Alhurra, the new Arab satellite TV channel, invited Annenberg Professor J. Michael Waller as a guest on its “Free Hour” public affairs show May 27, to comment on the political warfare operations of Hezbollah and extremist Shi’ite forces in Iraq.
Asked about a recent mass mobilization of Hezbollah supporters in Lebanon, thousands of whom wore death shrouds chanting their commitment to become martyrs, Waller noted the protest’s timing with recent FBI warnings of possible suicide bombers in the United States. He also observed that the major demonstration coincided with the offer of a Shi’ite extremist cleric in Iraq to surrender the holy city of Najaf in exchange for his life. Before U.S. forces got too close to him, the cleric had sworn to die a martyr.
Alhurra is a U.S.-funded Arabic-language satellite channel launched in February, 2004, for public diplomacy purposes. It is an autonomous news and information service under the Broadcasting Board of Governors.