Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The New Contenders | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The first comment we heard from Hezbollah with regards to its opening of channels of communication with the British Foreign Office is that this is “a step in the right direction.” However Westminster has said that this step is nothing more than floating a trial balloon, yet Hezbollah Deputy Secretary-General Naim Qasim welcomed the new language!

Let us forget the significance of this step, even though it does raise a lot of questions, especially since there is no difference between the political and military wing of Hezbollah except in the eyes of the British. For in the end this whole issue is connected to the Wali Al Faqih.

What is striking is that Hezbollah considers this step to be a positive one, and here the question is: If all Hezbollah opponents in Lebanon are met with a stream of insults and accusations calling them agents of the US and Britain, why is re-establishing communication with the West a positive move?

Why is [Jeffrey] Feltman no longer seen as the devil lurking in the details? Why is the West no longer considered a Colonial outlet for Zionist schemes, as was previously said? Or is the whole story in accordance with the principle “Unless I’m involved nobody will be”.

Let us now look at what Lebanese Minster [of Energy and Water] Mohamed Fenish had to say when he welcomed the steps taken by the British Foreign Office saying that Hezbollah channels are open “for dialogue and communication with any country.” This is politics. Yet why when others open dialogue and communicate does this become treason in the eyes of Hezbollah and its supports, and those under its umbrella?

This issue not only concerns Hezbollah, for even the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Hamas movement who were keen to send a message to President Obama, although under the table, to the effect that the Hamas movement itself is the legitimate power in Gaza, and must therefore be engaged with.

We are not discussing dialogue here, we will leave that for another day, but we are discussing those that accuse anyone who engages with the international community as a traitor or conspirator. Therefore observers must notice that those that raised their voices to insult Arab politicians and accuse them of treason are the same ones who are running after the West today.

Today Iran is invited to attend a conference to discuss [the future of] Afghanistan with America, while previously during Bush’s presidency – not Obama’s- Tehran was invited to attend a summit on Iraq. Therefore observers must today pose a different questions regarding what has been rumored for some time. Instead of asking about the possibility of Washington concluding a deal with Iran against the regional countries, the question should be; why have Tehran, Hezbollah, Hamas and others, scrambled after America and the West after Washington showed itself open to this?

If we examine this questions then we will understand why Tehran is fighting to show that it is concerned with the Palestinian issue, and we understand what Hezbollah means by the protection of arms, and we will understand why tinplated rockets were fired from Gaza, and why Hamas today arrested those that fired them at Israel.

To sum up, the story is that these parties wish to articulate to the West that they possess the keys to the regional solution, and therefore the West has no choice but to negotiate with them, and not with the others who only hours before they were described as traitors, and agents of the West and Zionism.

This is what must be noticed today, and what must be remembered tomorrow!