July 27, 2006

Amal to the Rescue?

It is astonishing to me that most coverage in Lebanon talks as if Hezbollah were the only voice of Lebanese Shia. This has never been true. Amal used to be the big voice of the Shia until Syria put its thumb on the scale and ensured that Hezbollah would win the internal Shia power struggle in Lebanon. So where is Amal today?

A quick google of Amal Lebanon led to this, a fascinating article offering the possibility of a sane Shia leadership for Lebanon. What was most jarring was this little bit:

Politically, moderate Shiites support the Amal party, headed by Nabih Berri, the speaker of the Lebanese Parliament. Despite revelations of corruption in its ranks over the past years, and despite the loss of considerable support owing to the efficient social services that Hezbollah has extended to the destitute, Amal's popularity still exceeds that of Hezbollah.

Given what I've seen and read, I would have never guessed that Hezbollah wasn't even a majority voice for Lebanon's Shia.

One thing that might put the stake in Hezbollah for the long haul may be to expropriate their social service networks as a punishment for launching a war and transferring those groups to Amal. If that could be accomplished, not only will Hezbollah be hurting for recruits but it will also wither due to Amal's usurping of its traditional role as helper of the poor.

Posted by TMLutas at July 27, 2006 12:49 PM