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All of the intellectuals in the region need to understand precisely what is happening around us, particularly regarding the eight day war in Gaza which sparked insane Arab celebrations, with the people most celebrating this being the intellectuals themselves, not to mention politicians and media figures. There are serious questions that must be answered in this regard. Last October, for example, Syrian state TV launched an unprecedented attack against the Hamas leader, calling on him to “remember when you were a refugee aboard planes. Damascus came and gave you mercy.” As for the Iranian newspaper “Kayhan”, issued directly from the office of the Iranian Supreme Leader, it said that Mishal seemed to forgotten the years he had been living under Syrian protection during his residence and work in Damascus and was instead acting like a “Zionist agent”. The newspaper also claimed that Mishal was prepared to sacrifice the people of Palestine in exchange for his personal ambitions! Whilst today, as well as during the eight day war in Gaza, we see Hassan Nasrallah coming out to say that “Iran, Hezbollah and Bashar al-Assad will not abandon Gaza”, which today is completely loyal to Mishal. This is the same Mishal that just weeks ago was being reproached, by media affiliated to Bashar al-Assad – Nasrallah’s unerring ally – for forgetting the years he spend living under Syrian protection, whilst the newspaper of Iran’s Supreme Leader described him as acting like a “Zionist agent!”

The story does not stop here, for Mishal himself – whose movement has announced its support of the Syrian revolution – came out on the eve of the announcement of the Gaza ceasefire to thank Iran for standing with the “resistance” and supporting it with arms, whilst Ismail Haniyeh also did the same! At the same time, arms from Iran are responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 Syrians – until now – at the hands of al-Assad regime forces. And then after all of this, we saw the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp [IRGC] emerge to deny that Tehran had sent any weapons to Gaza!

So what is really happening? Who is supporting who in the region, particularly with regards to the unholy alliance between the al-Assad regime, Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas, particularly Mishal? This is the same Mishal who, speaking from Doha last October – the same month that he was being accused of being a traitor by al-Assad and Iran – said that Hamas had attempted to “combine resistance and government”, acknowledging that “this is very difficult.” He added “Islamists must admit that being in government is much more complicated than what they had imagined; this applies to Hamas as well”. The Hamas chief also said that his movement’s experience in power “should not be taken as a model unless it is to learn a lesson [from].” However following the eight day Gaza war, Mishal claimed that Hamas emerged victorious and that Israel “by God…was defeated”. He added “I say that this is an opportunity for our brothers in the West Bank…and a lesson to them that the resistance is the [best] option.” Following this, Mishal appeared, in the flesh, on CNN to say “I am the one who needs to be recognized, not the Israelis!”

So who is lying to who? Who is deceiving who? Where is the serious Arab media in all of this? Must we be led, during every crisis, by the inciters before we learn our lesson, whether this is in terms of intelligence or modesty?

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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