked up this mess with Hariri and Jumblat. They are as disingeneous as the leaders they "elected"; Hariri did not bequeath us the 40 Billion debt alone. Berri, Nasrallah, Tufaili, Jouzou (he's against them this time)... all have had their share of the pie, a big share. You cannot trust the thieves of the past, only because you happen to like their present speech. There are others...

3- Hezb cannot be in a country and give his allegiance (not support) to another country, and a religious allegiance at that. The Pary Quebecois in Canada is "Souverainiste", but the highest authority is not the french president, and its ideology is not "totalitarian". Hezb cannot be ultra-sectarian and be surprised that the Druze, the Christians, the Sunnis each establish their own state...

4- There is a system in Lebanon. It is not a good system, but it can be made to work. You do not impose your will on others by blocking roads and stuff. There are ways to do it.

Jeha said...

aboujahl,

When you described objectivity as "a figment of human imagination", you were careful to point out that this was restricted to "matters of opinion".

This is a crucial distinction few ever make.

hezbeleb said...

...I "can't force them anymore to think diffrently even if [I am] right", but they cannot do that either...

That goes without saying.

I will be the first to admit that the failing of Hezbollah is its inherent deeply religious nature.
It's exclusive by its very nature.
But again they represent a major sect of a population that considers itself Lebanese.
And contrary to what most people say, their goal is not a greater Islamic Republic of Lebanon. I find that charge absurd, in that 27% of the population, which is incidentally the poorest, have such aspirations.

But I will end this discussion by saying that were it true that as you said in point 3 about their allegiance to another country, then they don't have my support.
And I am not oblivious to their Iranian military ties as well as that of the Syrians. I see it as a lifeline necessary to fight the occupation of the enemy from the south. And that's a giant topic in its own right.
Much more can be said, but I will leave it here and grant you the last word if you wish with no retort.
After all it's your blog. :)
Peace to all.