Friday, September 26, 2014

Nicholas Blanford explains family ties to Western readers

"Mr. Hamiyah, a Lebanese Army soldier, was executed Saturday with a bullet to the head by Jabhat al-Nusra, Syria’s Al Qaeda affiliate, which along with the Sunni extremists of Islamic State is holding hostage at least 21 Lebanese soldiers and policemen along Lebanon’s northeast border with Syria.

The Hamiyah clan is from Taraya, a straggly village wedged between a towering escarpment of barren limestone to the west and flat fertile fields to the east. Farmers grow wheat, potatoes, tobacco, and lentils; they also provide some of the Bekaa Valley’s finest hashish. The US Treasury Department listed a Hamiyah on its drug trafficking blacklist in the 1980s, although the individual says he has long since retired. Other members of the family are represented in the Iran-backed militant Shiite Hezbollah organization, among them the elusive Talal Hamiyah, a top security official."  Of course, if Blanford is a knowledgeable correspondent--which he woefully is not--he would have known that Hamiyyah is one of the largest family in the Biqa` and numbers in the thousands or tens of thousands. (thanks Basim)  This business of "represented" in Hizbullah can apply to any Shi`ite family in Lebanon, including the AbuKhalil, who are also "represented"--I don't know what that means--in the Lebanese Communist Party and in Amal Movement. I know Hamiyyah who are SSNP and who are far left activists.  Ridiculous.  After the fiasco of reporting on Hariri assassination and his "interview" (although he later admitted he was not present) with Hariri murder suspects, I don't know how the hell he was able to retain his job.