"When I was 10 or 11, my grandmother had a scarf. It was black, but a long one. I used to wrap it around my head and say to them that I'm a cleric, you need to pray behind me," Hezbollah head honcho Hasan Nasrallah (in wall poster above left) told the WaPo's Robin Wright recently. What's not to love about the guy? Dr. Sanity's "malignant narcissism" comes to mind. In our culture -- at least amongst us red-state types -- the black hats are still the bad guys. In theirs, they're the heroes. Both Lebanese glamour boy Nasrallah and Iraqi wannabe Moqtada al-Sadr (above right) are counting on the blue-staters of this world, both here and abroad, to let them off the hook.
"Putting more U.S. soldiers in the streets of Baghdad risks a new showdown with a radical anti-American cleric who has modeled his movement after Lebanon's Hezbollah guerrillas," according to an AP report:
Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army has re-emerged as a key force in the majority Shiite community after suffering substantial losses during two uprisings against the U.S. military in 2004. Sunni Arabs believe the militia is responsible for kidnapping and killing thousands of Sunnis since the Feb. 22 bombing of a Shiite shrine.
As bad as the iconic men of the mysogynist side of the aisle may be (see black-turbaned bullies above, whom we totally despise), it's even worse when you get to the politically correct icons of the distaff side, yet another point on the same spectrum. Above, a horrifying bust of Hillary (left) revealed this week at something called the Museum of Sex, and artist Alison Lapper, whose sculptural likeness is mounted atop Nelson's column in Trafalgar Square. What is it with these women without arms?
Oh, yes, that bombing of a Shiite shrine way back when resonates:
Apart from an estimated 10,000 militiamen, al-Sadr's movement controls 30 of the 275 seats in parliament and holds five Cabinet posts, including health, transportation and agriculture. Al-Sadr's followers are part of the Shiite coalition that includes al-Maliki's Dawa party. Like Hezbollah in Lebanon, the al-Sadr movement runs social services ranging from caring for widows and orphans to burying unclaimed bodies in Baghdad and other cities.
The parallels with Hezbollah reflect the network of clerical-led Shiite groups throughout the Middle East, which have been gaining strength due to the rise of both Iran and the Shiite community in Iraq.
The nexus of that network is the Shiite holy city of Najaf, the traditional educational and cultural center of Shiite Islam. Both Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, and Lebanon's top Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, studied in Najaf.
Nejaf is where it's at. How much do you love folks who take advantage of the most disadvantaged among us, killing them with kindness?