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When the Syrians burnt Nasrallah's picture - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The Syrian people quickly responded to the calls made a few days ago by Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah for the demonstrators to stand with the Syrian regime “of resistance”, and the popular Syrian response to this was to burn pictures of Nasrallah on what was dubbed the “Friday of the Guardians of the Homeland.”

This is not the first response of its kind from the Syrian protestors, indeed a slogan that was previously being chanted by the Syrian demonstrators was “No to Iran, No to Hezbollah…we want somebody who is God-fearing!” This means that Hezbollah, and its leadership’s reading of the Syrian uprising has been wrong, as has been their reading of all other events in the region. It is clear that Nasrallah’s reading of the situation in Syria was wrong, for just a few days after he came out to call on the Syrian people to “preserve their country” and maintain al-Assad’s “regime of resistance”, the Syrian people came out to burn his picture!

Therefore, we are facing several possibilities. Perhaps Nasrallah believes the official Syrian story, however this is inconceivable. Even if truly did believe the official story, this is no excuse, especially after he saw his picture being burnt by the Syrian protestors. Rather, Nasrallah should be advising the Syrian regime to change its official media discourse. The other possibility is that Nasrallah only watches the [Hezbollah affiliated] Al-Manar TV, in which case the Hezbollah leadership must use the remote control to change the channel, in the same manner that the Arab viewers have changed the channel since Hezbollah’s occupation of Beirut. The Hezbollah leadership should not be watching the Iranian [Arabic language] Al-Alam TV channel, for this means that nothing has changed, rather they should be watching respectable television channels, as well as reading newspapers, which would allow them to see the bigger picture, and help them to think.

This is not cynicism, but logic, and if the Hezbollah chief paid attention to the mistakes that he made with regards to his interference in Syrian affairs he himself would agree with this! In his last speech, Nasrallah wanted to say that Hezbollah does not interfere in Syria, but the speech itself represented a gross interference in Syrian affairs, as well as an explicit defense of the Syrian regime against the oppressed Syrian people. It is enough to recall that only Hezbollah in our region condemned the imposition of sanctions on the Syrian regime and its symbols, despite everything that is happening to the Syrian people!

The other issue that Nasrallah has not paid attention to is that there is no longer any value to his speeches, for they do nothing but act as a source of condemnation for Hezbollah, harming the organization more than they help, which is something that is being proven time after time. The Hezbollah leadership has failed to notice that the group has become isolated in the region today, along with Iran which is drowning under the weight of its own internal divisions. Evidence of Hezbollah’s isolation abounds, from the group’s inability to form a government in Lebanon today, or 4 months ago, whilst it continues to be haunted by the Hariri tribunal. We now see the Syrian people rising up against the Syrian regime – an ally to both Hezbollah and Iran – burning images of Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah. We are also witnessing Hamas entering a new phase of “positive moderation” which is moving them away from Hezbollah, Iran, and Syria!

Therefore, it is clear today that either Hezbollah is not able to see all of this, or it does not believe the depth of the crisis. However following the burning of pictures of Nasrallah in Syria, Hezbollah has no excuse, and the Syrian people have called time out with regards to their interference [in Syrian affairs], not to mention the interference of other parties.

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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