First the Saudis tell us we have to close our schools a day early.
Now I find out the Iranians are messing with Dearborn’s army.
Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, is firing Dearborn’s maximum leader, Secretary-General Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, from running Hezbollah’s military wing, and giving his spot to deputy chief Sheikh Naim Qasim. ("Khamenei appoints Qassem as Hezbollah military commander").
The Iranians say Nasrallah will still be in charge of Hezbollah intelligence, but who are they kidding?
As if there’s anything else to run in Hezbollah but the military wing. As if all those charitable contributions collected from Dearborn residents, and all that money being laundered and sent to Lebanon at risk of criminal prosecution, has any other purpose than supporting Hezbollah’s military wing. You may as well demote the Postmaster and say he’s not in charge of mail delivery any more, but he can still handle the Human Relations Department.
Dearborn residents are very proud of Hezbollah. We witnessed that last July, when, as the IDF was delivering a serious pounding to Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon, “About half of Dearborn’s Arab community turned out" for rallies in enthusiastic support of Hezbollah--and Nasrallah ("Lebanese-Americans Are Angry and Anxious"):
College-age men asked, in call and response fashion, “Who is your army?” Protestors responded: “Hezbollah.” “Who is your leader?” they were asked. “Nasrallah,” the chanters responded. Many carried placards of the Hezbollah leader. A few days earlier at an even larger demonstration, more than 15,000 turned out, about half of Dearborn's Arab community.
Even Houssein Zorkot, the young man now in so much trouble for dressing up in black face and using Dearborn’s Hemlock Park to practice Hezbollah training with a loaded AK-47, was inspired by Nasrallah, whose picture adorns Zorkot's pro-Hezbollah website.
How exactly did this happen?
Details are still sketchy, but it appears that Iran (which we all know has a strict policy of respecting the internal affairs neighboring states), sent a senior intelligence officer, accompanied by master terrorist and Hezbollah leader, Imad Mugniyah, to Beirut a couple weeks ago, along with a wagonload of Revolutionary Guards. (“Iranian intelligence official visits Lebanon”).
Mugniyah's name may sound familiar. According to reports he:
has been implicated in the 1983 bombings of the U.S. Embassy in Beirut , and U.S. Marine and French peacekeeping barracks, which killed over 350, as well as the 1992 bombings of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires . He was also linked to numerous kidnappings of Westerners in Beirut through the 1980s, most notably that of Terry Anderson. Some of these individuals were later killed such as U.S. Army Col William Francis Buckley.” He is also currently Hezbollah Chief of Operations and “will continue to act as liaison between Hizbullah, the Palestinians, Iranian intelligence and the Revolutionary Guards.
(“Report: Nasrallah replaced as head of Hizbullah military wing”).
As reported by, Asharq al-Awsat, the pan-Arab daily, the Iranian decision to interfere in Lebanon's Hezbollah operations
was taken in light of a report presented by a team from the Intelligence apparatus of the Revolutionary Guards that had visited Lebanon to assess the status of Hezbollah’s military and its capabilities.
It quoted a revolutionary Guards officer in the Bekaa Valley as saying “intense differences” between Qassem and Nasrallah on “destiny issues related to the party’s military wing … led to the interference by Khamenei’s office to re-organize Hezbollah’s command structure.”
It's also notable from where details of the shakeup are leaking: from “sources within the liaison and recruitment office of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards based in Lebanon,” suggesting Hezbollah may be having a recruitment problem. Additional Iranian action includes this:
The unnamed source said Hezbollah’s annual budget of 400 million dollars was raised to over one billion dollars in the past 18 months to compensate for the losses sustained during the 34-day war with Israel in the summer of 2006.
Which indicates last year's Divine Victory by Hezbollah over Israel wiped out Hezbollah's budget, and then some. Imagine the cost if Hezbollah lost.
Fortunately, Dearborn’s Lebanese Arabs, in fact, all the world’s Lebanese Arabs, have gotten used to taking orders from non-Lebanese authorities--most notably in recent times the Syrians, and, obviously, the Iranians. And I suppose that, in spite of losing the charismatic Nasrallah, the important main thing is that Hezbollah is still there, defending Lebanon against Israel and providing social services to the poor. (“They're Muslims, And Yankees, Too”)
I believe in no time Dearborn’s Lebanese Shias will manage to transfer their loyalties to the new Hezbollah top man, so that next time there's any need to show how much Dearborn admires Hezbollah, we'll see some nice posters of Qasim. If he doesn't het himself fired, too.