Michael Totten

Two Shiite Views of the "Resistance"

Here’s one, as reported in Yahoo! News:

Lebanon’s top Shiite Muslim cleric warned that Iraqi Shiites would join the armed resistance against U.S. and British forces if the occupation of Iraq persisted for too long.
Grand Ayatollah Sheik Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah said Iraqi Shiite political leaders and clerics have been united in their rejection of the occupation and in their public calls for U.S. and British forces to leave the country.
“So far, the (anti-U.S.) resistance does not have clear objectives. When we examine the message of (Iraqi) Shiite leaders and clerics, we find that there is a single voice in rejecting the occupation and in calling on the occupation to leave Iraq to the Iraqis,” Fadlallah said in a live interview with the Lebanese Future television station late Tuesday.
“(Joining the resistance) is not very far if the occupation continues to afflict the Iraqis, becoming a tool to restrict the Iraqis’ freedom,” he said.
Fadlallah, 67, strongly opposed both the regime of ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and the U.S.-led war against Iraq.

And here’s another in the Times of London (subscription required) from Iranian journalist Amir Taheri in Europe:

Despite the gloomy impression given by the Western media, it is important to recognise that not one of the five major Shia parties wants the US to leave: in fact, all agree that they need the US Armed Forces. Sciri leaders I talked to yesterday insisted that there would be no change in the strategy of co-operation with the US-led coalition.

Who to believe? The anti-American Shiite blowhard in Lebanon? Or the pro-American Shiite intellectual in Europe?
Okay, so it’s a spun and loaded question. But since anti-Americans are occasionally terrorists and are almost always idiots, let’s go with the report from the pro-American intellectual for now.