Friday, March 02, 2007

First Rule in Real Estate or War: 'location, location, location'

As comes as no surprise to us at DU, Lebanon’s Hezbollah has lost no time replenishing its stocks of weapons since the September cease-fire with Israel, and hardening its military capacity for its coveted next war with its neighbor to the south. The cease-fire has been no hindrance to re-armament, since Hezbollah refused to be a party to the cease-fire that forced Israel’s withdrawal last September. Israel’s withdrawal came far short of its war goal of destroying the Party of God, insuring that sooner or later, there will be another war.

What is a surprise is that the expanded UNIFIL, and the Lebanese armed forces sent into southern Lebanon actually have precluded Hezbollah from operating in the south. This was unexpected to me, but I make no pretense of being an expert on Lebanon. Still, "When asked what action he would take in the event of renewed fighting between Hezbollah and Israel, former UNIFIL chief Alain Pellegrini said he would “beg” the parties to stop. Thus, if Hezbollah reignites the conflict with Israel, it is clear that neither UNIFIL nor the Lebanese Armed Forces will stand in its way." (“Hezbollah’s Continuing Work”).

Our interest in Hezbollah is that so many of our fellow townsmen in Dearborn consider the head of the Party of God, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, to be "Our Leader." Hezbollah's deputy chief is also warning that it may attack Israel in the event of US military action against Iran, Hezbollah's puppetmaster.

Almost immediately after the cease-fire ending the war between Israel and Hezbollah we saw how Hezbollah rushed into the destroyed villages and supplanted legitimate service organizations such as the Red Cross to become the sole source handing out other people’s money to buy up the heart and minds of dispossessed Lebanese. (“Hezbollah amassing real estate north of Lebanon’s Litani river").

They’ve kept at this strategy, as recently noted in a report from National Review Online, (“Hezbollah’s Continuing Work”). I find especially interesting Hezbollah’s land-acquisition program:

Huge gains have been made during the course of the reconstruction efforts as well. Amid the rubble of Beirut’s southern suburbs, Hezbollah has seized a golden opportunity to purchase real estate through questionable transactions in which it has coerced residents to sell their property and negotiate exclusively with the its representatives. These large tracts of land, which are already under construction, will be developed into parks, mosques, and community centers owned and operated by Hezbollah’s social-welfare machine. Throughout this process of rebuilding and expanding its unofficial capital neither the government nor the local community was able to exert any influence.

Hezbollah has been able to snatch up so much land in part thanks to a particular benefactor, a Shiite businessman named Ali Tajiddine, who traded diamonds in West Africa before branching out into property development and construction, “snapping up vast tracts of land in the district from impoverished Christian and Druze property holders.” ("Hezbollah amassing real estate north of Lebanon’s Litani river").

Walid Jumblatt, leader of Lebanon’s Druze, and an outspoken opponent of Hezbollah, says that Tajiddine is distributing funds provided by Iran. He also says the object is “to create a Shiite belt spanning the northern bank of the Litani, allowing Hezbollah freedom to operate while severing Christian and Druze districts from each other.” Jumblatt aslo says “the state of Hezbollah is already in existence in south Lebanon." (“Jumblatt: The state of Hezbollah is already in south Lebanon”).

Hezbollah spokesmen deny this, of course. But at least one Arabic newspaper, Al Hadath,

“has revealed a secret map of the Canton that Hezbollah intends to declare as a Shiite enclave which stretches from Northern Litani river to the north of the Bekaa region reaching as far as Akkar in the north.

“The Map according to Al Hadath was obtained from British Parliamentarian sources , but the newspaper did not name the sources.

“According to the British sources, Hezbollah plans to officially declare the canton as soon as the Lebanese decide to disarm Hezbollah based on UN resolution 1559.

“The size and shape of the canton was agreed upon by Iran with recommendations from Syria. “This perhaps explains why Hezbollah is amassing real estate north of the Litani river and why Walid Jumblatt is questioning this move.

“Several reports circulated in Iran and Lebanon during the summer which revealed the desire of Iran’s supreme leader to declare an Islamic republic in Lebanon . Some reports even suggested that the Iranian leader already ordered Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah to declare the establishment of the Islamic state soonest [sic] possible regardless of its size.”

DU is unable to confirm rumors about a commercial running on Dearborn’s cable-access channels, advertising the amenities of a community to be known as Katyusha Crossing. We're sure each home will come with plenty of storage, for hiding Hezbollah munitions, and with game rooms in every communal bunker, for the next time Hezbollah tries to test itself against Israel.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How scary and sad for those citizens of Lebanon, both Christain and Muslim, who truly do want to live and raise their families in a peaceful, secure and democratic country. It now seems so tenuous for them.