Brit Ambassador Praises Hizbullah Leader

July 9th, 2010 at 3:16 pm | 9 Comments |

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Following CNN’s sacking of Octavia Nasr for expressing admiration for the Lebanese Grand Ayatollah Fadlallah, who passed away recently, it has emerged that an even more gushing eulogy was made by Frances Guy, the British Ambassador to Lebanon, who described the Ayatollah as a “decent man”, who rated among the people she admired most.

In her official blog on the UK Embassy’s website, following the Ayatollah’s death, Guy said she was sad at his passing and wrote:

The world needs more men like him willing to reach out across faiths, acknowledging the reality of the modern world and daring to confront old constraints.

She continued that:

When you visited him you could be sure of a real debate, a respectful argument and you knew you would leave his presence feeling a better person.

For those that need refreshing, the Ayatollah was instrumental in creating the terrorist group Hizbullah and was considered its spiritual leader.  He was a renowned Holocaust denier, supported suicide attacks against Israel and was the mastermind of the 1983 Beirut bombing which killed almost 250 U.S. servicemen.

CNN ought to be acknowledged for swiftly, and rightly, sacking Nasr, whose credibility it said had been compromised.  The British Foreign Ministry however, has not been as willing to censure Guy, who simply just had her blog taken down and said that the comments reflected Ms. Guy’s personal opinion, not official UK policy. The Ambassador, however, an experienced diplomat and official representative of the United Kingdom, ought to have known better and the Foreign Ministry ought to have recalled her to London and dismissed her from her post immediately.

One would have to wonder whether Ambassador Guy would have been equally willing to praise and eulogize the Ayatollah as a ‘decent man’ were it British citizens who were the subject of Hizbullah’s terrorist attacks?

(Although Ambassador Guy’s blog has been removed by the Foreign Ministry, a copy of her original blog can be found here.)

Recent Posts by Arsen Ostrovsky

9 Comments so far ↓

  • Danny_K

    The guy was a spiritual leader to Lebanese Shiites, who are a large and important part of Lebanon’s ethnic jigsaw puzzle. It seems to me that the ambassador was being, well, diplomatic. Which is in her job description. Why should she avoid doing her job because of things that happened to third countries?

    For those who would like to know more about him, there’s an interesting article by Juan Cole:

  • ktward

    For those that need refreshing, the Ayatollah was instrumental in creating the terrorist group Hizbullah and was considered its spiritual leader.

    There is nothing that is simple where Jewish/Arab ME relations are concerned, and I am immediately skeptical of any voice which attempts to paint a simplified picture. As does this Ostrovsky. Repeatedly. (And Frum himself, for that matter.)

    The Ostrovsky author of this column brings to mind another Ostrovsky I am more, historically, familiar with (I’ve no idea if they’re related):
    By way of comparison, I’ve found it fascinating that Frum/AEI love to highlight the ‘death fatwa’ on Ayaan Hirsi Ali in their anti-Arab propaganda, but [suspiciously] fail to mention the Mossad’s long and notorious reputation for ‘zero tolerance’ [think the A word, and I don't mean a**hole] when it comes to dissenting voices among their own.

    Something to keep in mind:
    “When a Jew, in America or in South Africa, talks to his Jewish companions about ‘our’ government, he means the government of Israel.”
    - David Ben-Gurion, Israeli Prime Minister

    But I digress.
    Back to discussing the point of this particular Ostrovsky’s opinion.

    Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah was regarded as Hezbollah’s spiritual guide after its founding in 1982, something they both denied.

    But he was known among Shias for his moderate social views.
    He held particularly progressive views on the role of women in Islamic society.

    In his later years, Fadlallah distanced himself from Hezbollah over the group’s links to Iran, but remained an outspoken critic of US policy in the Middle East and of Israel.

    He welcomed the election of Barack Obama as US president in 2008, but last year expressed disappointment with his lack of progress in the Middle East, saying he appeared to have no plan to bring peace to the region.

