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The Image of the “Nuclear” Summit - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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It might not be an exaggeration to say that a certain political party described the latest meeting in Damascus as a “nuclear” summit and leaked this description to the press.

Everyone was preoccupied with analyzing what happened in Syria recently. Analyses delved deep into the details of the meeting and the formal state dinner that breached all protocols, customs and official traditions.

Two heads of state walked alongside a party leader who appeared as if he was the actual ruler of Lebanon.

In front of the cameras, Syrian President Bashar al Assad stood in between his Iranian counterpart President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to his left and Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah to his right, with love and hospitality, and placing both men on equal par. President al Assad then finished off the event by inviting the leaders of the “resistance” to a state dinner in their honour.

Despite all the praise given by the media of the “resistance” to the leaders of this axis and the confusion the Israeli media was left in with regards to the meeting’s underlying messages, the main focus was directed at the picture in which all three leaders featured, and this was truly reflected in the attention devoted by the Arab, Israeli and international media to that particular photo.

Once again the media is acting as a political tool to influence public opinion, not the other way round. The message conveyed was that we were witnessing a three-way summit. That is what the picture was conveying and the media did not take it upon itself to explore this further. What does it mean when two heads of state meet with a party leader from a third country whose destiny has been laid out in this meeting?

The whole thing would have come as a surprise if the media took it upon itself to question the host and the guest about their right to do that. The echoes of the meeting were chiefly political and had nothing to do with the usurped right of the third country to be represented properly at a top-level meeting in accordance with its constitutional institutions.

The picture was a top news item.

The picture emerged in the way it did in order to counter many recent claims. It virtually strikes all attempts to make [these leaders] go their separate ways.

Whoever said that Syria is breaking away from Iran had very high expectations and now must reassess the existing alliances and blocs on a new basis.

Splitting up is something that forced Lebanon to make considerable sacrifices lately so is this slogan still being raised after the “nuclear” picture?

Is the picture that was taken in Damascus strong enough to hit back at the Israeli threats of burning Lebanon along with its population and government structure if war breaks out? We read reassurances from Ahmadinejad and Bashar al Assad that the direct response to any future attack by the Jewish state would be comprehensive and destructive. However, we recall shocking atrocities not so long ago that not even the Damascene picture could erase.

Let us hope that if war does break out the pledged response will not be a replay of what happened in the July war of 2006 when Iran and Syria battled with Israel up until the last drop of Lebanese blood.

Diana Moukalled

Diana Moukalled

Diana Moukalled is a prominent and well-respected TV journalist in the Arab world thanks to her phenomenal show Bil Ayn Al-Mojarada (By The Naked Eye), a series of documentaries on controversial areas and topics which airs on Lebanon's leading local and satelite channel, Future Television. Diana also is a veteran war correspondent, having covered both the wars in Iraq and in Afghanistan, as well as the Israeli "Grapes of Wrath" massacre in southern Lebanon. Ms. Moukalled has gained worldwide recognition and was named one of the most influential women in a special feature that ran in Time Magazine in 2004.

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