Posted by: sean | February 23, 2007

Making friends in Lebanon

In a strange move, the US has decided to put Jihad al-Binaa, Hezbollah’s (re)construction company, on its list of terrorist organizations. This is a move followed by their decision to classify Al-Manar, the Hezbollah television station as a terrorist organization. This last act has already resulted in the jailing of two cable providers in Brooklyn.

Al-Binaa has been responsible for rebuilding thousands of homes in Lebanon that were destroyed or damaged by Israeli attacks. This is supposed to be a gesture that will hinder Hezbollah’s reconstruction efforts, presumably to give the government an edge. But Beirut has so far proved fairly unwilling to spend all the money it’s been given on rebuilding people’s homes in the south or in Dahiye. Hezbollah, on the other hand, sent out 1,000 engineers and thousands of volunteers to do reconstruction surveys in damaged or destroyed neighborhoods.

Due to the current paralyzing political situation, reconstruction seems to be on hold from all sides, but Hezbollah did start some rebuilding and was responsible for dispensing bags of money ($12,000) for rebuilding to families whose houses had been destroyed this summer.

Acts like this are neither ignored nor forgotten by the Lebanese. They know where the bombs lobbed onto their houses came from, and as the Daily Star asks if America is “ready to take care of all those made homeless by the munitions it has lavished on its troublesome ally?” After all, the Lebanese remember who was speed delivering bombs to Israel during the war this summer. And the people also remember that the destruction reigned on their homes was, quite literally, American made:

So if the US is interested in making friends in Lebanon, it’s going about it in a very strange way.

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