Hajj Abu Ahmad, a grizzled senior commander with Hezbollah, flashed his laser pointer authoritatively on a large map as he described the intensity of the battle the militant group had waged to neutralize Al Qaeda-affiliated Syrian fighters bunkered in this mountainous area along the border between Lebanon and Syria.
“You had to fight rock to rock, hill to hill, quarry to quarry,” said Abu Ahmad, who used a nom de guerre, in line with Hezbollah’s policy.
His presentation, after an edited video of the group’s warriors in battle (“CDs of the video will be distributed,” promised a spokesman), was another salvo in a media offensive to show that the Lebanese group is not the regional “menace” President Trump called it last week, and that it occupies a pivotal role in the fight against Al Qaeda and Islamic State extremists.
That message was on full display Saturday, when the group corralled about 50 SUVs full of Western and local journalists to survey its victory here, among its famously media-shy commanders and fighters.
Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim political party, is also Lebanon’s strongest armed faction. Deemed a terrorist organization by the U.S., the…
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