UPDATE TO: Interviewing ALL Hizbullah types… in the middle of May 2008?
UPDATE: Just to clarify, I am certainly not questioning Jame’s sincerity in what he wrote at all. I am certain that James believed the status of who he was talking to and did his best to verify…. The essential problem when it comes to a mostly secretive organization like Hizbullah is that it is necessarily impossible to verify the claims of authenticity…. It is even impossible to interview any of the hizbullah public figures – except Qaouk, Qassim and nassrallah – and then extrapolate anything beyond the PUBLIC discourse (which is all you can do anyway with the top three guys which some people have interviewed).
One simply cannot, from the outside as we all are, especially us foreigners, devine the true or deep intentions, discussions, thinking of the party. Almost all of us (there are only a small small handful of people who can truly say more given their access and history etc) need to be especially careful in limiting our claims about the party to the Public Discourse which is hardly an entree into the deep inner workings of the organizations. That said 1) the public discourse is enormously important to understand for better policy making.. it is extremely valuable in deconstructing and 2) I agree with james piece in its thrust etc!
James Blake says this in a recent piece… something I instantly find very hard to believe, especially given the date when he supposedly interviewed all shapes and sizes RIGHT AROUND THE MAY 2008 CLASHES WHEN HIZBULLAH WAS NOT TALKING TO ANYONE!.… remember the golden rule when jounalisting/analysing – if some dude tells you he is a hizbullah fighter, 95% chance is… he is NOT:
“…I can personally attest to Hezbollah’s evolution, as I was there conducting research on the group in mid-2008. I conducted interviews with the party’s politicians, its strategists, its fighters, its supporters and its opponents. All confirmed that Hezbollah had become a rational and independent actor. The overriding consensus was that Hezbollah’s response to a US or Israeli military strike against Iran would depend on what was in its best interests….”