“Around a kitchen table in Beirut’s southern suburbs, a midlevel Hezbollah commander moved empty coffee cups and a plastic water bottle around a cell phone, demonstrating how his men repelled an assault by what he said were Islamic State fighters along Lebanon’s border with Syria……..Sporting a neatly trimmed beard, weathered face, and thick khaki cargo pants, this commander, now in his 40s, first fought for Hezbollah during the group’s operations against Israel, when small teams of fighters carried out clandestine cross-border raids. The current war he’s fighting, against rebels trying to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, is much different………. But just as Hezbollah has changed the Syrian war, the conflict has also changed Hezbollah. The organization has become much larger, and its fighters have received the training that only involvement in a long conflict can provide. But at the same time, in some ways, the party is becoming unwieldy and more vulnerable to corruption and infiltration………..”
It says: “Around a kitchen table in Beirut’s southern suburbs“: a cute American touch. Around a kitchen table in the suburbs where Hezbollah is alleged to be entrenched. There have been several of these anonymous Hezbollah blabbermouths in recent months, all eager to let it all pour out for some Western reporter who often can’t understand Arabic and can’t tell a Lebanese accent from a proverbial hole in the ground.
This Abu Ali: a cute local ethnic touch picking that name, no doubt a ‘nickname’ suggested by some amenable ‘locals’. Somehow it reminds me of Tom Friedman’s favorite Arab cab driver. Abdo in Cairo, Abed in Beirut, Abul Abed in humorless Amman (and maybe Abboudi in Baghdad and Abu Dong in Beijing).
I wonder if he was truly a forties-something Hezbollah ‘commander’ or just a pretender. I can’t imagine the Party allowing its commanders to talk openly to Western media about sensitive issues. Not even seasoned commanders. They probably suspect that some Western correspondents are Mossad agents. This ‘commander’ could be a March 14 minion, he could be Mossad, he could be a cross-dressing actress for that matter. He could be some clever Lebanese scammer doing it for the money. I am not sure, but there have been so many of these improbable blabbing ‘commanders’ of Hezbollah in Western newspapers that I take each and every one with a grain of salt. To be polite. Unless Hezbollah sent to them to implant certain ideas.
And these whistleblowers seem to only talk to Western media correspondents, mainly those hostile to Hezbollah.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum