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Didn’t we tell you yesterday that Hassan Nasrallah wants to take back his role after the rug was pulled from underneath him by Turkey following what happened on the Freedom Flotilla off the coast of Gaza? Didn’t we also tell you yesterday that “the game has been the same game, but the ability of the players is in decline” with regards to the Palestinian Cause? Didn’t we tell you, days ago, not to save Israel [from itself] this time? So what happened?

Yesterday Ali Shirazi, [Iranian Supreme Leader] Ali Khamenei’s representative, announced that the elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces are prepared to provide a military escort for the aid ships that are trying to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza, saying “Iran’s Revolutionary Guard naval forces are fully prepared to escort the peace and freedom convoys to Gaza with all their powers and capabilities.” Shirazi also said that “if the Supreme Leader issues an order for this, then the Revolutionary Guards naval forces will do their best to secure the ships” adding that “it is Iran’s duty to defend the innocent people of Gaza.”

Ali Shirazi’s words can best be described as absurd, and his statement is evidence that Iran is trying to regain the role that it lost after suffering from seasickness from the crime committed by Israel against the Freedom Flotilla. According to Hassan Nasrallah, Turkey has become more Arabist than the Arabs themselves as a result of this, and it seems that today the Iranians want to be more Turkish than the Turks, and so are looking for a role [to play]. However the Iranian statements are absurd and are nothing more than evidence of Iran searching for a role [to play].

As we said yesterday, the game has been the same game with regards to the Palestinian Cause and the conflict with Israel, but the ability of the players is in decline. The evidence of this is that Shirazi’s statements fail to reflect any political consciousness, or awareness of their consequences, but rather this is political opportunism which does not serve anybody except for Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in an attempt to justify the crime committed by his country’s armed forces which caused Israel to find itself in a tight spot in front of the national community, previously announced that Israel will continue to prevent ships from reaching the Gaza coast, and that this is in order to prevent the establishment of “an Iranian port in Gaza.” However today Ali Khamenei’s representative emerged to give Netanyahu something that will allow him to market his justification in to the West, and which will also allow Israel to avoid the international pressure calling for an international commission to investigate the crime, as well as lifting the Gaza blockade.

This is because unfortunately amongst the Arabs there are those who decided to surrender their intellect to those who raise false slogans, or those who do not want to acknowledge the facts, in the manner of the amusing expression “I have made up my mind, do not disturb me with the facts.” Even the Hamas movement which is calling for the Gaza blockade to be lifted has understood the issue, and quickly rejected the Iranian proposal for the Revolutionary Guard to escort vessels to the Gaza shore. Hamas affiliated MP Jamal al-Khudari, who heads the “Popular Committee against the Siege” told Asharq Al-Awsat that “we do not want any military intervention” adding that “these flotillas are peaceful, civilian, and have no connection to the military.” He also stressed that “in a general manner, this [military escort] is forbidden, and we do not want this from any country…this is a peaceful and civilian intifada.”

When will people begin to pay attention to this overt game being played by Iran and others? That is the question.

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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