Hezbollah is reported to have organized the ‘largest-scale manoeuvres in its existence’ over the weekend, with thousands of (unarmed) guerilla fighters operating in the south of Lebanon under the personal supervision of Nasrallah – and under the watchful eye of dozens of Israeli warplanes and spy drones. Apparently this was intended as a message to Israel, in response to the IDF’s large manoeuvres in the north of occupied Palestine only days earlier. Although this was reported by al-Akhbar and as-Safir, both opposition newspapers whose reporters were invited to witness the events, as well as on al-Manar, Hezbollah’s own TV channel, curiously both Siniora and UNIFIL insist that nothing much really happened apart from some ‘indoor simulations’. Being in Yemen at the moment, I obviously can only tell you what I read myself too, but in any case this, in combination with the rather explicit recent statements by Nasrallah about the military capacities of the resistance group, seems to signal a policy change in Hezbollah. Having realized last year that the Israeli attack could probably have been avoided had the IDF known the real strength of the resistance, Hezbollah is now at pains to make its capacities clear to Israel. In other words, according to this argument, Hezbollah is rolling its muscles in an effort to avoid a new war, rather than provoke one.
In other news, there are two articles worth reading in the Daily Star today (yes, sometimes they do manage to be interesting), one about the pre-civil war glory of Hamra street, and another about the plastic surgery craze in Lebanon, where women are prone to parade their bandaged new Haifa Wehbe-noses proudly around town, rather than waiting out the healing process at home, as is the habit in Europe. I was actually under the impression myself that Nancy Ajram-noses are far more in demand, but hey, I ain’t no expert in these matters… This should anyway add some new fuel to the discussion about who is the most popular shiite in Lebanon at the moment: Hassan Nasrallah or Haifa Wehbe? And when will we finally be treated to their long-awaited duet?