Israel vs Hezbollah: Why another war is unlikely | The Independent


[Published here on January 28, 2015]

Just before noon today along Lebanon’s southern border, a small unit of Hezbollah fighters attacked an Israeli military convoy, killing two Israeli soldiers and wounding 7. Hezbollah’s attack – the most deadly for Israeli forces in nine years – sparked hours of heavy Israeli shelling throughout southern Lebanon and a naval incursion into Lebanese maritime borders.

Continue reading

Lebanon’s Shia defiant in face of ISIL threat | Al Jazeera

Image by James Haines-Young (AJE)

[Published here November 5, 2014]

Beirut Past the barricaded checkpoints, the searching tents, and groups of men with walkie-talkies, hundreds of thousands of Shia Muslims gathered in Beirut’s southern suburbs on Tuesday, to commemorate Ashura.

On this day, Shia Muslims worldwide mourn the death of Imam Hussein, grandson of Prophet Muhammad – and in Lebanon, despite significant security threats and political deadlock, this year was no different.

Continue reading

Ashura in a time of war | The Economist

Men chant 'Ya Hussein' as they beat their heads. Image by James Haines-Young

Men chant ‘Ya Hussein’ as they beat their heads. Image by James Haines-Young

[Published here November 18, 2013]

KFAR RUMMAN — THE excruciating wail could be heard without the microphones. On November 14th, thousands of women clad in black abayas and children watched the army of the caliph Yazid slaughter Hussein, a grandson and would-be heir of the Prophet Muhammad, in a theatrical recreation of the battle in 680 AD that split Islam into its Sunni and Shia branches. 

Below the stage in this town in southern Lebanon, groups of young men prepared themselves for a bloodier part of Ashura, as the day of mourning for Hussein’s death is known. Men used razors to carve small incisions on the scalps of the men and boys, some as young as two-years-old. Cries of “Ya Hussein, Ya Hussein” echoed through the streets as men pounded their foreheads, blood streaming down their faces.

Continue reading

Hezbollah Unfazed | Atlantic Council

Atlantic Council

Atlantic Council

[Published here July 25, 2013]

In a long-awaited move, the European Union on Monday designated the military wing of Lebanon’s Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. The months-long discussions were catalyzed by American pressure and proof of Hezbollah’s involvement  in a 2012 terrorist attack in Bulgaria. The precise effects of the designation on Hezbollah’s operations in Europe remain unclear; nevertheless, as British Foreign Secretary William Hague and EU officials assessed, the move serves as an important message to Hezbollah that its era of impunity in Europe is coming to an end.

Continue reading