Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Did they or didn't they?

In what can only be described as a confused and confusing story, Reuters correspondent Andrew Quinn reports on the apparent transfer of Scud missiles from Syria to Hezbollah cites a statement by the US State Department yesterday:
"The United States condemns in the strongest terms the transfer of any arms, and especially ballistic missile systems such as the SCUD, from Syria to Hezbollah," the statement, issued by State Department spokesman Gordon Duguid, said.
Quinn follows with:
The U.S. statement stopped short of confirming the alleged transfer of long-range Scud missiles to Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas, which if true could cast doubt on U.S. President Barack Obama's diplomatic outreach to Syria.
Is it just us, or does the statement by Duguid speak for itself?

And in a related story, Reuters Special Propagandist Correspondent Alistair Lyon runs interference for Hezbollah by suggesting that the Scud is an "unlikely choice" for a "nimble guerrilla outfit".  Lyon cherry-picks quotes from various "specialists" and "experts" who of course, concur -- with no mention of the fact that Hezbollah itself has refused to deny its acquisition of the missiles.  

Lyon then demonstrates his craft:
Israeli warplanes fly daily into Lebanese airspace, although the border has been mostly quiet since the 2006 war, with U.N. and Lebanese army troops patrolling an enclave where Hezbollah has no visible armed presence. Israel complains the peacekeepers do too little to prevent the Shi'ite guerrillas from rearming.
Note the declarative statement of Israeli military surveillance combined with the cagey characterization, "Hezbollah has no visible armed presence" along with a mere allegation ("Israel complains") that UN peacekeepers have failed to prevent Hezbollah from rearming [italics ours].  As the AP reports, Hezbollah itself has admitted rearming to the tune of tens of thousands of missiles aimed at Israel.  The US Pentagon has confirmed the rearming.

Lyon reports out of Beirut so we understand why he might be concerned with a casus belli provided to Israel by Hezbollah and the Lebanese government but that is no excuse for shoddy, partisan reporting.

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