March 15, 2011

Q: Why Is Lebanon Drafting the U.N. No-Fly Resolution on Libya?

A: I suspect most of this blog's readers already know this, but charismatic Lebanese leader Musa Sadr disappeared while traveling to Libya in 1978. Musa Sadr, an Iranian-born cleric, was at the time the unquestioned leader of Lebanon's Shia community and was also widely respected outside his own sect. It is hard to imagine the 1980s Hizballah-Amal split among Lebanon's Shia community taking place had Musa Sadr not been "lost" (or, as is likely, executed by Gadhafi). No one knows why Gadhafi disappeared Sadr, though some suspected the hand of the PLO given rising tensions between the Palestinians and Lebanese in (the mostly Shia area of) southern Lebanon. I have at times been critical of the more recent work by both Fouad Ajami and Richard Norton, but they both wrote really great books on Musa Sadr and the Shia political awakening in Lebanon: The Vanished Imam: Musa Al Sadr and the Shia of Lebanon
and Amal and the Shi'A: Struggle for the Soul of Lebanon,
respectively. Anyway, Gadhafi has always avoided visiting Lebanon as the result of still visceral anger about the disappearance of Musa Sadr, and no one would be happier to stick the knife in Gadhafi than the Lebanese.

P.S. How about we just forget about a no-fly zone and ask Hizballah to take care of Gadhafi? I know it's unorthodox, but a) I am ever budget-conscious, b) I like to think outside the box, and c) based on our experiences in Iraq with Jaysh al-Mahdi, Hizballah has some experience with this kind of thing. So maybe we can ring Hassan Nasrallah and ask him if he is busy?*

*Before anyone loses it in the comments section, this is a joke.