    Seriously. Does this sound like an extremist that supported terrorism and terrorist acts?
    No wonder UK Ambassador Guy thought highly of him.

    Then again, Fadlallah was both an Arab and a Muslim religious leader.
    So it should come as zero surprise that FF–along with every other zionist entity in the world–would resort to their standard anti-Arab/Muslim spin.

  • ktward

    @Danny K

    Excellent article, thanks for the link.

    [Fadlallah] recently decried US military operations in Pakistan and Afghanistan. He opposed Bush’s invasion of Iraq, and even denounced the concluding of a status of forces agreement between Iraq and the White House, on the grounds that it legitimized the US presence in Iraq. He denounced Arab countries for failing to respond vocally to the Israeli assault on a humanitarian aid flotilla on May 31, and called for an end to the Israeli blockade of Gaza. He preached Sunni-Shiite unity and warned that the disunity of Muslims made imperialism in Muslim lands possible. He is said to have gone to his death hoping for the collapse of Israel.

    Within sophisticated geo-political thought, nearly every part of the above is not only understandable, but completely defensible. The last sentence excepted, which is understandable but hardly defensible.

    Worth the clicks to read in their entirety:

    Admittedly, US policymakers have typically not been players in the arcane world of Shiite clerical politics. How ironic, though, that Fadlallah – a man who Washington labeled a terrorist in 1995 – stood as the last bulwark against near total Iranian hegemony in Lebanon.


    [Fadlallah] took a strong stand on many women’s issues, and set up a number of women’s centres.

    Some of the fatwas (religious edicts) he issued were against female circumcision and “honour” killings, and he ruled that women had the right to hit back if beaten by their husbands. He also opined that abortion could be permitted in cases where a woman’s health was at risk.

  • A Bit of Reason

    Right, so provided they attack Jews or the State of Israel…then that’s ok? It doesn’t matter that he supposedly had some ‘progressive views’, he still advocated the killing of innocent people. I’m sure bin Laden has some kind of social policy in place in Afghanistan. Would you be eulogising him too?

  • ktward

    ABoR: [S]o provided they attack Jews or the State of Israel…then that’s ok?

    Get a grip. I implied no such nonsense. I was simply sketching out a broader perspective than did Ostrovsky, specifically relative to his indictment of UK Ambassador Guy’s statements on Fadlallah.

    Like the author, you seem myopically bent on over-simplifying ME events to fit a narrow and altogether worn-out narrative. (Basically: Israel good, Arabs bad.)

    I don’t know much about Guy–can’t say I know much about any UK Ambassadors–but I suspect the West is fortunate to have a Stateswoman that can see past her own sphincter in such a uniquely sensitive region of the world.

  • msmilack

    Perhaps he was a decent man and though he represents the enemy to those who are upset at that eulogy, surely they can open their hearts and minds to realize that a person is more than one dimension: from what I have read of him, he was a very decent man who deserved respect despite being on the other side of the current conflict. Why does this have to be a contradiction?

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  • ktward

    msmilack: … though [Fadlallah] represents the enemy to those who are upset at that eulogy …

    Mine was hardly a ‘eulogy’– a nonsensical characterization born of ABoR’s myopic ideologies.

    I would never even attempt to simplify the centuries-old complexities of ME relations, but I might certainly simplify the aims of contemporary Zionist partisan factions and their global sympathizers:

    - Every single policy or action that Israel employs, without question or critical examination, is good.

    - Conversely, Arabs and, especially Muslims, are evil. Everything they do is driven by a compulsion to do evil upon the world, especially upon Israel. (Nevermind *any* geo-political history and relevant events.)

    - Any Jewish voice/org that dissents from the above is self-hating. Any non-Jewish voice/org that dissents from the above is anti-Semitic.

    I think that pretty much covers it.

  • realitycheck

    Rule #1: You must blindly support anything Israel ever does 100% and immediately reject anyone who criticizes Israel in any way, shape or form.