The Beirut Echo Chamber

Tony Badran
29th November 2017 - Quoted by Lee Smith - Tablet Magazine

Donald Trump may have divided America, destroyed the mainstream of the Democratic Party and split the GOP, but he’s unifying the Middle East. Or at least Iran. According to The New York Times’ man in Tehran, Thomas Erdbrink, Trump has whipped Iranians of every class, ethnicity, and political tendency into a nationalist fervor.

“Iranians listened during the 2016 campaign as Mr. Trump denounced the Iran nuclear treaty as ‘the worst deal ever negotiated’ and promised to tear it up,” writes Erdbrink. “They watched in horror when, as president, he sold more than $100 billion worth of weapons to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and participated in a traditional war dance in Riyadh.” Trump’s partner in uniting Iranians behind their leadership, the Times explains, is “the young Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, whom [Iranians] see as hotheaded and inexperienced.”

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As Tablet colleague Tony Badran explained several years ago in an important article, one side of the anti-Shah opposition was aligned with the Iranian-born cleric Moussa Sadr, who since moving to Lebanon had become a major figure in Beirut politics, forming the movement of the dispossessed, or AMAL. The other group feared that the charismatic Sadr could not be trusted to advance their revolutionary goals and might even pose a threat to their leader, exiled in Iraq and later Paris, Ruhollah Khomeini. The Khomeinists eventually routed their opponents, in Iran as well as Lebanon, where they remade a group of Shia militants, many of them trained by the PLO, in their own image. They even gave them the same name by which they were known: Hezbollah.

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Read more here.

Tags

hezbollah, iranian-proxies, lebanon