Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

The Syrian regime wraps itself in the Hezbollah flag | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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The day before yesterday in Damascus, Syrian state flags were raised alongside flags belonging to the Iran-sponsored Hezbollah movement, in celebration of the so-called anniversary of Bashar al-Assad assuming the presidency. Is it conceivable for a state regime to wrap itself in the flag of a sectarian party, whose leader lives in a basement in Beirut?

The Iranian regime, to help its ally Bashar al-Assad, provides him with billions of dollars to protect his regime from collapse. Whilst this is understandable, it is not acceptable. We are facing an oppressive and sectarian Iranian regime that is sheltering a similarly oppressive and sectarian Syrian regime; however when matters reach the point whereby the Syrian regime is celebrating Hezbollah’s support for it, then this is not acceptable, indeed this is a sign of sectarianism and moral bankruptcy. Some might say that flying the flag of the Iran-affiliated Hezbollah movement in Damascus, side by side with the Syrian flag, is a symbol of an alliance of opposition and resistance, but time has taken its toll upon such symbols, and they have proven false, because in reality the Damascus regime did not oppose and did not resist. When the Damascus regime did oppose, it became clear that this opposition was an opposition to recognize the state of Palestine. Syria was the last Arab country to recognize a Palestinian state, the 118th country in the world to do so, with this recognition coming even after some European countries had done so. In fact, the al-Assad regime did not recognize the Palestinian state until five days ago!

As for talk of resistance, the Damascus regime has not fired a single bullet for decades in order to liberate the Golan Heights occupied by Israel. The Syrian regime’s forces are far too busy roaming Syrian cities, suppressing and killing unarmed civilians merely for calling for freedom! To make matters worse, the al-Assad regime is now wrapping itself in the flag of Hezbollah, with Lebanese singers and artists attending the celebrations [of al-Assad’s anniversary], at a time when 4 senior Hezbollah members are wanted by the Special Tribunal for Lebanon in relation to the assassination of [former Lebanese Prime Minister] Rafik Hariri. Hezbollah used its weapons against the Sunnis in Beirut when it occupied the city, just as it is occupying Lebanon as a whole today, not only through the force of Iranian arms, but through the government formed by Hassan Nasrallah.

Of course, the blame does not lie with the Syrian regime alone; for it is no surprise that a regime which behaves in such a manner towards its own people is associated with Hezbollah. The blame falls on many Arab countries, their intellectuals, media and so on, who have for a long time accepted the idea that a state can wrap itself in the flag of a party that is an agent of Iran. Is there anything more destructive or detrimental to the state project in the Arab world than this? When the state descends to the level of parties, or even lower to the level of armed militias, what remains of the state, the concept of the state, and the concept of state officials? Therefore we have already criticized some Arab officials, among them the Turks, who agree to meet with Hassan Nasrallah after being blindfolded and taken to his headquarters, whilst [in comparison] Nasrallah himself went to the Iranian embassy in Lebanon to meet with [Iranian president] Ahmadinejad!

Unfortunately, many of us are responsible for the failure of the state project, and the failure of the concept of state officials. The Syrian regime is, of course, among those responsible [for this], in addition to all those who sympathize with it!