Octavia Nasr was the CNN MIddle East Editor and worked for CNN for over 20 years. She was mostly in the background, but did some good work bringing the Middle East perspective to bear especially during Iran’s Green Revolution last year. She was asked to resign after praising Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, the founder of Hezbollah and a leading Shitte Religious Authority.
One’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter. This debate has been as old as history itself. This is ever more true about Hezbollah’s status in the eyes of the West and the Arab Street. Hezbollah is listed as a terrorist organization by the U.S. and Israel. However, what the World has to understand is what led to Hezbollah being born. The Sabra and Shatilla massacres of 1982 and Israel’s culpability was the impetus behind this. Hezbollah also took it upon itself to begin serving the long-neglected Shitte community in Lebanon. It laid out a social service infrastructure that allowed it to be the dominant player in Lebanon. It was Hezbollah that also had the perception of standing up to Israel and forced Israel to withdraw from Lebanon. The Cold War between Hezbollah and Israel did actually break into a major war that essentially saw Israel level Southern Lebanon over a 30-day period with the United States basically sitting by the sideline. Yet, Hezbollah emerged stronger and is now a part of Prime Minister Harriri’s Government