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From One Sayyid to Worse! - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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A witness to the political thuggery in Beirut today, led by former Major General Jamil Al-Sayyed and Hezbollah, would truly realize the level to which Lebanon has now sunk. We now see a former security man making physical threats, and we also see Hezbollah, believed by some to have seized the moment of confusion amongst the ranks of the March 14th Alliance- after Saad Hariri’s created a media storm via our paper, when he spoke with apologetic language towards Syria- to revel that its position is much more dangerous then previously thought.

Hezbollah did not take Hariri’s statements in a positive manner, regardless of its position towards Syria. It is clear that the party lost its mind, after Hariri’s interview. Here, the question is: Does Hezbollah think that Hariri was in a moment of weakness, or do they feel that rapprochement between ‘March 14th’ and Damascus would be a potential danger for them?

The course of events, until now, suggest that Hezbollah is targeting Lebanese Sunnis overall, by targeting their leader. They also seek to dishonor the memory of Hariri’s father by demanding the abolition of the International Tribunal. According to some information, Hezbollah is preparing for this through the recruitment of Sunni mercenaries, just as Iran has done with Al-Qaeda in many situations. They will take up arms on behalf of the party at the crucial moment, although not in a repeat of the May 7th coup. Today, Hezbollah threatens to take the whole of Lebanon as its hostage, unless they respond to its demands, and the relatives of Rafik Hariri drop the International Tribunal. Hezbollah MP Hassan Fadlallah has threatened “civil strife on a level perhaps not witnessed in Lebanon before”.

All this helps us understand why Hezbollah publicly provided protection for Major General Jamil Al-Sayyed upon arrival at Beirut Airport, where Al-Sayyed made a statement to the world and in particular the ‘Sunni Community’, threatening to take to the streets. We do not know what street Al-Sayyed threatens to descend upon, more than the regression displayed in his statement. For if these remarks which displayed his ethics weren’t from the street then I don’t know what is.

Interestingly, at the time when Director General of the Lebanese Security Forces, Major General Ashraf Rifi said to Jamil Al-Sayyed: “prison for you and those like who, and the murderers who are protected”, we find that Hezbollah is welcoming Al-Sayyed in the airport VIP lounge, which is intended for international leaders and delegations. Hezbollah even threatened that “any unjust hands which attack Major General Al-Sayyed will be cut off!”

Another point of interest is that Major General Jamil Al-Sayyed was considered to succeed Nabih Berri as Speaker of the Lebanese Parliament. If this had happened, the Lebanese would have erected a gold statue of Berri, under the logic of “my merits won’t be appreciated until you asses my successor”, but thank God this did not happen.

So we can say, like the saying ‘from bad to worse’, Lebanon has today gone from one Sayyid [Nasrallah], to another [Jamil Al-Sayyed], and the political consequences are no better!

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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