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A Hezbollah Crack-up?

Lebanon’s fratricidal extremists.

Jan 16, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 17 • By LEE SMITH
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Lokman Slim, who has worked with the Mchaymech family on their father’s case, believes that the Lebanese military court due to reconvene for sentencing on January 26 will not give Mchaymech the death penalty. “It will be a stiff sentence, but the family is already getting accustomed to visiting and phone calls.”

Hassan Mchaymech has also started writing letters to his eldest son. “In one letter, my father says, ‘Nasrallah says all you need is honor. As long as we have honor, we don’t need bridges or cars or streets.’ My father writes, ‘How can you have honor if you don’t have streets and cars and bridges? They’re trying to set us back 300 years.’ ”

That is to say, it’s not just Hassan Mchaymech who is paying a price for resistance, but Lebanon’s entire Shiite community. “We need to focus on developing our society, our economy rather than getting into internal and external battles and bloody conflicts. Finally,” says Reda, “this is my father’s message.”

Hassan Mchaymech knew he was expendable from the moment he first challenged Hezbollah’s theoretical foundations, back in 1998. Perhaps his June 2010 article reminded the party’s leadership that it might still be useful to punish him and thereby send a message to the Shiite community, especially its clerical class: You are all expendable.

Lee Smith is a senior editor at The Weekly Standard.

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