Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Asia Times Online :: Middle East News, Iraq, Iran current affairs
Saudis resurrect a rival for Hezbollah
By Sami Moubayed

DAMASCUS - Word is coming out of south Lebanon that Saudi money under United States urging is being pumped into the Shi'ite community - in vain - to create a bloc among Lebanese Shi'ites against Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

The Saudis are strongly opposed to Hezbollah, claiming that it is an extension of Iranian influence in the Arab world. More recently, the Saudis have began coordinating with former vice president Abdul-Halim Khaddam to break Hezbollah's influence in Lebanon.

In testimony of just how influential Nasrallah is as secretary general of Hezbollah, the Saudis have stunningly failed - despite tremendous efforts and allegations of huge sums of money being spent - at creating a serious anti-Nasrallah team in places

controlled by Hezbollah and its ally, the Amal Party of speaker Nabih Berri.

This applies to places like al-Dahiya, the Hezbollah stronghold in the suburbs of Beirut, and cities like Baalbak. That is why they have shifted their attention recently to other districts with "Shi'ite pockets" where Hezbollah does not completely reign, like Nab'a, and certain villages in south Lebanon.

Coinciding with this story and probably related to it, are unconfirmed reports saying that Michael Hayden, the head of the US Central Intelligence Agency, went to Beirut for a secret mission, probably aimed at working towards crushing - or at least disarming - Hezbollah...

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