“What is with all of these wild fires?” I asked Abbas as we drove back to Beirut from Saida.
“This is a mafia at work,” he said confidently.
“Yes, isn’t it obvious?”
“The fires are always in the Chouf. Always roughly in the same area.”
“More or less. They are mostly in the Chouf. Somebody is starting these fires and then profiting from it somehow.”
“So, who owns this land?”
“Some of it is owned privately; some by Jumblatt; and some by Hizbullah.”
“Why is Hizbullah buying land in the Chouf?”
“It’s not just the Chouf, it’s also in the western Bekaa and the South. We’re buying land to frustrate the Zionist project to re-settle Druze in the Shi`a areas.”
Abbas looked at me like I was completely ignorant.
“The whole point of the July War, besides to try to eliminate the Resistance, was to remove all the Shi`a from South Lebanon and replace them with Druze, with the goal of creating a Druze state carved out of Lebanon and Syria.”
“The Druze are very clever. Jumblatt is a political mastermind. But we are clever too.” Abbas grinned at me.
“So, the Hizb is buying land…”