Michael Totten

Out of Lebanon

by Michael J. Totten
MJT on Mt Lebanon.jpg
Photo copyright Noah Pollak
I’m back from a three-week under-the-radar trip to Beirut and South Lebanon. I wanted to write about events there while they were happening. But I went to Hezbollah’s southern “capital” of Bint Jbail, and also to their blasted-apart command and control center in the dahiyeh, the suburb south of Beirut. I’m on their “list,” so to speak, and it was both easier and safer to work without announcing my presence and giving them the chance to run interference.
I felt slightly ridiculous, like I was being too paranoid — the odds that Hezbollah would actually hurt me were miniscule. They haven’t committed any violence toward Westerners for many years. But they could have broken or confiscated my equipment and kicked me out of their area. Fortunately they did neither.
MJT with Aoun and Gemayel.jpg
Photo copyright Noah Pollak
The last three days of my trip were spent in Herzilya, Israel, at a media conference. I’m home again now and will begin writing and posting photographs as soon as I spend a little time with my wife and recover from jet lag.
Many thanks to Abu Kais for doing a terrific job guest-blogging while I’ve been out of the country. I couldn’t have picked a better person to fill in for me, especially while Lebanon was in turmoil and I had to keep quiet.
Stay tuned.