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Are Syrian – Lebanese Relations Okay? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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An atmosphere of suspense continues to surround the future of the situation in Lebanon, and particularly Syrian – Lebanese relations, however what is striking is the sheer volume of media leaks to Lebanese newspapers that belong to Hezbollah or Syria. The most prominent of these newspapers is the Lebanese “Al-Akhbar” newspaper which publishes articles by journalists writing from Damascus who leak information, including Syrian instructions to Lebanon and Saad Hariri, in an unprecedented manner.

Remarkably, there has been no Syrian denial from so far regarding this information. It may be beneficial at this point to publish some of these statements here in order to show the reader the situation in Lebanon, and analyze the rhetoric being used in this crisis. This will help the reader to understand the mentality and the manner in which things are moving, internally and externally, in Lebanon and therefore understand whether Syrian – Lebanese relations are okay or not!

The following are some excerpts from the Lebanese newspaper “Al-Akhbar” taken over several days, quoting whom they describe as being “Syrian sources.”

– “The Syrian leadership is dissatisfied that Hariri continued to appear tense during his stay in Damascus. The true nature of his [Hariri’s] position is clear to President al-Assad who is known in Damascus as a good reader of people.”

– Hariri has appeared inflexible, during his stay in Damascus. “He has not revealed the truth, his eyes do not smile, and his facial features have not changed since he set foot in Syria. Most importantly, he does not feel that Syria is his second home.”

– An official Syrian source said that there must be a radical change in Lebanon, with Lebanon reconciling with [Lebanese singer] Fairouz [after a Beirut court banned her from performing songs over a royalties dispute] and the Syrians reconciling with Lebanon.”

What is meant here by radical change is the change in the composition of the Lebanese leadership with regards to the position of Saad Hariri, and him being portrayed as the only real obstacle to this reconciliation.

– Official Syrian sources also said that what Hariri must do is very clear, and most prominently this is committing to the rules of the game and recognizing that nobody – and this includes him personally – can cross certain lines. Hariri can discuss amending his agreements with Syria, and demand a parliamentary seat here or there, or demand support to change the makeup of his cabinet. However he is forbidden of even thinking of asking the Syrians to participate in vilifying Hezbollah in the same manner that his party does. If Hariri is aware of this, then he must reveal the true nature of the international tribunal that is seeking to undermine the resistance and take practical steps to abolish this.

– It is up to Hariri to know that secular Syria differs in many aspects from Hezbollah, as Hezbollah has an ideological background with a religious dimension. However Syrian’s stance upon the resistance, and its support of all forms of resistance, is linked to the fate of the region. Until the liberation of the occupied Golan Heights, the Shebaa farms, and the Kafr Shuba hills, nobody has the right to question Syria’s relationship with the resistance.

– It is up to Hariri to take the initiative and take positive steps towards Syria, moving closer towards Syria following the tragedies that took place over the past years. We recommend that he establish a charitable organization to advise him in the event of tension between his country and Damascus. We also suggest that he bring in new security, political and media advisers.

And so in light of the above, the question that must be asked here is: Are Syrian – Lebanese relations okay?

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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