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And is Egypt Israel? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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I carefully read the speech given by [Hezbollah chief] Hassan Nasrallah yesterday and I did not notice what others did with regards to this speech being threatening or menacing. On the contrary, it was clear to me that he [Nasrallah] was worried as he listed the benefits of the Khomeini revolution and criticized other Arab regimes, describing them as being [foreign] agents.

This was a deplorable sectarian speech by a partner of the Iranian regime, and this man [Nasrallah] refrained from even saying one word about the [anti-government] demonstrations that are taking place in Iran, but rather he proceeded to list the advantages of the Wali al-Faqih regime in an attempt to portray the scene today as being ripe for Iranian control. However this is nothing more than wishful thinking, and it appeared that Nasrallah was trying to reassure the Palestinians, the Syrians, and others about the situation in Iran. Nasrallah’s speech was nothing more than a call on Iran’s allies to hold steady, and he was attempting to say that the Iranian regime is not being shaken.

However one of the important issues regarding the speech made by the Lebanese Wali al-Faqih yesterday was Nasrallah’s attempt to distract attention away from the huge celebration being held by Hezbollah on the return of Sami Shehab, the Hezbollah member who escaped from prison in Egypt. Hezbollah welcomed Sami Shehab [back to Lebanon] in a manner very similar to the manner in which Samir Kuntar was welcomed back from Israel [following an Israel – Hezbollah prisoner swap]. Sami Shehab appeared on stage and received a standing ovation from the audience of Hezbollah supporters as if he were a hero returning from the heart of Israel after successfully completing a mission, rather than just an escaped prisoner. This was a scene that makes one wonder: is Egypt like Israel [in the eyes of Hezbollah]? For if Shehab is innocent, as Hezbollah asserts – and remember the Hezbollah leader welcomed the Egyptian and Tunisian revolutions, describing these as being noble Arab revolutions – then why should they celebrate Shehab in this manner? Or rather, is Hezbollah trying to tell its followers that it is capable of carrying out its operations on any Arab territory in order to strengthen the morale of its other operatives in Arab territories?

Hezbollah is clearly attempting to deceive Arab and Egyptian public opinion by insulting the former [Egyptian] regime and championing the revolution in an attempt to say that it is justified for the party to tamper with Egyptian national security as it likes! However the pressing question that must be asked here is not “how did Shehab escape from prison?” but rather – and this is something that we have asked a number of times – “how did Sami Shehab manage to leave Egypt and arrive in Lebanon?” This is because it could be considered normal for somebody to exploit the chaos that occurred in Egypt with regards to the disappearance of the police forces and escape from prison; however what is puzzling is, how did Shehab escape from

Egyptian territory and reach Lebanon, particularly as the two countries do not share any borders? This question should be on the minds of all Egyptians, and indeed all Arabs, for attacking and criticizing the former regime in Egypt is one thing, but infiltrating the country’s national security is something else.

Therefore it is up to the Egyptians today, who are in the midst of arranging their affairs, to ask the major question: how did Hezbollah infiltrate Egyptian security? They must ask this question in order to ensure that the land of Egypt does not become a stage for [foreign] agents from all across the world, and to ensure that what happened to Lebanon does not happen to Egypt.

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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