Today, I’m adding a new entry to my blog list:
Michael Totten is a freelance blogger/journalist who covers the Middle East from Lebanon. In a recent article in The Jerusalem Post:
He spent time in Lebanon and Israel during and after last year’s war, and has met with many of the leaders of sects and parties in Lebanon, including Hizbullah.
Totten raises money from readers and publishes dispatches from the Middle East on his Web site, michaeltotten.com.
With the financial help of his readers, Totten moved to Beirut to blog from the ground. He is distinct among bloggers in that he supports himself through blogging, and has a dedicated following across the political spectrum. Â
I’ve seen Totten on the web before, but he somehow slipped off my ‘radar screen’. However, The Jerusalem Post article reignited my interest – mainly because of his analysis of Hizbullah:
Hizbullah says they want to continue their “resistance” against Israel indefinitely. Most, if not all, their weapon stocks depleted from the war in July have been replenished from Iran via Syria. Hizbullah requires an open-ended war with Israel as an excuse to exist as an illegal militia and a parallel government, a state within a state. They would have to disarm and evolve into a mainstream political party like everyone else if their war with Israel were to come to an end. So they need the war, even if the war injures them terribly, because war gives them power over other Lebanese sects and political parties. Peace with Israel is Hizbullah’s worst nightmare.
That is a cogent and thoughtful analysis. I would like everyone to understand this.
Some people derive their power from what they want to create, from what they want to build. But, there are those who derive their power from what they want to destroy, from what they want to tear down.
ThinkÂ of the distinction asÂ one way to tell the difference between the civilized and the barbarian.
But, let’s get back to why Michael Totten is a good guy to keep track of. He has personally met with the leadership of Hizbullah, and was asked what he thought of them. He said:
It’s nice to see someone who is willing to tell it like it is.Â HeÂ also offers some observations that the Israeli Intelligence community would do well to listen to:Â
Hizbullah is as strong, or at least nearly as strong, as they were last July. Iran and Syria will continue supplying Hizbullah until they fear the consequences of continuing their support or until no one in Lebanon is willing to receive their support. Right now everyone who dies because of Syrian and Iranian support for Hizbullah is Lebanese or Israeli. They have no reason to stop until that equation is altered.Â
The current Minister of Defense, Amir Peretz, would do well to listen, which he obviously isn’t, but that’s a story for another time.
Here’s another insightful comment by Totten. When asked about Iran’s role in Lebanon, he says:
Hizbullah is a creation of and proxy for Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
The Iranian regime is Hizbullah’s primary patron and armorer. Syria acts as a logistical middle man, basically, between Teheran and South Lebanon. The Iranian regime projects military power beyond its borders more than any other state in the Middle East. Hizbullah is Iran’s imperial project in Lebanon, their base so to speak in the Levant.
The Iranians are primarily interested in using Hizbullah as a weapon against Israel while the Syrians are primarily interested in using Hizbullah as a weapon against Lebanon.Â Â
That is a comment that should tellÂ you something aboutÂ the direction of Iran’s interest, and where Iran could take that interest. The world should sit up and take notice, but hasn’t.
We’ll certainly be talking more about Hizbullah in the future, but for the moment, add Michael J. Totten to your list of blogs to pay attention to.
You can find him here: http://www.michaeltotten.com/