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Opinion: Nasrallah’s Communication Confusion - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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In a long interview, published recently in two parts, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah made striking efforts to polish his image. He talked about everything to an interviewer from the Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar—whose affiliation to Hezbollah is such that the paper once dedicated a 1,600-word story just to the way he made his speeches or waved his finger.

Speaking at length, Nasrallah tried to justify his own, his party’s, and Iranian policies in the region. He tried to polish the image of the Assad regime and went as far as saying that the ideology of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria had been taught in Gulf schools for many years.

Despite all that, this is not the main issue. The main issue is Nasrallah’s talk about the war in Gaza. During the interview, Nasrallah was asked: “Did you receive a request from the Palestinians for direct intervention?” His answer was as follows: “Brother Moussa [Abu-Marzouk] spoke about this issue. No other factions spoke to us, and I think everyone understands!”

Then the interviewer asks Nasrallah: “Do his [Abu-Marzouk’s] words represent the real position of Hamas?” Nasrallah replies: “If this is a serious request it would be discussed within closed circles, not in the media.”

Nasrallah then added: “The communication lines are still open and the contacts are ongoing. He, or any Hamas leader, could have asked to discuss the matter [with us], but to discuss it in the media raises questions in my opinion, and I did not find that appropriate.”

Nasrallah has never stopped lecturing people in the media. How can we forget his address to the Egyptian army a few years ago via the media, calling on them to topple the regime of former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak. Today, we see him resort to the famous Arab proverb, “Advice in public is but scorn.”

Nasrallah considers Hamas’s request via the media for Hezbollah to intervene in the Gaza war as embarrassing, that it is not appropriate to discuss such a matter on the media airwaves in this manner. Who is Nasrallah trying to fool? Should he not realize more than anyone else that airing your message via the media—like he always does—is pointless, instead of asking Hamas to avoid doing the same?

Nasrallah’s response to the possibility of intervention in Gaza therefore clearly exposes the extent of his and his party’s predicament, embroiled as they are in a sectarian war, where they fight Syrians in defense of the criminal of Damascus. Now he tries, as he always did, to justify his involvement in Syria through the media, while at the same time branding Hamas’s request for intervention through the very same channels as “inappropriate.”

Could there there be a worse predicament than this—not just for Nasrallah, but for Iran too? Iran and Hezbollah are fighting to defend Assad, who not only kills Syrians, but also bombards Palestinians in the Yarmouk camp, at a time when people are weeping over the events in Gaza. So, what predicament could possibly be worse than this for Nasrallah, and for those who stand behind him?

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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