Wednesday August 2, 2006
"Another disconcerting issue, with even more unpredictable consequences, is the transformation of Hizbullah - at least in the eyes of the Arab public - from an essentially local and specifically Shia movement into a more generalised symbol of resistance and hope.
Hizbullah, on the other hand, is a mass grassroots movement and the main representative of the Lebanese Shia, who are the largest religious group in the country. Whatever they think of Shia Islam, Arab Sunnis and even Christians can be heard now declaring their respect - if not actual support - for Hizbullah as a resistance movement. In contrast to the old-style Arab leaders - corrupt and often blustering but acquiescent in the face of US power - Nasrallah is seen as free from corruption and as a man who does what he says he will do. The reality may be different, but it is the perceptions that count. He is an inspirational figure whom some are already likening to Gamal Abdul Nasser, the Egyptian leader who thumbed his nose at the British empire in the 1950s."