All over the hills of south Lebanon hundreds of men like Sayed Ali and his comrades are waiting - some in bunkers, some in farm houses - for the Israeli troops to arrive...You might not have the stomach to read it all now, so put it aside for later.
[Someone] explains how Hizbullah teaches its fighters patience: "During our training we spend days in empty buildings without talking to anyone or doing anything. They tell me go and sit in that building, and I go and sit there and wait."
According to Ali, Hizbullah operates as "a state within the state", with its own hospitals, social organisations and social security system. "But we are also an Islamic resistance movement, an indoctrinated army," he adds. "I would go and knock the door at someone and say we need $50,000, he would give me [that] because they trust us."
Hizbullah prides itself on its secretiveness and discipline. "We don't take anyone who knocks at our door and says 'I want to join'. We raise our fighters. We take them when they are young kids and raise them to become Hizbullah fighters. Every fighter we have believes that the ultimate form of being is martyrdom.
Shia symbols and mythology play a big role in the ideology of Hizbullah... "Every one of those fighters is a true believer, he has been not only trained to use guns and weapons but [indoctrinated] in the Shia faith and the Husseini beliefs," Ali says.
He and his fellow fighters have been preparing for the latest conflict with the Israelis for years and he acknowledges the support received from Iran.
And even when the battle with the Israelis is over, he adds menacingly, Hizbullah will have other battles to fight. "The real battle is after the end of this war. We will have to settle scores with the Lebanese politicians. We also have the best security and intelligence apparatus in this country, and we can reach any of those people who are speaking against us now. Let's finish with the Israelis and then we will settle scores later. .."
The latest conflict is a war of survival not only for Hizbullah but for the whole Shia community. It is not only a war with Israel, their enemy for decades, but also with the Sunni community. Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt have all expressed fears of Iranian domination over the Middle East...
Even if the international community calls on Hizbullah to disarm as part of a peace deal, he and his men will not lay down their arms...
Monday, July 31, 2006
31-Jul-06: Additional Reasons Never to Turn Your Back on these Thugs
Patience, an almost incomprehensible degree of religious fanaticism, astonishing brutality, and a very long-range plan. Some highlights from an unusually revealing profile of Hezbollah in Saturday's Guardian, "As the shells fall around them, Hizbullah men await the Israelis" by Ghaith Abdul-Ahad.
Updated at 10:51 PM