Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Haret Hreik Rehabilitiation Hindered by Hizballah

At the height of the July War this blog came into being with a series of posts that attempted to outline the corrosive nature of Hizballah's monopoly over the Shiite sect, and the need for the government and civil society as a whole to take strong, decisive action to put an end to the extra-institutional state the group has been operating in Lebanon for approximately two decades now.

This action would be centered around the massive destruction and devastation wrought on the predominantly Shiite regions and neighborhoods, and particularly on the need to rebuild those areas while integrating them into the wider Lebanese social, economic, and institutional fabric allthewhile weaning them off of the Hizballah state. It wouldn't be easy, I wrote at the time, Hizballah would rally all of its facilities to prevent this integration and to ensure that its community would remain steadfastly in its grip.

Today, almost 2 weeks before the 1 year anniversary of the operation that launched a war fought on behalf of others and paid for only by us, the Shiite community of Haret Hreik, and the rest of the Hizballah controlled southern suburbs of the country's capital, are once again firmly in the grip of the organization and militia which has delivered them so much death and destruction.

The New Opinion Workshop (NOW) published today an exposee of sorts on efforts by a variety of Lebanese and International architects to present a plan to enhance the quality of life in the southern suburbs and integrate its residents within the wider Lebanese community, through the ongoing reconstruction projects. The architects were brought together through a community project launched at the American University of Beirut (AUB) and aimed at providing the residents of the southern suburbs a say in the way their neighborhoods would be rebuilt and a forum of expertise which could help them realize these plans outside of the choking political and social hegemony imposed by Hizballah.

The plan delivered by the AUB Reconstruction Unit, lies on the desks of numerous Hizballah - and its Jihad al Bina reconstruction off-shoot - officials' desks collecting dust. Officials who with the help of Iranian funds, community roots, and plain and simple intimidation, have managed to acquire nearly exclusive control over reconstruction efforts in the affected neighborhoods - doing so through a collective acquisition of powers of attorney for the land deeds held by the residents of those areas.

Needless to say any and all of the suggestions provided in the Unit's report have been rejected. According to those Hizballah officials interviewed by NOW, the reasons behind the rejection lie in the time-frame put forward by the Unit. Those involved in the community project, however, disagreed:
Ghandour [of the AUB Reconstruction group] thinks that the real reason behind Hezbollah’s unwillingness to incorporate their proposal was mainly because they do not want anyone else to intervene in the Dahiyeh. “They probably want to keep their full control over the area, and allowing other groups to participate in the process could weaken their authority,” he said.
No matter the reason, the cost of the continued isolation and hegemony Hizballah imposes on this vital and vibrant community will continue to be felt in Lebanon and the Shiite community for generations to come. Generations whose social and national outlook will be shaped by the events of today.


  1. Hizbollah cannot be allowed to control any area in Lebanon. The government, and more importantly the people, need to take control of their country. Things will only get worse before they get better. However, to get better the people have to have the resolve to head in that direction.

  2. Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 06/27/2007
    A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the check back often.

  3. valiumjunky7:30 PM

    Hizbollah didnt like the word 'American' in the AUB. Just change the name to Revolution University of Beirut and its recommendations will be looked upon more favorably. Whats in a name?

  4. Red White and Green1:19 AM

    Hizballah think they're so special but they're not, the Lebanese Forces of Samir Geagea formed a resistance against Syria, and represented the Christian community. Even they gave in their weapons for the better of the country.

    Hizballah is nothing in front of Lebanon. If they want to be part of Lebanon then they should put it ahead of themselves.

    Give in your weapons!!!!

  5. Anonymous11:52 AM

    Dear Jade,

    I went back to the article you refer to on the New Opinion Workshop website and I could not find in the article the quotation you have referred to regarding the AUB Reconstruction Unit's (AUB-RU) group stand on the political issues, since AUB-RU believes that its project aims to involve the public in the reconstruction debate with no intention to politicize its vision for such an initiative. Kindly check back the article to keep your audience well-informed.

    Thank you.

  6. Yeah you're right anonymous, looks like they re-edited the article and revealed that Ghandour is actually not part of the AUB-RU but a contributing editor and architect.

    The quote I put up was replaced with:

    Marwan Ghandour, one of the report editors and an architect at Bawader Architects, thinks that planning authorities, including Hezbollah, usually do not like to leave things unfinished but would like to have full control over the results...


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