Will Iran's Political Turmoil Shake Hizbullah?

[Christian Science Monitor] The political turmoil that has shaken Iran is being keenly observed by Lebanon's militant Shiite Hizbullah, which takes many of its cues from the Islamic Republic. Hizbullah, the only organization outside Iran that subscribes to that nation's ideology of theocratic leadership, was founded with Iranian help, still receives Iranian funding, and has at times turned to Iran's supreme leader for guidance on major political issues. Sheikh Naim Qassem, Hizbullah's deputy secretary-general, says, "The [supreme leader] is the leader as far as we are concerned." "He gives us these rules and [sets the guidelines for] our general political performance," says the white-turbaned cleric, sitting in a room with two pictures of Khamenei and his predecessor Ayatollah Khomeini hanging on the wall. Hizbullah receives substantial funding from Iranian religious endowments, known as Bonyads, which are controlled by Khamenei, according to Amal Saad-Ghorayeb, a Lebanese expert on Hizbullah. "No one admits that Hizbullah gets funding from the Bonyads as they are supposed to be for developing Iran," says Saad-Ghorayeb.

2009-07-21 06:00:00

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