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Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah and a New Round - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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In just one week, representatives of Hamas met with the Hezbollah leadership in Beirut, whilst in Damascus on Thursday the deputy chief of the Hamas politburo Musa Abu Marzook met with the Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili.

In Lebanon, the reason given for Hezbollah’s meeting with Hamas, according to a Hezbollah statement, was to study Palestinian-Lebanese relations and “the importance for the coming stages to witness the resumption of Lebanese-Palestinian dialogue in the spirit of the joint interest to build the best relations that meet the common interests of both peoples.”

For his part, Abu Marzook told our newspaper that his meeting with Jalili was “normal and within the context of meetings of [Hamas] movement officials with the Iranian delegations that visit Damascus.” He refused to discuss whether this meeting took place at the request of the Iranian official or Hamas, saying “regardless [of this]…the meeting took place.” Abu Marzook added sarcastically that “the meeting was political not nuclear.”

The natural question here is why are these actions and meetings taking place now between Iran and its supporters, whether Hezbollah or Hamas. However before we ask this question we must look at an important point; Iran and its supporters are continuing to marginalize the state on account of these parties [Hamas and Hezbollah]. On one hand, we see Hezbollah discussing relations or Lebanese-Palestinian dialogue at the same time that there is still a lot of debate about Hezbollah’s role and its arms within Lebanon itself. So how can Hezbollah, or its leader Hassan Nasrallah, speak on behalf of Lebanon? Where are the [Lebanese] President and Prime Minister? On the other hand, why is there also persistence to further marginalize the Palestinian Authority? The same applies to the meeting in Damascus between Jalili and Abu Marzook, which confirms that Iran and its supporters are continuing to marginalize the role of Arab states and governments.

From here we can come back to the main question; why are these actions between Iran and its supporters in the region – Hamas and Hezbollah – taking place now?

The obvious answer is that Iran is purposefully uniting the ranks of its supporters in the region in preparation for the coming days, especially since the negotiations between the West and Iran over the Iranian nuclear file is beset with difficulties, and it has become clear that Iran has been shocked by some of the positions taken by international parties such as Russia and China. Iran, therefore, wants to reorganize and unify the ranks of the fronts that it hopes to use in the coming days, and these are Iran’s Lebanese and Gazan fronts. This is why we are seeing these actions [now].

However with the incident of the [explosion] of the Iranian pilgrims’ bus in Damascus, and despite the Syrian denials that this was not a terrorist attack, it is important that we ask whether there is a party that is moving to strike the Iranian efforts to unify the ranks of its supporters in the region, whether [these supporters] are Hamas or Hezbollah, especially as we still do not know who the buses were carrying in the first place.

What I want to say is that the actions of Iran and its supporters in our region suggests that we are approaching impending crises in this very region of crises and at the hands of the same perpetrators, namely Hamas and Hezbollah, and the same guide, namely Iran.

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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