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Sayyed Nasrallah re-elected for another term.

Last month Hizbullah announced the conclusion of its congress, which lasted several months and disclosed the list of its leadership council. The congress also adopted its political document for the coming years. Last week the leftist daily AS SAFIR published brief profiles of the council members known as the "Shura Council" of Hizbullah, headed by Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah. The following are the profiles for the record:

Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbullah's secretary general, was born in 1960 in An-Nabaa neighborhood in Beirut. He is one of nine children of a poor grocer. After Lebanon erupted into civil war in 1975, his family fled the capital to its ancestral village, al-Bazouriyieh near Tyre in southern Lebanon. As a teenager, he studied religion, spending three years at the Shiite seminary in Najaf in Iraq, where he met Sayyad Abbas Musawi, his predecessor as leader of Hizbullah. In 1978, Nasrallah was expelled from Iraq and became heavily involved in Lebanese politics. First he became a member of the Shiite Amal militia and later was made Amal's political representative for the Bekaa region in eastern Lebanon.

However, Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon transformed the situation. Nasrallah and many of his religiously oriented colleagues broke away from the more secular Amal and formed Hizbullah (The Party of God). With the formation of Hizbullah, Nasrallah concentrated on political work. He ascended in the party hierarchy until he was elected to the post of Secretary General at the age of 32 after Musawi was assassinated by the Israelis on February 16, 1992. (See MER 22/2/1992). Nasrallah's eldest son, Hadi, became a fighter with Hizbullah. He was killed in 1997 during a gun battle with Israeli troops in southern Lebanon. Nasrallah, his wife and their three children, are said to live simply in a poor area of south Beirut.

Under him Hizbullah played a major role in Lebanese politics as well fighting against Israel in southern Lebanon. His party entered parliament in 1992 and joined the government in 2005. (See MER 22/2/1992.) However relations became strained with other major political actors in Lebanon after the July 2006 summer war with Israel. Also under his leadership Hizbullah staged a political coup by opening up to Lebanese Christian politicians when his party signed a memorandum of understanding with Christian opposition leader Michel Aoun.

Naeem Kassem, deputy secretary general, is considered to be the most radical among the consultative council. He was born in 1953 in Kfar-Fila. He is very learned in religious matters. He was a student of Ayatollah Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah. He also majored in chemistry from the Lebanese University. He started his political life by joining Amal Movement during the days of its founder Imam Musa Sadr who disappeared in Libya in 1979. Kassem was a founding member of Hizbullah. He ascended to the post of Deputy Secretary General before the assassination of Abbas Musawi. He still holds the post to this day.

Hashem Safieddin, head of Hizbullah's executive council, is second only to Hassan Nasrallah in Hizbullah. He is also a first cousin of Nasrallah. He accompanied him when he was studying in Iraq and Iran. Safieddin is in his forties. He is head of the executive council in the party. He is directly in command of the essential units and institutions in the party. Hizbullah region commanders report to him directly. Safieddin is the most likely successor to Nasrallah.

Ibrahim Amin As-Sayyed, head of Hizbullah's political bureau, was born in 1953 in An-Nabi Ayla near Zahleh in eastern Lebanon. He studied religion in Najaf in Iraq and Qom in Iran. He was among the founders of Hizbullah. He was the first spokesperson of Hizbullah. He is known for his policies of confrontation with his foes. He became member of Lebanese parliament in 1992. He was the first to head his party's bloc in parliament.

Mohammad Raad, head of Hizbullah parliamentary bloc, was born in 1955 in Beirut. He hails from the village of Jbaa in western Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon. He holds a degree in philosophy from the Lebanese University. He is known to be very educated. He started his political life by joining the Lebanese Muslim Students Union. His abilities enabled him to ascend the hierarchy of Hizbullah. He was head of the political council and a member of the consultative council. He now heads the party bloc in parliament. He also represents Hizbullah in the Lebanese National Dialogue Committee.

Hussein Al-Khalil, Nasrallah's political advisor, acts as his personal assistant. Khalil is in his mid-50s. He was born in Burj al-Barajneh neighborhood in Beirut. He is a holder of a university degree in mathematics from the Lebanese University. Like many other Hizbullah leaders, he joined Amal Movement before becoming part of Hizbullah. Khalil handled many hot files for the party. He was in charge of negotiations during the 33-day Hizbullah-Israeli war in the summer of 2006. Khalil is highly trusted by Nasrallah--to an extent that many call him the secrets keeper of Nasrallah.

Mohammad Yazbek, also a founder of Hizbullah. He is the only member in the consultative council that hails from Baalbek, a Shiite-dominated area in eastern Lebanon. He joined Subhi Tufaili in his revolt in 1987 against the power monopoly of southern Lebanese Shiites in Hizbullah. He is very religious person. He rarely makes public appearances. Tufaili is also a previous secretary general of Hizbullah, although he was expelled from Hizbullah in 1998.
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Publication:The Weekly Middle East Reporter (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:7LEBA
Date:Dec 5, 2009
Previous Article:In search of a system: Hizbullah's vision.
Next Article:A brief history of Lebanon's Salafites.

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