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Why Are There Spies Amongst Them? - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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The issue of spying in Lebanon has reached a dangerous stage, and this is something that could get even worse, especially after General Fayez Karam, a senior member of the Free Patriotic Movement known to be close to the head of the party [Michel Aoun], was arrested on suspicion of spying for Israel. This prompted Aoun to say that “three of Christ’s twelve disciples betrayed him.” However is this sufficient justification [for spying]? I don’t think so!

Last week, the Hezbollah leader [Hassan Nasrallah] complained saying “how many spies are left in this country?”

This issue is not limited to Lebanon; Hamas undertook a huge media campaign in Gaza to raise awareness against spies, and pledged to give amnesty to those [spies] who turned themselves in during a specific period. So what does all of this mean? Firstly, this is an issue that needs to be examined calmly in order for us to find out what are the reasons that would cause a person to sell out both himself and his country to Israel, whose enmity is something that we have known since our earliest youth.

A Lebanese media figure appeared on the Al Arabiya satellite channel, where he expressed surprise about the arrest of General Fayez Karam, saying “what is strange in the Karam case is that he is not from a very poor background, but he enjoys a position and role, so how can he be an Israeli spy, if this accusation is true?” This is true, however there is an important statement attributed to Elie Marouni of the Lebanese Kataeb [Phalange] party that deserves contemplation. Marouni said “the agents are not just those who deal with Israel, but also those who kill and destroy in the country, or those who are affiliated to any other country, whether this is a friendly country or not, and if there is a comprehensive view of working for another country, then we support agents [for foreign countries] being executed, until only those Lebanese who purely support Lebanon remain in the country.”

In essence, the multiplicity of spies, and at senior levels, means that these figures have lost faith in their cause, their country, and their political leaders who are selling themselves openly to those who are buying, once in the name of religious sect, and another time in the name of Arabism. This is what prompted [these spies] to cooperate, even with the devil, and all of this is taking place at the expense of the country.

The other issue is that some people – both in Gaza and Lebanon – upon discovering that their lives and the future of their children remains uncertain as a result of the presence of opportunistic politicians, they lose their equilibrium which disrupts their moral compass. If we look at the case of General Karam, for example, if it is proved that he has been working for Israeli since the 1980s – as he is being accused – then his motivation for this is clear; as the civil war and regional alliances at the time resulted in one force being destroyed and another force coming to the fore, and therefore this may have motivated him – or others – to cooperate even with the devil, in order to ensure his survival. This is especially after each party in Lebanon began to represent its own sect, and be affiliated to a country for protection. The same applies to Gaza, for the greatest problem there was the Hamas coup, and the fundamentalist and extremist groups, as well as the influence of Iran, and so there is no hope for tomorrow.

What is important here is whether this series of spy scandals in Lebanon and Gaza will stop here, or whether tomorrow even more high profile figures will be exposed? God only knows. Will Israeli spies within Hezbollah be exposed, just as an alleged spy was discovered within the Aounist trend, particularly as the assassination of Imad Mughniya seems to indicate this? While with regards to Hamas, there is the assassination of al-Mabhouh!

We can only say that so long as this is the situation in our region, the future will only get worse!

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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