Kuwait academic in trouble for Nasrallah critique

Says Hezbollah must face its own Winograd Commission


The Shiite Kuwaiti academic, Ibtehal al-Khatib, has come under attack for a series of articles she wrote criticizing Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and calling for the separation of religion and politics.

In an article published in the Kuwaiti daily Awan entitled "Where's our Winograd?" Khatib, a professor at Kuwait University, criticized the phrase "divine victory" – a term used by Hezbollah to describe the outcome of Israel’s 2006 war in southern Lebanon.

"What is the definition of victory with dead children and ruined infrastructure?" she said.

Khatib called for an investigation of Hezbollah’s conduct during the war, similar to Israel’s Winograd Commission Report.

"I hold Hezbollah accountable for what happened in Lebanon. They took irresponsible decisions and dragged the country into a disastrous war," Khatib wrote.

She added that religion and politics should be separated and that if Nasrallah could not be criticized because of his religious standing, then he shouldn't be involved in politics.

"If he chooses to be a political leader, he becomes subject of criticism whether he likes or not," she wrote.

Khatib and her family have been receiving hate email and phone calls from Sunnis and Shiites alike, from various political and social circles, as well as friends.

"Nasrallah enjoys huge support in the entire Islamic world," she said.

Khatib said she hasn't reported the threats since she has not been physically assaulted.

"But I can feel it coming," she added.

(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid).