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Syria or Iran: Where Does the Decision Lie? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Undoubtedly, the first question that springs to mind for anyone following the developments of the Syrian-Israeli negotiations is what are the reactions of Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas? Hezbollah is happy to say “no comment” whilst Hamas has nothing to say and the statements made by its officials indicate confusion.

The surprise lies in Iran’s declaration; Tehran announced that it does not object to Syrian-Israeli negotiations as long as there are no preconditions applied to them. This is not the language of diplomacy but rather the language used by those who have possession of the final decision. Does the decision lie in the hands of the Syrians, or is it now in the hands of the Iranians?

How should we interpret Hezbollah’s silence when it continues to accuse its opponents of treachery and of being agents for the American Zionist project, and yet now it remains tightlipped whilst the “resistance” and “opposition” state discusses peace negotiations with Israel?

Hezbollah’s statement in reaction to the recent press conference hosted by Walid Jumblatt concerning the kidnapping of Karim Pakzad, a representative of the French Socialist Party, abstained from accusing Jumblatt of conspiring with Washington and wanting to transform Lebanon into an American project.

This is one of the rare times that Hezbollah did not accuse Jumblatt of treason. Hezbollah is fully aware that Master Walid does not need to be persuaded and accordingly will not allow the opportunity to pass without reminding Hezbollah that it is in fact Damascus alone that is negotiating with Israel, not the majority.

How should we interpret the silence of the Hamas leadership when it is the one that considers negotiations between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and the Israelis to be a waste of time and to be crippling to the cause? Are Hamas and Hezbollah capable of remaining silent about the Syrian-Israeli negotiations – even if they both know that Iran has blessed these talks?

Gossip spreads with each passing day and attacks are launched upon Jordan and Egypt for signing peace treaties with Israel, in addition to being subjected to incitement. Treachery campaigns from the Gulf to the [Atlantic] Ocean are instigated against them and those who call for peace and yet Syria’s negotiations [with Israel] are met with silence. How should this be interpreted?

Iran, whose leader President Ahmadinejad highlights the necessity of obliterating Israel off the map in every address he delivers, does not object to Syrian-Israeli negotiations? Hezbollah, whose leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah following Imad Mughniyeh’s assassination in Damascus stated that his blood signifies the beginning of Israel’s demise, today remains silent about the Syrian-Israeli negotiations. This is despite the fact that Hassan Nasrallah’s divine party would be the first victim.

Thus, it appears to be for this reason that Dr. Samir Taqi, who is reportedly in charge of Syrian-Turkish communications, spoke to the Hezbollah-affiliated Al Manar television channel to reassure the party about near future, in the case of developments in negotiations, that Syria’s geopolitical interests require deep and extended ties with Hezbollah.

The surprising element does not necessarily lie in the positions of Hezbollah or Hamas, or in Iran’s control of Syria or that its penetration of Damascus is deeper than what many observers expected; what remains surprising is those who still believe what Iran and its helpers in the region, such as Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah, say about resistance.

Where are those who once preoccupied us with resistance and accused the moderates of treachery today?

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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