Defendant Michel Samaha and the dominant (anti -) Sunni Muslim narrative

Michel Samaha is a high profile defendant charged with serious crimes in Lebanon. He is charged with being a part of an armed criminal syndicate that planned bombings with the intention of fomenting sectarian strife in Lebanon.

 The leaked information from the secretly taped conversations reveal that he was part of a plot to assassinate the Maronite patriarch during his visit to the North- an area of Lebanon that is majority Sunni Lebanese- many of whom are struggling to survive in an area of the country that lacks the infrastructure and opportunities that other parts of the country have. The North has never received the attention it deserved because it did not border Israel, the world did not care for it- and it did not have advocates and supporters to lobby for its interests. It now gets a lot of negative attention- hardly any positive attention- even though the Prime Minister is from that part of the country. The attention the North gets now is undesirable, defamatory and contrived- the hyped and insidious cries about the "Salafist threat." The Samnaha terrorist plot was preceded with a coordinated campaign of various personalities and media outlets hyping up the Sunni "Salafist threat" in Tripoli. The media outlets involved in this campaign included al- Akhbar newspaper ( a "newspaper" whose editor Al Amin stated with zero concern about professionalism and credibility, that all it takes is for Sayed Hassan Nasrallah to whisper in his ear about something for him to do do without any thinking or reservations). So far there is nothing new in this. So what's the issue here? What is really surprising is the fact that an important part of the Samaha plot has been papered over and not given any attention by analysts and observers of the Lebanese situation.

 Simply put Samaha's involvement in the criminal plot was motivated in big part by his hatred of Sunnni Muslims. Nothing new in this hate. This is the same man who, when asked in the Aljazeera documentary interview about the massacre of Sabra and Shatila, looked straight at the camera and with the cold demeanor of an assassin justified the crime and showed zero concern for the victims of the massacre. As to the terrorist plot- This man basically said in the secretly taped conversations that if the Sunni mufti were killed and other Sunnis were killed that's fine- because "yesterday they [Sunni Muslim rebels] attacked the Christians in Aleppo."


 If Samaha's plot was targeting any other religious community in Lebanon, other than the Sunnis, we would not have heard the end of it. But because he was motivated by hatred and vindictiveness against the Sunni Muslims that somehow evaded the media and the analysts. There is a dominant narrative about the Muslim Sunnis and their being victims of vicious sectarian and confessional hatred is not allowed to be part of it. Why?

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