What’s good for the Schenker, not so good for the Nasr?


Glenn Greenwald at Salon asks a fair question (and not just because he cites this blog): Why did CNN’s Octavia Nasr deserve to be fired if the Washington Institute’s David Schenker made pretty much the same point about Sheikh Fadlallah, in the Christian Science Monitor:

For Washington, the death this week of Lebanon’s most prominent and respected Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, was a bittersweet moment.

In 1983, Fadlallah, a vocal proponent of suicide bombings, reportedly blessed the bombers of the US Embassy and Marine Barracks in Beirut that killed over 240 Americans. More recently, Fadlallah’s purported dying wish was the destruction of Israel.

Yet his death now paves the way for a more militant, Iranian-influenced strain of Islamic ideology to gain ground in Lebanon.

Fadlallah represented the most credible moral, political, and theological alternative to Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Shiite militia.

Notwithstanding his fiery Friday sermons targeting Israel and the United States, the Iraqi-trained Fadlallah opposed the concept of velayat-e-faqih, which puts an Iranian mullah at the pinnacle of Shiite theology and politics. He also condemned Al Qaeda and so-called honor killings of Muslim women, stances that led many Westerners to see Fadlallah, a man Washington labelled a terrorist, as a kind of moderate.

It’s true that the Nasr tweet that led to her firing was unadulterated praise, but she moderated it in an expanded blog post — with the same qualifications David cites —  before she was fired.

One minor quibble with Greenwald: He calls David "a senior fellow at the neoconservative Washington Institute for Near Policy." David is a neoconservative, but WINEP — although not a bastion of hard-nosed realism — is a little more catholic in the foreign policy dogmas it embraces.

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