The following report is now a complimentary offering from MEMRI's Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM). For JTTM subscription information, click here.
The harsh criticism of Hizbullah and the damage it is causing to the country leveled by U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Dorothy Shea in an interview with the Saudi-owned Al-Hadath TV channel on June 26, 2020,[i] has sparked outrage among members of the organization and its supporters in Lebanon. Member of Parliament Hassan Fadlallah from Hizbullah's Loyalty to Resistance faction described it as, "flagrant aggression against the sovereignty of our country and its national dignity, the things it holds sacred and the blood of its martyrs."[ii] Hassan 'Izz Al-Din, another Member of Parliament from the same faction, stressed that Shea's words were very dangerous, verging on incitement and in violation of diplomatic etiquette.[iii] A court in Tyre even banned local and foreign media outlets in the country from interviewing Shea,[iv] a decision which also triggered controversy over freedom of speech in the country and led Muhammad Mazeh, Judge of Urgent Matters in Tyre, to submit his resignation.
Shea as Ambassador of the Devil in Lebanon
Hizbullah supporters on Twitter were harsher in their reactions to Ambassador Shea's comments. Numerous tweets were published under the hashtag #Sheawehaven't yetturnedthepage, criticizing the ambassador and threatening the U.S. Embassy. Many supporters posted an image of Shea as a devil with the caption: "Ambassador of the Devil in Lebanon."[v]
Hizbullah supporters posted the above image of Ambassador Shea with the caption: Ambassador of the Devil in Lebanon.
Another picture of Shea featured under the same hashtag included the word "Insolence" in English and Arabic. Twitter user Hadhoud…313 published the image with the following text: "We are not your proteges and we never will be. We are not for sale. We were born from the womb of the rebels in [the Battle of] Karbala of Hussein,[vi] we fly the flag of resistance to oppression… We will be free men in this world and martyrs in our deaths."[vii]
And yet another image depicts Shea with a forked snake's tongue and the Arabic caption: "Godmother of the Internal Wars."[viii]
Threats against the U.S. Embassy in Beirut
Threats were made against the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, often accompanied by photographs of the ruins of Multi-National Force bases in Beirut which were destroyed in terrorist attacks in 1983, in which 305 people were killed, most of them Americans.[ix]
Twitter user @emansamadi95 also posted images of demolished buildings with the text: "Soon, urgently: the American Embassy in Beirut will be destroyed again."[x]
Twitter user @saramedlej3 posted a 1983 article from The Washington Post about the terrorist attacks, writing in English: "If you interference (sic) in our affairs, we will burn and detonate your Embassy."[xi]
Twitter user @Ramy16294423 posted a photograph of President Reagan and his wife Nancy paying their last respects to those killed in the attack.[xii]
Twitter user @mutihmubarak posted a photograph of an American flag in flames.[xiii]
[i] See the clip from MEMRI TV: U.S. Ambassador To Lebanon Dorothy Shea: Hizbullah Is A Terrorist Organization That Has Siphoned Off Billions Of Government Funds; It Destabilizes Lebanon; The Interview Led To A Judicially Imposed Media Ban On Shea, June 27, 2020.
[ii] Aljoumhouria.com, June 28, 2020
[iii] Alahednews.comlb, June 30, 2020.
[iv] Arabi21.com, June 27, 2020.
[v] Twitter.com/ahmad_tlice, June 29, 2020.
[vi] In Shi'ite Islam, the Battle of Karbala signals the beginning of the veneration of martyrs.
[vii] Twitter.com/HadhoudHusein, June 29, 2020.
[viii] Twitter.com/Saad99719145, June 29, 2020.
[ix] Twitter.com/alihamze01, June 29, 2020.
[x] Twitter.com/emansamadi95, June 29, 2020.
[xi] Twitter.com/saramedlej3, June 29, 2020.
[xii] Twitter.com/Ramy16294423, June29, 2020.
[xiii] Twitter.com/mutihmubarak, June 29, 2020.