Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Telephones, Missiles, Land, and all...

As the discovery of a land-based telecommunications infrastructure – illegally operated by Hizballah in complete independence from that of the Lebanese state - continues to reverberate through Lebanese political and security circles, the UK's Sunday Telegraph this week exposed further evidence of a Hizballah "land-grab" and construction frenzy north of the Litani river aimed restoring the group’s missile-launching capabilities and, some suspect, implement far-reaching demographical displacements facilitated by last summer’s devastating July War.

Of Missiles and Men (with Beards)

The story was first reported by Nicolas Blanford in the Christian Science Monitor (CSM) back in February of this year. Several months after that report, a BBC2 video-documentary of Hizballah activity and sentiment in Lebanon revealed further evidence of bunker and missile-pad building by the group. According to the Hizballah gunmen who detained and interrogated the crew outside one such construction site, however, the group was simply building nectarine orchards (queue the laughter).

And while all three pieces have spoken highly of the assiduity with which the UNIFIL command and troops have approached their mandate south of the Litani (to the extent of driving Hizballah and their rocket-men north of the infamous river), they have also contained blistering indictments of the Lebanese Army and its lack of determination at controlling the Iranian-backed guerilla group. An example being the BBC’s documentary-reporter’s observation that:
“All around, the Lebanese Army was manning roadblocks with an unusual alacrity, but leaving the final decision as to who they should let through to a number of other bearded gentlemen, also dressed in black and who carried Motorola walkie-talkies.”
Highway to Heaven

As to claims that Hizballah is engaged in a wide-reaching demographical project financed primarily by Iran and fronted by one Ali Tajeddine, the evidence is building.

As a matter of principle, noone in Lebanon should have the right of dictating where any Lebanese can or can't live, no matter their religious beliefs. But then again, there is very little in common between a Shiite family buying a house in a Christian village in the south (or vice versa) and the large-scale land purchases being undertaken by a Shiite-businessman with strong links to Hizballah and rumoured financial backing from Iran, the large-scale deplacement of Hizballah-loyal Shiites into the properties purchased by this man, and the massive military build-up that has seemed to follow his land purchases north of the Litani in a sweeping motion connecting the country's Shiite population bases.

And connecting they are, as this quote from Levinson's blog-post on the same subject details:
"It’s a massive at least four lane wide asphalt autostrade [highway] stretching from the Hezbollah stronghold of Nabbatiye north east into the Western Bekaa. There was no comparable road project anywhere in the south that I saw. Every few hundred feet along the new road, banners proclaim the project has been funded by 'The Iranian Organization for Sharing in the Building of Lebanon'.

It should be noted that similar banners are all over the south, but we were still puzzled by the scope of the project in an area one would have least expected it based on which areas were most damaged last year".
More interesting than the alacrity with which this 'divine' highway is being built, however, is the alacrity with which the plan was put into action. Only one year after Hizballah launched the war which resulted in the massive internal displacements used to populate the villages and land plots it continues to develop alongside (or above) its missile bunkers north of the Litani; Only one year after it unilaterally sabotaged the National Dialogue efforts which, as a concession in themselves, were supposed to deliver to the group an extra-institutional medium with which it could negotiate national issues in good faith (instead it unilaterally started a war); Hizballah continues to run Lebanese territory as its own, without any recourse to the democratic and constitutional institutions on which this country was founded and, more importantly, on which any viable future for the country must depend.


4 comments:

  1. Don Cox4:22 PM

    Lebanon and Palestine are now both divided into two states - the Iranian-backed one and the other. It is interesting that the Zionists began their move into Palestine by peacefully buying up land at high prices. The method seems to work.

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  2. It is quite sad that the dearly beloved Hizbullah are commonly misunderstood not only in Lebanon but all over the world. These construction projects in the south are simply to rebuild the communities that Christians and Muslims both alike share peacfully. Further: the efforts by Hizbullah to plant crops should be commended as their aims are to provide food for the poor and displaced who were bombed out by silly Israelies simply because the dearly beloved Hizbullah chose to defend Lebanon in the name of ALL Lebanese. Funny? No. The scary part is people do think like this, not only your common brainwashed Hizbullah flag-waving nut, but people with 9 to 5 jobs.

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  3. Don: You're right on both counts.

    Both through Hamas (which has been receiving Iranian funding for some years now and whose head is based in Damascus) and through Hizballah, Iran has been able to project its regional agenda and use both the Palestinian cause and Lebanese lives for its own ends. As Iran's primary ally in the region, Syria has both facilitated and benefitted from those moves.

    With respect to Hizballah's movement into areas in which it previously didn't exist, the issue is a little more subtle. As I mentioned in the post itself, there shouldn't be any barriers to any Lebanese owning land or living in any part of the country he wishes. This point is one worth repeating given the geographical segregation that accompanied the sectarian war waged in the country throughout the 70's and 80's.

    On the other hand, the fact is that Hizballah, through its doctrine and its operations, currently stands as an extension of the theological (autocratic) regime in Tehran. Given that Iranian money is being used to buy Lebanese land (no matter the guise provided by Mr. Tajeddine) on which military and civilian settlements are being constructed -in a effort to continue and enhance the policy projections discussed in the paragraph above - leaves little doubt as to the "Perso-Zionism" to which Hizballah is a party.

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  4. Templar:

    You're sarcasm is much welcomed!

    I made quick use of it in my most recent post.

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