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Opinion: Hassan Nasrallah Khamenei | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Lebanon’s Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah talks to his Lebanese and Yemeni supporters through a giant screen during a speech against Saudi-led operations in Yemen, in Beirut’s southern suburbs, on April 17, 2015. (Reuters/Aziz Taher)

For the third time since the start of Operation Decisive Storm, Hassan Nasrallah has taken it upon himself to publicly attack, lambast and insult Saudi Arabia. The manner in which he has delivered these rants, and the intentions behind them, have remained constant throughout those three appearances. The only thing that changed during the last speech was that Mr. Nasrallah managed to transgress even his own limits, politically, morally and even in terms of international law. For during this third and most recent speech he did not just direct his tirade against Saudis but, referencing events which happened centuries ago, he took aim at an entire religious sect. My God, is this what those who boast of being “soldiers of the velayat-e faqih” are really like, to betray, incite and threaten in this way?

Nasrallah is clearly beginning to realize that his audience in Lebanon is not with him in this “war” he is waging on Saudi Arabia and the Saudi people. The man simply does not care one iota that his extremist views and this shameless bacchanal of insults against a friendly nation like the Kingdom—and which he somehow claims amount to “a point of view”—actually damage the security of Lebanon (and not Iran) and lead it to the edge of a dangerous precipice. As if it is not enough that he is responsible for the ever-growing presidential vacuum in the country. In truth this latest speech is nothing except an attempt to incite sectarian tensions, a feat Nasrallah excels in to such a degree that he leaves all competitors—and there are many of them—biting his dust.

Notice how he has reached new lows of hatred and enmity in this latest speech, when for example he says that the “Holy Sanctuary [of Mecca] faces a threat from within Saudi Arabia, and also from Wahhabist thought and ideology,” claiming that “the history books show this to be true.” It doesn’t matter to him that his words will inflame sectarian tensions between the Sunnis and Shi’ites of Lebanon, and widen the ideological rift between them. Because, you see, what really matters to him is to gain the approval of the “Supreme Leader” Ali Khamanei. Well, in that case, chapeau! Take a bow, Hassan Nasrallah Khamenei; you have more than earned your spurs in this regard.

In reality, though, this mission has failed to accomplish its goals—to draw Lebanon’s Shi’ites into the Iranian web—as the “Supreme Leader” in Tehran and his minion in Lebanon might have hoped. But this should come as no surprise, as the regime in Tehran has failed in this regard ever since its revolution in 1979, whether in Lebanon or any other Arab country. Even if Iran managed to extend its influence over sporadic pockets throughout the region, the truth is that Arab Shi’ites, and even Persian Shi’ites, refused and continue to refuse participating in this sectarian project. And yet Tehran continues its nefarious ploys, largely conducted through its poster boy and undisputed champion among champions, Hassan Nasrallah Khamenei.

I have written before following the other two speeches by Mr. Nasrallah Khamenei, and which have been broadcast by official Lebanese television channels, that the Lebanese government needs to do much more in order to assure influential countries like Saudi Arabia that it continues to value its relationship with them. And yet the speeches keep coming. Even the somewhat embarrassed apology made by Lebanon’s minister of information was retracted, since apparently it only reflected the view of one person and not the entire Lebanese cabinet. To be honest, even in light of this latest speech where Hassan Nasrallah Khamenei has attacked an entire nation, its symbols and its people—not to mention also breaking Lebanese laws—we would be overly optimistic if we counted on the Lebanese government to do anything to bear its citizens’ best interests in mind and stop these shameless attacks on a country that has always been a friend to Lebanon. Despite these unprecedented attacks on the Kingdom, expect nothing from the lawmakers in Beirut, for Mr. Nasrallah Khamenei’s militias hold them to ransom and leave him sitting very comfortably perched above the law.

Mr. Nasrallah Khamenei, allow me to refresh your memory. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which you are inciting the world’s Muslims against, in one single day donated 274 million US dollars in order to alleviate the humanitarian situation in Yemen. Saudi Arabia, this country which you insult with such ease, has been a friend to Yemen even for decades before, without any ulterior or sectarian motive. Pray do tell, Mr. Nasrallah Khamenei, since you proudly boast of being a soldier of the velyat-e faqih and the Iranian establishment, what has Iran ever given Yemen? Actually, allow me to rephrase the question: What has Iran ever given Yemen except for its machinations and weapons which have brought destruction and misery upon the Yemeni people and their country?