When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson

04 August 2006

TNR: Sheik Up

This week's edition of The New Republic has a very interesting article on Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon. It's well worth reading, and contains the following key and central observations:
In the Middle East, political leaders are often old, corrupt, and repressive; just as often, they are the pampered, Western-educated sons of aging dictators. There are also guerrilla leaders, who, if they survive, often end up as petty old despots themselves.

And then there is Nasrallah. Revered by the Shia, respected by his enemies, he has already earned the distinction of being the only Arab leader to evict Israel from Arab land without having to sign a peace treaty. But he is also a religious warrior. Today, as he fights a lopsided military battle against the Jewish state, he is becoming an icon--not just in the Arab world, where he was already a hero, but in the umma, the world of Islam. Nasrallah's war is not just a war between Lebanon and Israel, or even between Iran and America's allies; it's a war of myths and images, a battle to transform the Arab and Islamic worlds. Whatever battlefield setbacks Hezbollah may suffer in Lebanon, on this larger stage, Nasrallah has already won.
Sheik Up: Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah's bid to lead global jihad (The New Republic, 28 July 2006)

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