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What the wise have been warning of has happened. The extremism of the Iranian-backed Hezbollah coupled with Syrian support and encouragement has clearly led to the rousing of the fundamentalist Sunni trend, which has emerged to counteract the Iranian coup carried out by Hassan Nasrallah on Lebanon.

On Tuesday, the founder of the Salafist trend in Tripoli [Lebanon], Daii al Islam al Shahal mobilized the Sunni followers and “…those who are concerned… to start a new phase,” as he stated in a press conference.

Al Shahal stressed that, “In light of the present circumstances, the dangerous allegations and the deep wound that has been inflicted upon the Sunni sect, to its body and dignity, we proclaim the necessity of a general mobilization to organize the Sunni sect.”

Moreover, al Shahal went on to reassure Sunni politicians that the goal was not to compete with them over leadership. He also reassured the Maronite Christians when he said, “We are fundamentalists that are disciplined by our orthodox Shariah; we do not oppress and are against aggressors.”

This is where we say: After you, Hassan Nasrallah. All talk and no action; this is the result of extremism and arrogance in a society that is solely based on pluralism. What Nasrallah committed is a crime at the expense of the honorable Shia of Lebanon before it is a crime against the Sunnis and the Druze. Nasrallah’s crime is collaborating with Tehran at the expense of Lebanon.

Nasrallah’s problem is that he was blinded by the arrogance of bearing arms, causing him to forget that his extremist Sunni counterparts could do the same. We have witnessed extremist madness that far surpasses all the different types of weapons – are those who want Nasrallah dead, his Iranian party destroyed and the Amal agents (who have revealed an even uglier face than Hezbollah) eliminated, unable to supply weapons?

Tehran is capable of planting its agents in the Arab world and it can also pounce on Arab states using ruses and via its agents or even through cowardly and conspiring Arab countries. The day will come when it will pay the price, without a doubt, however it is equally certain that Iran will be not be able to extinguish the fires of sedition that it has ignited.

Of course, the Syrian regime must realize that it is playing with fire. The Syrians are submerged in a Sunni sea and in the case of a Sunni-Shia battle, all the cards will become mixed and others will be burnt.

And thus we see the Beirut Secretariat for the Damascus Declaration describing the events in Beirut as the waging of a sectarian war by the pro-Iranian Hezbollah against the Sunnis, in coordination with the Syrian regime. Based on that, the secretariat urged Sunni clerics in Syria to “prepare the Syrian street for a civilian demonstration to counteract the Persian Shia wave.”

Al Shahal’s statements are but the first step forward; there is an alarming suppression on the Sunni street and the circulating reports indicate that there are immense pressures on Saad Hariri to arm the Sunnis but that Hariri wants to be remembered as the son of Rafik Hariri who lived and died without causing bloodshed – not as Saad Nasrallah.

The question today is: Will the loyalists hold steadfast? Or will they become consumed by anger while al Shahal and others fill the arena? And all of this, of course, is a product of Nasrallah and Hezbollah’s extremism, with Syria’s support.

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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