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Al-Muallem: Selling Illusions - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem says that the prime responsibility in resolving the crisis in Lebanon rests with the Lebanese, followed by Saudi Arabia’s ability to encourage the parties involved to establish dialogue. In other words, al-Muallem wants to associate the Lebanese crisis with Saudi Arabia and this is pure calumny.

Wasn’t it Syria’s Vice President, Farouk al-Sharaa who said during a meeting held for branches of the central leadership of the National Progressive Front in Damascus that friends of Syria in Lebanon are ” now in a stronger and firmer position compared to any other time, including when Syrian forces were inside of Lebanon?”

Wasn’t it al-Sharaa who stated, “Our status is now stronger and better?” and in the process mentioning Syria’s allies in Lebanon by name, Michel Aoun, Hezbollah and Nabih Berri keeping in mind that these individuals are the ones standing in the way of a solution to the Lebanese presidential crises, all the while following Damascus steps.

What I mentioned are the exact words of al-Sharaa and not an interpretation or explanation of his statement.

The latest statement issued by the Saudis in this regard was by the Kingdom’s ambassador to Lebanon, Dr. Abdulaziz Khouja, which followed a statement by Walid Jumblatt.

In his statement, the Saudi Ambassador said that Saudi Arabia adopts the same stance towards all parties in Lebanon! And here lies the clear difference between a country that wants Lebanon to be a free and independent nation and in this case the country is Saudi Arabia, and another which wants Lebanon to be subservient, shackled and occupied, and in this case it’s Syria.

Damascus wants to preoccupy Syrian public opinion from the setbacks of its policies by promoting and spreading fabricated news about Saudi Arabia through its affiliates in the Lebanese media.

The issue reached comedic proportions when the Syrian representative to the Arab League boasted about the level of attendance of Arab foreign ministers at the recently held Damascus meeting, stating that number of minister’s in attendance exceeded that of any previous foreign ministers meeting. Forgetting that the drop in the level of representation was not intended for a meeting of Arab Foreign Ministers, but rather the summit presided by President Al-Assad, and yesterday Jordan announced that it will send its delegate to the Damascus Summit just like Saudi Arabia and Egypt before it.

Instead of perceiving the magnitude of the crises that has inflicted his country, resulting from it following Iran at the expense of Arab interest, al-Muallem went on to blame the absence of influential Arab leaders from the Damascus summit on American pressure.

Syria is currently embroiled in a dispute with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, France, the United States and the international community as a whole, bearing in mind that the international tribunal will soon be held and consequently its resolutions will be of an international nature. And yet Walid al Muallem still insists on selling illusions.

It is the Syrian President who is calling for an increased American role and who is also seeking peace with Israel, while at the same time pushing for a modification of the Arab peace initiative, claiming it was not feasible. This is just a cluster of contradictions and inaccuracies that Damascus is trying to sell.

And in the end, whoever supports Iranian affiliation at the expense of Arab interests can freely do so while answering the call to prayer in “Qom”, but on the condition that they do not lecture us day in and out about Arab solidarity, while striking the chords of nationalism.

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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