Sunday, January 31, 2010

On the Taj Ad-Din who died on the Ethiopian plane

A lot of speculation outside Lebanon about the Taj Ad-Din who died on the Ethiopian plane. I checked and he is not the guy that some people here have in mind . David did further investigation for me and I cite (with his permission): "Thanks for checking. It is my understanding that Hassan is the brother of Kassim, whom the US Treasury designated last Spring. The announcement of that decision stated rather bluntly that the brothers, plural, were funding HA through their businesses in Africa. It also stated rather baldly that one of the brothers was a HA 'commander.' As for the deceased Ali, it is my understanding that he is not the same as the one who reportedly was buying land north of the Litani (according to Jumblatt), but likely a relative (nephew or maybe just cousin). Here's the US Treasury designation: Here's a related 'diamond intelligence' report: Here's a Greenpeace report on Tajideen logging activities in the Congo (Trans-M Bois): Here's Kassim meeting with officials in Myanmar: Here's an article on the Tajideen Group's role as the exclusive distributor of Tysons Food in Ghana:
Of course, a word of caution on any of these 'reports,' as they are dragged out by the WINEPers of the world to demonize/criminalize Hizbullah before the court of world opinion. However, it seems little attention is given to these activities. As you know, Hizbullah's opponents make the group out to be a pawn of Iran, but most of their money comes from Lebanese Shiites in the diaspora. This, as well as other factors, likely explains their relative decision-making independence from Iran on matters Lebanon. Moreover, shining too bright a light on these businesses would also expose the role of non-Lebanese (Israeli, South African, etc.) in some of these same activities. In a way, though, these guys are just middlemen for the big money, whose pockets are found in the US and western Europe, although this is slowly changing in some respects. That being said, it does put the lie to the Lebanese mythology of the 'la guerre pour les autres,' whose provenance was originally political maronitism, but this tale of victimhood (which has some merit given the role of foreign powers) now extends to all Lebanese factions (in my opinion). Further, I dont think you can tell the story of 'Lebanese racism' without at least some reference to these activities in Africa."