Why Hizbullah Had a Really Bad Week

(New Republic) David Schenker - The formal announcement of the indictments will likely serve as an exclamation point to a longer process of depreciation in Hizbullah's reputation that started in 2008, when the organization invaded and occupied Beirut, turning the weapons of "the resistance" on the Lebanese people. That depreciation continued through 2009, when the organization's chief financier was arrested in a Bernie Madoff-like Ponzi scheme. More recently, Hizbullah has emerged as the strongest regional backer of Syria's murderous Assad regime. Nasrallah himself has now given two speeches vouching for Assad's pro-reform bona fides. For an organization that has long described itself as "the Resistance" to Israel, the revelation that Hizbullah also specializes in killing Sunni Muslims will be problematic. Few in the largely Sunni Muslim Middle East will question the court's accusation that the militia played a central role in the murder of Hariri, the leader of Lebanon's Sunni community. Hizbullah will remain firmly in control of Lebanon, both politically and militarily. But the organization's stature in the wider Muslim world will be irrevocably diminished and its change in status will likewise further undermine the position of Iran and Syria in the region. The writer is director of the Program on Arab Politics at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

2011-07-04 00:00:00

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