Sunday, July 30, 2006

Roll Over, Osama

..and tell al-Zawahiri the news: there's a new caliph in town.

Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the so-called Party of God, has been stealing al-Qaeda's thunder. In the cover article to the New Republic, the opening paragraph relates an anecdote about just how committed this guy is: in 1997, the IDF killed his 18-year old jihadist son in the mountains of Southern Lebanon. He gave a speech that evening in which:
He thanked God for choosing a martyr from his family, saying that, while he used to feel ashamed in front of families whose sons had died for their country, now he could look them in the eye.
Nasrallah presents an increasingly appealing face of jihadism to the Islamic world: to them, he helped evict the Israelis from Arab land without a peace treaty. And of course, his populist, almost jovial style is far more persuasive than dour recriminations of al-Qaeda. Consider this use of theatrical timing:
Reminding his audience that he had promised them "surprises," he announced that they would begin momentarily. "Now, in the middle of the sea, facing Beirut, the Israeli warship that has attacked the infrastructure, people's homes, and civilians--look at it burning," he said calmly, almost matter-of-factly. As he spoke, out at sea, an Iranian-made C802 missile crashed into the warship. We could see an orange glow, like flares, shooting up from the sea to the sky.
This was the first time any Arab leader had staged an attack on an Israeli target live on television. It was a powerful public relations move. This is typical of Nasrallah, who from humble Thatcher-like roots as the son of a greengrocer lead a successful Iranian-sponsored campaign to gain 'a state within a state' for his murderous militia. Sickeningly, it was his son's death and the resultant sympathy which put cemented his image as a national hero, allowing him to consolidate non-Shia militants under his banner.

Those damn Shiite heretics, Osama must be cursing their mothers in his cave. Nasrallah's War against Israel is much better than his sectarian sponsorship in Iraq for rallying the Muslim people to one's side. Why even Zarqawi suggested, a few weeks before he was killed, that Hezbollah is a Zionist front (together with Iran and the US naturally!). Nasrallah returned fire by suggesting that Arabs working against the Lebanese 'resistance' were the real Jew-lovers.

Nasrallah has already succeeded in exporting the Shia brand of jihad, something Iran has been poking at for decades. Holders of the Sunni brand have been scrabbling for some way to enter the fray, with al-Zawahiri raving on about a 'crusader coalition' and how the whole world is a battlfeield in front of him. I'm sure Osama in hair and makeup as I write, wondering where that kid is with his latte.

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