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Hezbollah and the "Sisterly" and "Friendly" Countries - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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My God…Hezbollah today believes that it has “sisterly” and “friendly” countries, when previously these same countries were viewed as nothing more than traitors and agents [of foreign powers]! In 2006, during an interview with the Al-Jazeera channel, Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah addressed the Arab leaders saying that “I do not expect anything from certain Arab rulers…I am certain that some sons, daughters, and wives of some Arab rulers are with us. But I tell the Arab rulers, I do not want your swords and I do not even want your hearts. To say it in Lebanese slang, the only thing I want from you is to leave us alone. Sit on the fence and have nothing to do with us!” However Hezbollah MP Nawaf al-Musawi has today come out to appeal to “all sisterly and friendly countries to work to abolish the tribunal, because it will bring nothing to Lebanon except foreign control, aggression and instability!”

The question is, why has Hezbollah remembered its “sisterly” and “friendly” countries today? The answer is simple, and that is that Hezbollah is in real trouble; this is due to the group’s own actions and has nothing to do with a conspiracy, as Hezbollah has continually asserted. This is a problem that arose after Nasrallah came out last July and said that the international tribunal would absolve Syria and accuse Hezbollah [of Hariri’s assassination]. This represented the official declaration that Hezbollah was in trouble, and rather than resorting to wisdom, Hezbollah continued its policy of escalation, as the group and others played the so-called “Saudi –Syrian initiative” card. This was a gambit that Hezbollah continued to pursue day after day, even after informed Saudi Arabian and Syrian officials were asked about this [initiative] and answered that “there is no initiative.”

However Hezbollah – whether it truly believes such an initiative exists or not – continues to talk about this initiative, particularly since there are those [in the group] that want to buy time. Even Nasrallah himself said that he “supports for the Saudi – Syrian initiative” and invited others “whether they are Iranians, Turks, Qataris, or others, to support it.” This is not to mention what has been published by some Hezbollah-affiliated Lebanese newspapers about this initiative, and the members of Hezbollah highlighting this [initiative] and rejecting what was put forward by Saudi Arabia [about there not being any initiative]. This fantasy even reached the Syrian President in Paris who [also] said that there is no Syrian – Saudi initiative, and that the solution to this problem would have to come from Lebanon. This is when Hezbollah woke up and remembers the “friendly” and “sisterly” countries.

What is certain is that Hezbollah has not learned from its mistakes, or even from its allies, for when Damascus was believed to be behind Hariri’s assassination, the Syrians did not shriek or shout, and they did not threaten [anybody], rather they said that in the event of any Syrian national being implicated in this crime, he would be prosecuted in Syria. This is how, in a very simple manner, Damascus managed to leave the door open, whilst Hezbollah has escalated the situation and threatened to “cut off the hands” of anyone who tries to arrest any of its members, and today it is asking the aid of the countries that it previously insulted, and their Arab leaders.

Hezbollah’s greatest mistake was to ignore a very important fact, and that is that it is a party [and not a country]; therefore it is asking the help of counties, however countries are held to different standards and accountability than [political] parties. Hezbollah, or indeed any party, has a narrow vision, whilst countries have to take far more into account, meaning that they must be flexible and prudent, however under pressure they are

Will Hezbollah realize this before it is too late, or will it continue its policy of escalation? Here’s some advice to Hezbollah, as the saying goes “when you are in a hole, stop digging!”

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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