Iran and Hizbullah's Spiritual Leader

(Wall Street Journal) Lee Smith - Sayyid Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah died Sunday in Beirut at the age of 75. While he was not exactly Hizbullah's spiritual guide, as was often alleged, he was one of the most influential shapers of modern Shiite political thought in both its peaceful and more violent incarnations. Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution energized Shiites throughout the Muslim world, an epochal event that Fadlallah welcomed. The revolution's most successful export was Hizbullah - the Party of God - an Arab Shiite organization created by Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops in the Bekaa Valley. During the '90s, Fadlallah had a falling out with Hizbullah and Iran. The sticking point was the concept which held that the supreme religious and political authority for Hizbullah was Iran's Supreme Leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. While Fadlallah railed against the Iranians, Hizbullah started buying off Fadlallah's Lebanese followers and instructed them to follow Khamenei. American researchers and policy-makers have long anticipated Hizbullah's shift toward becoming a regular Lebanese political party, free of Iranian influence. Most recently, President Obama's counterterrorism czar, John Brennan, has discussed the possibility of engaging with Hizbullah's so-called moderate elements and giving them a larger stake in Lebanese politics. But the fact is that the Party of God ultimately gets its marching orders, on war and peace, from the Supreme Leader of Iran.

2010-07-09 09:18:18

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