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Hezbollah's Revenge - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Just as a consensus over the danger of armed clashes between the Alawites and the Sunnis in Tripoli exists, there also exists bewilderment and questions as to why the fighting prevails despite placation efforts. Moreover, there are questions surrounding the Syrian role regarding the Alawites of Jebel Mohsen.

And how can Damascus back the clashes in Tripoli when [Syrian President Bashar] al Assad is preparing for his meeting with [French President Nicholas] Sarkozy?

These questions were raised before an Arab official who is well-informed on the Lebanese issue and he said, “We must not ignore the information that maintains that Hezbollah is arming the Alawites in Jebel Mohsen and backing them with fighters.”

According to analysis, Hezbollah is intent on demonstrating that the fighting in Lebanon is not simply between the Sunnis and the Shia and that other parties are involved, such as the Alawites. This is one level; the other level is that Hezbollah seeks to settle bills owed by Syria to the party and to Iran – and herein lies the story.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al Muallem denied that his country had any role in the recent events that took place in Tripoli and added, “I have no information pertaining to any Syrian role in Lebanon nor about the unfortunate events in Tripoli which we hope will end so as to preserve security and stability [in Syria].”

The question is: What security and stability is al Muallem referring to? The Arab official said, “If this outbreak of battles between the Sunnis and Alawites in Tripoli does not come to end, especially since it is at the height of sectarian tension in Lebanon and the region, then it will not be contained in Lebanon alone.” He added that the majority in Syria is Sunni and therefore any Sunni-Alawite fighting will impact the Syrian regime and threaten its security.

This is why al Muallem was quick in his denial, because what happens in Tripoli impacts the security of the Syrian regime. And why not, particularly when the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) in Syria is beginning to move, and moreover; the MB did not condemn Hezbollah’s May 7th coup in Beirut.

However, in order to clarify the picture, one must read the brotherhood’s statement issued by the organization’s spokesman in Syria, Zohair Salem. He said: “The sectarian events unfolding in Lebanon today are a spark that the wise must be aware could spread to neighboring states, although we dislike discussing vengeful policies or civil war in Syria. We earnestly hope that we can prevent this; however, if a spark like this catches fire, no one is capable of extinguishing it.”

This analysis of the events in Tripoli reveals that Hezbollah has not- and will not- forget Imad Mughniyah’s assassination in Damascus just as Iran will not allow its marriage of pleasure with Damascus to end based on a unilateral decision from the Syrian party.

Hezbollah and Iran feel that Damascus has abandoned them and the news reports a third round of negotiations between Israel and Syria which are believed to have been held in Turkey yesterday. As such, Hezbollah and Tehran want to set Syria on fire and flee. There is no chance that Tripoli will burn down as a result of Sunni-Alawite battle and the Syrian regime can be saved when it is surrounded by a sea of Sunnis in Damascus.

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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