Wednesday, August 2, 2006

How Israel's bombing turned Hizbollah leader into a symbol of Muslim pride

By Patrick Cockburn

"A year ago he seemed a rebel without a cause. Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbollah, was an important figure in Lebanon but seemed destined to remain on the sidelines of Middle East politics. He was the most important leader of the 1.4 million-strong Shia community in Lebanon and nobody doubted the efficiency of Hizbollah as a paramilitary organisation. He was intelligent, charismatic and experienced but he seemed to have reached the peak of his influence.

There is no doubt that Nasrallah thought this summer was an opportune moment to heat up the border with Israel. But he can hardly have expected Israel and the US to forget their own grim experiences in Lebanon after the invasion of 1982 and play so completely into his hands. "

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