Hizballah lays cable to own local comm network

 From the Counterterrorism Blog:

[Lebanese] Defense, Interior, Telecommunications and Justice ministries would launch an “immediate” investigation into the creation of new telephone cables by Hizbullah.

The source, the Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star, writes this is not an isolated closed loop network:

“We have discovered by accident that a new telephone network is being created along that of the state in Zawtar Sharqieh,” [Telecommunications Minister Marwan Hamadeh] told Voice of Lebanon radio.

“Technical reports also showed that cables have reached Yohmor and other Tyre regions,” he added.

Hamadeh also said there was information that similar works were being conducted in Beirut and Dahiyeh.

The government describes this as violating state sovereignty. I am not familiar with the telecommunications market of Lebanon, but if it weren’t a group seeking the overthrow of the government, would the ministries be this upset if it were a normal privatization of infrastructure? Would they simply be upset at not issuing (or denying) permits and collecting associated fees (or bribes, again I don’t know the intricacies of the Lebanese telecom market)?  In the American media system it’s like Google buying dark fiber, if Google was seeking to destabilize the government (see previous post on Google’s foreign policy). But Google isn’t outright trying to destabilize the US government.

One can already argue the Beirut government ceded some sovereignty to the private sector, in this case Hizballah, when they were slow to respond to the destruction of the recent war. Funny thing about governing people, but given the choice, they will choose and many are choosing Hizballah, which has been providing other infrastructure and social services in the absence of the government.

You have to ask yourself, what can be done to dissuade, or make unprofitable (in other than economic terms), Hizballah’s venture to own media distribution? The government must become a better provider across the board.

3 Replies to “Hizballah lays cable to own local comm network”

  1. I know little of the telecommunications market in the US much less Lebanon.This post and the article it reflects reinforced the deep dissatisfaction I have with both the perceptions of our government and the subsequent perceptions of our society regarding various “terrorist” organizations.
    Too often I’ve heard politicians, pundits and everymen refer, in sage fashion, to Hamas, Hezbollah and Al Qaeda in the same context. These references usually begin with “these terrorists” and end with some derivation of “isolation”.
    This ignorance was especially pronounced in the aftermath of the Palestinian elections (which both the SecState and an ex-President deemed “kosher”) and the subsequent embargo’s that followed the election of a “terror” organization. The results of that myopic (and international) policy had, of course, not the marginalizing effect sought but quite the opposite. The two state solution has now become the one state, two belligerent quasi-states mess.
    Back to your original question:
    Given recent events (the summer of 2006) and assuming Uncle Naz is as politically/socially aware as he usually is I wouldn’t be surprised if Hezbollah’s telcom offerings eclipsed that of the Lebanese government without regard to it’s effectiveness (within reason.)
    Nasrallah’s built a strong foundation (reinforced by the IDF’s clumsy 2006 debacle) that has been reinforced by Michel Auon (show me one example where an Islamic terrorist group has conspired with a Christian political party. Sort of sets the whole taxonomy of “terrorist” in perspective doesn’t it?)
    Apologies for the long comment.

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